Hunger Games Recipe: Lamb and Plum Stew

Peeta, Effie, and Haymitch are huddled around the table talking in hushed voices. That seems odd, but hunger wins out over curiosity and I load my plate with breakfast before I join them.

The stew’s made with tender chunks of lamb and dried plums today. Perfect on a bed of wild rice.

The Hunger Games, page 113

In honor of The Hunger Games movie coming out this week, Castles and Cooks is making the most of it by bringing you some of the best recipes for both cooking and gaming from this post-apocalyptic trilogy. In the series, Katniss talks about eating this lamb and plum stew until getting sick, which we don’t recommend, but we do recommend having it for dinner!

This fruit-infused lamb dish looks like a curry at first glance but certainly doesn’t taste like it. A mix of fresh plums, dried plums and red wine give this dish a unique flavor unlike anything else we’ve ever tasted. We decided it would serve well with wild rice, but alternatives like potatoes or couscous would work just as well.

Word of advice when shopping, you probably won’t stumble across “dried plums” in your local supermarket, but you will be able to find dried prunes with ease!

Lamb & Plum Stew with Wild Rice
Makes four heaping servings

Ingredients
2 pounds of lamb stew meat
3 tablespoons of butter (plus 2 more for later)
1/3 cup of flour
Salt (plus a teaspoon for later)
Pepper
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 large carrot, shredded
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 fresh plums, pitted and diced
10 dried plums, diced
2 cups of stock (beef, chicken or vegetable)
1 cup of red wine

Equipment
A large pan
Measuring tools
Spatula
Knife
Mixing bowl
Food Processor
Immersion blender (Optional)

Directions
In a large pan, melt three tablespoons of butter over a medium to high heat. Combine the flour with salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl, and toss the lamb meat in with the flour until it is evenly coated. Once the butter has melted and begins to bubble, empty the bowl of lamb into the pan and sear the meat on all sides until a brown crust begins to form. Then remove the lamb from the pan and return the pan to the heat.

Without cleaning the pan, add the tablespoon of olive oil and bring the pan back up to heat. Saute the onions, carrots and garlic together over medium heat until the onions caramelize. Add the fresh and dried plums to the pan and let sit. This will allow the fresh fruit to begin to break down after a few minutes.

Next, add a cup of the stock and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes, giving the dried plums a chance to rehydrate and allowing the sauce to thicken. Once the plums begin to feel soft, pour the liquid and vegetable mixture into your food processor and pulse until smooth. If necessary, add stock to make the mixture smooth. Note: An immersion blender would work wonders here and save you on transferring the mixture out of the pan.

Return the now smooth mixture to the pan over medium heat and add in the wine, the last two tablespoons of butter, salt and any leftover stock. Return the lamb to the pan and allow the mixture to simmer for at least 45 minutes or until the the sauce thickens naturally. Simmering longer will make the lamb even more tender.

Serve warm over a bed of wild rice.