This may not be the most appetizing looking dish but none the less it’s a mighty tasty combination of summer vegetables and Mediterranean flavors. Just enough meat to satisfy the carnivore balanced with beans to please the health conscious. Made ahead of time and warmed before serving allows the flavors to meld as well as making it more convenient to prepare. Serve with couscous or other grain to complete the bean/grain protein combination.
Based on the recipe Ragoût d’agneau à la feta found in Cuisine du Sud et recettes de Méditerranée
1 lb of lamb shoulder, cubed into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 eggplant (about 1 lb), cubed into 1 inch pieces
1 t oregano
1 bay leaf
1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
2 15 oz cans of chopped tomatoes (can substitute fresh if good quality tomatoes are available)
1 cup stock, chicken or lamb
2 T raisins, soaked for 10 minutes in hot water and drained
Oil for browning meat and vegetables
4 oz feta, crumbled
2 T chopped fresh mint
Preheat the oven to 350°.
In a Dutch oven large enough to hold the ragout brown the lamb pieces over high heat, remove from the pan and set aside leaving the remaining oil in the pan. Reduce heat to medium and place the onion in the pan adding more oil if necessary. Sauté 3-5 minutes until soft . Stir in the garlic and sauté another minute until fragrant. Next add the eggplant and oregano and let cook for an additional 5 minutes or so until the eggplant colors.
Return the lamb to the Dutch oven along with the bay leaf, drained chickpeas, tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer and place the covered pot in the oven. Let cook for an hour and half until the meat is very tender. Add more stock if the stew becomes too dry.
Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the raisins. Garnish with the crumbled feta and chopped mint just before serving.