WE are at the end of winter, but it feels like it will never want to end. Record storms, hail showers – it is best you keep warm inside and out. Some foods and spices are especially helpful these times, offering real comfort whilst boosting circulation to our extremities, warding off chill-blains.
And once again nature shows her perfection in the way she provides foods for our enjoyment and health. You see the foods that become available to us in the fall and winter seasons are typically warming.
Traditional Chinese Medicine categorizes more pungent, bitter and spicy foods as warming, or Yung. These include several spices such as cinnamon, ginger, horseradish or wasabi, garlic, rosemary, onions and peppery watercress, along with root vegetables such as beetroot, parsnip, turnip and the like. Hearty stews can be made out of these ingredients, using luscious lamb or beef – or even chickpeas if you are vegetarian. Including some anti-inflammatory warming fruits such as mango, papaya, pomegranate, prunes, and avocado will complete the mouth-watering dinners.
One of my favourite go-to dishes when I need to cosy up by the fire is this lamb stew, served with steamed & mashed root vegetables using plenty of organic butter and garnished with chopped avocado and mango salsa to give it a refreshing lift.
Do try it for yourself and wrap up this week, sipping ginger lemon tea!
Warming Lamb Stew
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp mild coconut oil
600g lamb neck fillet, cut into large chunks
12 baby shallots
1 tbsp fine flour (I like to use sprouted wheat from health stores)
800ml lamb stock or beef stock
1 cinnamon stick
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the mango salsa:
1 small red onion
A bunch of fresh coriander leaves
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Mix and rub the spices all over the chunks of lamb. In a large casserole, fry the lamb in the oil until browned all over and then set aside (you may need to do this in batches). In the same pan, fry the shallots for five minutes until golden-brown and then return the lamb to the pan. Add the flour and cook through for a minute. Pour in the port and boil out the alcohol for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly to de-glaze the caramelised bits from the pan. Pour in the stock, add the prunes and cinnamon stick and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Wet and scringe up a piece of parchment paper, spread it on the top and pop the lid on the dish. Bake for two hours.
Serve with mashed mixed root vegetables and the mango salsa: chop a small red onion, add a good pinch of sea salt and set aside to pickle. Cube the avocado and the mango into the same size, drizzle with fresh lemon juice then mix in the prepared onion and chopped coriander green.