Lamb and chickpea soup


I first made a variation of this for a family gathering when we lived in Launceston about 5 years ago. There was something about the rich deep flavours and the spice mix that left my mouth singing. It has been a favourite ever since although it varies naturally depending on what is available. Tonight I have decided to experiment by adding some cardamon to the 'usual suspects'. (Yep, it was a successful experiment. It'll be a staple from now on.) There is no doubt that the spices are the stars of this show!



Servings
(2 for now and 2 to give away or for the freezer)

Time
Time to chop and prepare ingredients, then about 2- 2½ hours cooking time. (could do with less, but it takes that time for the lamb to get really soft)

Equipment (main)
  • Cast iron enamel pot
  • Simmer pad
  • Chopping boards and knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring jug
  • Strainer

Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • 1x onion, diced (I used 2x small ones tonight)
  • 4x garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ~500g diced lamb. (I used 3x leg chops I got from a local producer at the New Brighton farmers' market. Rather than try hard to get all the meat away from the bones I dropped them in the pot ... they will be great to chew on later and extract the tasty morsels of lamb.
  • Cumin (2 generous teaspoons)
  • Ground coriander (2 generous teaspoons)
  • Paprika (2 generous teaspoons)
  • Cardamon (1 generous teaspoon)
  • (Freshly ground) pepper (1 generous teaspoon)
  • 1x Cinnamon stick
  • Can of crushed tomatoes (400g)
  • Can of chickpeas (400g)
  • Vegetable stock (about 750 mls)
  • Carrots (2x) chopped.                       )
  • Beans (generous handful) chopped  ) ... also from the New Brighton farmers' market
  • Greek style yoghurt (optional but worth it)
  • Crusty fresh bread if you can get your hands on some, otherwise stale bread toasted will do the trick if you like to dip!
Method
This is a super good meal for a cool evening when you can shut yourself up inside and feast on these amazing flavours. The lamb is best slow cooked, so give yourself some time to hand around the van for a few hours to keep an eye on it. 
  1. Dice the lamb (if need be)
  2. Splash the olive oil into the enamel pot on medium heat and sauté the onions until translucent.
  3. Add the cumin, ground coriander, and paprika and stir for about 30 seconds to release the flavour. Put your head over the pot and inhale deeply. Oooh yeah!
  4. Add the lamb, stir  until meat is browned
  5. Add the garlic and cinnamon stick (stir briefly) then add the crushed tomatoes and 500ml of the stock. Bring to the boil, then (use the simmer pad if you've got one to) keep it simmering for an hour and a half. Stir occasionally.
  6. Add the drained chickpeas, carrot and beans and cook for a further 1 hour. Stir occasionally.
  7. Serve with a dollop of Greek style yoghurt to add creaminess to the taste sensation! (and bread or toast if you went that way)

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