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Georgian Lamb Stew: Chanakhi

Georgian lamb stew with potatoes in an aqua bowl on a striped dish cloth with 5 forks in the background

5 from 2 reviews

This stew is assembled in layers with meat on the bottom of the pot, onions, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, fresh herbs and tomatoes piled on top. A low slow oven braise brings it all together and yields a delicious and satisfying stew with meltingly tender lamb and vegetables, and rich flavorful sauce.

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds of boneless lamb shoulder cut into 1-inch pieces (lamb leg will work, too)
  • 2 medium eggplants or 4 small (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons of high smoke point cooking oil such as canola or light olive oil.
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large yellow onions, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 28 ounce can of imported plum tomatoes and their juice, tomatoes torn or roughly chopped
  • 1 pound of small yellow flesh potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds (cut the potatoes just before adding them to the pot or, if you cut them ahead of time, keep them immersed in a bowl of water to prevent discoloration.)
  • 1 large bunch of fresh parsley, thick stems removed, roughly chopped (Set 1 or 2 tablespoons aside for garnishing the stew)
  • 1 large bunch of fresh cilantro, thick stems removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound of small fresh ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch rounds.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Instructions

Equipment: You will need a large skillet and a large heavy-bottomed stew pot or Dutch oven with a lid.

Arrange an oven rack in the lower third of the oven, making sure there is enough head room for your stew pot. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

  1. Toss lamb with 1 teaspoon of salt and allow it to marinate for ten minutes or so, while you cut the eggplant.
  2. Trim the ends off of the eggplants and cut them, lengthwise, into quarters. Slice each quarter crosswise, into 1/2-inch wedges. Put sliced eggplant into a colander and toss with 2 teaspoon of salt. Leave eggplant to sweat for 30 minutes and then rinse under cold water to wash away bitter juices and salt.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add half the lamb and leave it for a minute to brown on one side. Flip and sear lamb on all sides, 3-4 minutes total. Transfer browned lamb to a large heavy stew pot or Dutch oven. Repeat with remaining lamb, spreading it out into an even layer in the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan and sauté the onions, tossing occasionally, until they are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the onions to the pot, layering them evenly over the lamb.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the skillet along with the chopped red peppers and garlic, and sauté, stirring, for 3 minutes or so, until the garlic is fragrant and the peppers have softened a bit. Add the peppers and garlic to the pot and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of dried basil, 1 teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper, evenly over the vegetables in the pot.
  6. Add the canned plum tomatoes next, spreading them out into an even layer.
  7. Next add half of the eggplant and half the potatoes, followed by half the chopped herbs. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant, potatoes and herbs. Season that layer with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grind of pepper.
  8. Arrange the sliced tomatoes evenly over the top. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar over everything, cover cook in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and cook for 2 hours longer. Serve hot in bowls with a little chopped cilantro to garnish each serving.

Notes

Want to Prepare this ahead?: This stew can be prepared a day or two ahead. Allow it to cool and store it, covered, in the fridge. Reheated it, covered, at a low simmer or in a 300ºF oven, until hot. Like many stews, it’s even better the next day, after the flavors have had time to meld.

Keywords: lamb stew with eggplant and potatoes, oven braised lamb stew with vegetables

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