Spicy Lamb and Apricot Stew + 1

“What is the old fool on about now?” “What’s with the +1?” I can hear you thinking to yourself. Give me a chance to explain. We have all heard people saying “It tasted even better the second day”. At least you should have heard that if you ever made a decent curry or spiced stew. If you haven’t been subjected to such praise, perhaps you don’t know how to cook in the first place. Then all the better for you because I am suggesting that when you cook this delightful spicy lamb and apricot stew, you leave it for 24 hours, reheat and enjoy. It really is so much the better for the day of melding flavours.

So many of us are now cooking every meal of the week in our own kitchens, it can be a real bonus to get stuck in and prepare a stew that will be delicious in 24 hours. If you put the effort in today, you can take it easier on yourself tomorrow by only having to reheat the stew. You could do what we did. It turned out to be a bit of a comparative test. We had it two days in a row and guess what? “It tasted even better the second day.” Enough of my waffle. Here’s the ingredients:



  • 1 leg of lamb*
  • 3 large onions
  • 8 cm piece of root ginger
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic (or 3 single garlic bulbs)
  • 1 litre of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of flour for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked salt
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of hot paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of tomato paste
  • 300 gms or so of semi-dried apricots

* Just now, we all are at home, scratching ourselves. While we are at home, the lamb producers of Ireland have been suffering from a collapse in demand and prices too. That is not good but, we should help where we can by buying a leg. We have the time to learn a bit of butchery skills. It is not difficult to debone the leg, trim it and get a load of lovely meat. 

Proof, if you need it that I did the deboning myself.

Having a good boning knife makes this process easy. The meat from the leg is succulent, and lean. It makes for a lovely stew that doesn’t take days to cook (only to mature).

The lamb meat is a lovely colour too.

Dust the lamb, in a big bowl, with the flour.

Don’t be shy with the flour. There is a lot of meat to cover.

Get your hands in there and toss it to cover the meat.  Then brown the meat in batches in a large casserole dish.

Lovely coated meat. The browning adds a delicious depth of flavour.

Chop the onions into pieces about the same size as the lamb (generous). Sweat these down in the casserole, once the meat is all browned and reserved. Chop and add the ginger and garlic to the onions when they are about halfway to translucent.

Keep it chunky. The onions will largely melt away in the cooking anyway.

When the onions are translucent, add back the lamb. Queue a pouring shot…..

I managed to get most of it into the pot on this pour.

Add the seasoning ingredients. I actually shot seven pouring shots. I won’t bore you with them all. The turmeric is my favourite.

So much flavour. It will need the extra day to meld.

Give the dish a good stir to combine all the ingredients before pouring in the stock. Stir some more before placing the casserole in a 180ºC (360ºF) oven for 2 hours.

Look at those colours. How could it be anything but tasty?

After an hour in the oven add and stir in the apricots.

The dish really benefits from the sweetness of the apricots.

You can reheat it the following day. Or, you could do as we did and have it both days, remarking on day the second “Do you know, it’s true what they say, it tastes even better the second day.”

Serve it with the carbohydrate of your own choosing. We enjoyed it with rice one day and potatoes the next. There was even enough for a third round. But, that’s for another day. Enjoy.

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Latest comments
  • It looks really delicious Conor, and the photography is superb, as usual (I prefer the stills to the video). As we can see the turmeric actually is going into the real casserole, I guess you get just one chance to get the pouring shot right. I mean, if it goes wrong, you can’t take the turmeric out and try again, can you?

  • Delicious. It is similar to what we normal cook in South Africa as”potjiekos”. Loosely translated ” food cooked in a pot” where the pot will be a cast iron dutch oven. There are thousands of these recipes, most of them always plus 1

  • I put dried apricots in rice … haven’t tried it in a meat stew/curry. Next on my agenda 🙂

  • That stew looks absolutely luscious! I love fruit in an otherwise savory dish. My mom used to make a brisket with dried fruits and beer — amazing! I’m also a big fan of the +1 as many dishes benefit from a day or two to let the ingredients get to know each other better.

  • Definitely my kind of dish. Love lamb with dried fruits. 🙂

  • Travelling on the road to the misnomer of ‘curry’ but just a tad different ! Love it ! Shall try ! Fully agree with a comment above that this sounds like a dish from Eastern or South Africa . . . may I like it also Down Under . . . ? Lamb for me is the hallowed meat for such dishes and the best day is the third after cooking . . . well, actually the fourth if you do not live in a 40 C degree summer heat ! So many other food adventures should not be served fresh from the cooking pot . . . hope you well . . .

  • Smashing! But I hope you’ll forgive me taking a couple of liberties with the ingredients: A bit of cinnamon instead of turmeric, and I’d reduce the amount of onion and substitute pumpkin (for the same sweetness but less digestive inconvenience in my case!). And I’d serve mine with couscous or rice, on as many subsequent days as the leftovers withstand the Husband’s onslaught.

      • I’ve got into the habit of subbing pumpkin for onion; similar volume and sweetness, and I up the garlic to compensate. Now, I must investigate what the butcher has tomorrow…

  • First off, I doubt that any of us would ever think of you as an old fool. Second, I do agree with you about the second day often improving many a dish and I’ll take your wise counsel that this is one of them.

  • The +1 makes me think of when your flight lands the next day, because that’s how it’s written on the flight schedule. The recipe and post are very Conoresque — and yes that is a compliment 🙂

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