Saturday, February 7, 2009

John, who works at the meat counter at Stop 'n Shop in Quincy, rocks

John, who works at the Stop 'n Shop in Quincy on Newport Avenue, truly rocks.

Kathryn is coming over tomorrow, and I wanted to make something special for her. I love cooking, I love taking care of people, I love watching people enjoy my cooking. So I decided to make lamb stew, but yesterday when I went grocery shopping, there was only one package of lamb for stewing.

I stopped someone wearing a bloody apron and asked if he was getting more in the next day (today.) He said, maybe, but if he didn't he'd cut me some when I came in.

Okay, so today I stop in, thinking, maybe he'll remember, maybe he won't, maybe he won't be there and no one will know what I'm talking about, or maybe they'll be too busy and just tell me to pound sand.

I go to the meat section, and no lamb. So I stopped some guy, and lo and behold, it's the same, guy. His name is John and he remembers me. I start talking and he cuts me off and says, oh yeah, I remember you. I mean, I didn't even remember him, and he remembers me out of how many customers does he see in a day? The guy truly rocks.

So he bones some lamb for me, and I'm all set.

You know, in this day and age, you don't see stuff like this very often anymore. We lead our hectic lives and things don't go very well most of the time for us and then we want to do something as simple as make a lamb stew for someone we love, and we seem to get thwarted every way we turn.

But not this time.

And for anyone who's interested in a really simple but awesome meal, here's the recipe. I usually make rice in chicken broth, but for this it's simply white boiled rice in a cooker. And I also use some lamb on the bone for the flavor. So you have to pick the bones with your hands, big deal.

Serve over rice and some Middle Eastern bread to sop up the juices.

Moroccan Lamb Stew

Serves 4.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes


2 tablespoons oil
28 oz / 800 g lean lamb, diced
17 fl oz / 500 ml beef or chicken stock
1 medium onion, chopped
4 oz / 100 g pitted prunes
4 oz / 100 g dried apricots
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Freshly ground pepper


Heat the oil on a medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add half the meat and cook until brown. Remove from the pan and place on kitchen towel (lamb can be quite fatty), and cook the rest of the meat.

Put all the meat in the pan, add all the other ingredients and season with pepper to taste. You shouldn’t need to add salt, as stock tends to be quite salty.
Bring gently to the boil, lower the heat and simmer with the lid on for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender. Stir 2-3 times during this time to avoid sticking.

Serve with boiled rice or couscous.

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