This sweet, tangy, spicy stew is great winter comfort food, made with lots of preserved and long-keeping ingredients. Our ancestors probably ate more meat in the winter, when it could be preserved by the cold, and fresh vegetables were limited. Local lamb is often available at winter farmers’ markets; lamb neck bones are one of the cheapest and most flavorful cuts, perfect for stew.
The secret ingredient in the rich, fruity sauce is… prunes! Preserved lemons and harissa (a North African chile paste) add kick at the end. If you can’t find preserved lemons, you can just use fresh lemon juice and zest, but they are worth seeking out at Spanish or Middle Eastern specialty stores. Or, you can easily make them at home… recipes for both harissa and preserved lemons are on my blog, www.veggieobsession.com. Parsley is such an underrated herb; a big handful of parsley adds a really nice flavor and a fresh note to rich stews like this.