A huge thing that goes into my travel planning requires that the destination boast amazing foods to try. I’m not even kidding. Travel is love. Love is food. And Israel has some of the most flavorful food to offer.
So after spending ten INCREDIBLE days in the Holy Land, I was so inspired not only by the sights I saw and the friendships I made with some seriously amazing people, but, of course, the food as well! (Side note: I have to thank the incredible Honeymoon Israel for this opportunity of a lifetime as it was one of the best trips of my life. If you’re an interfaith couple and want to go to Israel together along with a bunch of other amazing couples from your area with no religious agenda, they make miracles happen so check ’em out).
And between all of the falafel, shawarma (gyro), hummus and salads I ate, I had to come up with something that was my own creation, but also took the flavors of this mystical land back with me.
After racking my brain on what to do, it all came clear to me to try something that fuses these flavors in a magical stew – a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern Lamb Stew. And I’ll tell you, this creation of mine is so incredible, words can’t even begin to describe the wondrous flavors and textures going on here. It’s practically a rich Middle Eastern Chili rooted in incredibly flavorful spices!
Not only is this stew abundant and truly wonderful in the way it combines, it’s a SNAP to make in your Instant Pot!
Here’s How I Made It!:
Begin by creating a serious spice party. Mix together some paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, curry powder, cumin, black pepper, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper.
Blend well and set aside.
Take a yellow onion…
…and cut it up longways into thick strands.
Take a red onion…
..and slice it up sideways into thin strands.
Take two medium or one large carrot…
…and dice it up.
Then take come canned chick peas/garbanzo beans…
…and rinse & strain them.
Now take some boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I feel thighs work best for this, but feel free to use breasts too!)…
…and cut them into bite-sized chunks, trimming as much of the fat off as possible.
And now take some ground lamb (or ground beef, ground pork, ground chicken or ground turkey) but lamb is where it’s at with this recipe). If you can’t find ground lamb at the market, go to a butcher and he’ll handle it for you!
Now go to the Instant Pot and add in some butter…
…and olive oil.
Once it begins to sizzle, add in the onions and carrot…
…coat them with the oil and butter…
…and let cook for a few minutes until softened and they cook down.
Now add in the ground lamb…
…and as it cooks in the pot, it will begin to crumble and lightly brown. You may remove any excess juices it releases at this time, but I suggest you leave it in as it will add to the flavor when pressure cooking. We’ll easily remove it later.
Now, add in the chicken thighs…
…and give them a light stir with everything else.
Add in the spices…
…and let them coat everything in the pot.
Add in tomato paste…
…and stir in in well, scraping the bottom of the pot at the same time to make sure it doesn’t stick on.
Now let’s add in some fresh lemon juice…
…a combo of chicken and garlic broth (if you only have chicken broth, that’s fine too)…
…a can of diced tomatoes
…the chick peas/garbanzo beans…
…a little shredded cabbage/coleslaw mix…
…and stir well. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure (and be patient – there’s a lot going on in that pot and it will take a solid 10-20 minutes for the pin to pop up).
When done, you may skim any excess fat from the lamb out of the pot and discard – about 4-6 serving spoons full should do it. (Some like to leave it in and that’s fine too).
Now to add in a few final spices and ingredients: some garlic salt…
…frozen corn (don’t worry, it will cook within seconds of being in the pot due to the heat).
…and some crushed tomatoes which we are adding now to keep the thickness going and because it may conflict with having the pot come to pressure with all that was going on it.
Mix well and let set for a few minutes.
And look at how rich, full and unbelievable our stew looks (and smells if you could sniff through the screen)! Now, to serve it up!
Ladle some stew into a bowl…
…and add in some final, optional (but strongly suggested) touches. In Israel, it is very common to add kosher dill or sour pickles to many dishes that contain meat and spice. So I’m doing that here…
…along with some tzatziki (which you can make here or buy in the market)!
I’m telling you, these two final touches make this already incredible stew just that more magical.
Mix them in…
…and once you try it, you’ll revel in such taste bud ecstasy, it will make you forget about your bad haircut.
IT’S THAT AMAZING!
Shalom & Enjoy!
- 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp (1/4 stick) of salted butter
- 1 yellow onion, cut longways into thick slices
- 1 red onion, cut sideways into strands
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp of crushed garlic
- 2 lbs of ground lamb (or ground beef, ground pork, ground chicken or ground turkey, but the flavor will be different so I suggest the lamb. If your market doesn’t have it, a butcher will!)
- 1 lb of chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized chunks (breasts are fine too, but I suggest thighs)
- 6 oz can of tomato paste
- 1 tbsp of paprika
- 1 tsp of turmeric
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1 tbsp of curry powder
- 1/2 tbsp of cumin
- 2 tsp of black pepper
- 1 tbsp of seasoned salt
- 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 2 cups of chicken broth (I used 2 tsp of Chicken Better Than Bouillon + 2 cups of water)
- 2 cups of garlic broth (I used 2 tsp of Garlic Better Than Bouillon + 2 cups of water but you can also use 4 cups of chicken broth instead if you don’t have this)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Two 15.5 oz cans of chick peas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups of shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)
- 1 cup of frozen corn
- 1 cup of crushed tomatoes (the whole 28 oz can isn’t necessary here)
- 1 tsp of celery salt
- 1 tsp of garlic salt
- 1 tsp of Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp of dried cilantro
- Tzatziki (click here to make mine or just buy it in the market), dolloped into each bowl
- Kosher Dill or sour pickles, diced and placed in each bowl
- Add the butter and olive oil to the Instant Pot, hit “Sauté” and adjust so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting. One the butter’s melted and the oil’s bubbling, Add in the red onion, yellow onion and carrots and let cook for 5 minutes until softened and it cooks down. Then, add in the garlic and cook for one minute longer
- Next, add in the ground lamb and stir/cook until very lightly browned and it crumbles. You can either ladle out the juices it releases and discard now or allow it to simmer in the pot so it cooks in with the stew (I suggest doing this as it enhances the flavor). Add in the chicken and then add in the paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, curry powder, cumin, seasoned salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir well so all the spices are mixed in with everything in the pot
- Then, add in the tomato paste and stir well along with the chicken broth, garlic broth, lemon juice, diced tomatoes (but NOT the crushed tomatoes yet), chickpeas and cabbage. Stir very well, deglazing/scraping the bottom of the pot
- Secure the lid, hit the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button and then hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for 7 minutes. Be patient – there’s a lot going on in this pot and it will take a solid 10-20 minutes to come to pressure. When done, quick release. If you haven’t already skimmed off the excess fat from the lamb, now is the time to do it (unless you want it mixed in with the stew as some do). About 4-6 skims with a serving spoon should do it!
- Add in the final spices of garlic salt, celery salt, dried cilantro and Italian seasoning as well as the crushed tomatoes and frozen corn (which well thaw and cook VERY quickly due to how hot the pot is). Stir well and let set for 2 minutes
- Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of tzatziki and a few diced pieces of dill or sour pickle (if using, but I STRONGLY suggest you do. It sets it over the top in the best of ways). Mix well and…
This stew is practically a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean-style chili! Is it absolutely astounding!
The stew is perfect as is, but I would DEFINITELY add a dollop of the tzatziki (click here to make mine or just buy some in the market) and the pickles to really send it home and keep it more authentic in flavor! It’s an absolutely sensational experience!
I wouldn’t suggest using any other style of lamb other than ground lamb for this stew as it cooks best this way. To that point, if you want it with ground beef, ground pork, ground chicken or ground turkey instead of lamb, go for it! But the flavor will be different and will lose that incredible lamb domination.
Want more corn? Add in a whole 10 oz frozen box!
Feel free to add in more of the shredded cabbage/coleslaw mix once it’s done cooking if you want more of a crunch!