Read // Eat: Lamb Stew from ‘The Hunger Games’

hunger games recipe

This guest post comes to us via Alicia of Jaybird fame. When she’s not making a mess in the kitchen, she tries her hand at home DIY projects and elaborate picnics. Go be friends! Twitter /Facebook.

“What’s impressed you most since you arrived here?” I rack my brain for something that made me happy here. Be honest, I think. Be honest. “The lamb stew,” I get out. Caesar laughs, and vaguely I realize some of the audience has joined in. “The one with the dried plums?” asks Caesar. I nod. “Oh, I eat it by the bucketful.”

Comfort food is hard to come by in District 12, home of The Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen. Katniss grew up hunting and foraging to provide food for her mother and sister, but they often didn’t have enough to eat.
Everything changes when Katniss leaves home to represent her district in the sadistic Hunger Games, a deadly competition where representatives from Panem’s 12 districts are forced by the capital to fight for victory. The penalty for losers? Death.
As competitors prepare for the games, they are treated to every conceivable luxury. Katniss travels to the capital city on a lavish voyage where she is supplied with beautiful clothes and decadent meals. For a girl who frequently went to bed hungry, bountiful banquets are a cruel irony as she prepares to fight for her life.

Catching Fire, the second movie of The Hunger Games trilogy, hits theatres this month. If you’ve seen the trailers, you know it’s worth staying up for a midnight showing. Put your hair in a Katniss-style braid, practice your archery, and sit down before the show for your own Hunger Games-inspired comfort food: lamb stew with dried plums.

A bowl of this thick, rich stew will chase away the fall and winter cold. The secret to the tender lamb and layered flavor is the low and slow cooking. The stew simmers for almost two hours, cooking down fresh herbs and dried plums into a gravy-like broth. It’s easy to see why Katniss found a rare comfort in the capital’s lamb stew.

Lamb Stew with Dried Plums 

recipe adapted from Spinach Tiger

Ingredients

 2.5 lbs. boneless lamb, trimmed of fat and gristle
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 tablespoons coconut oil
4 cloves minced garlic
2 large onions, sliced lengthwise
2 cups sliced celery
4 cups beef stock, divided
12 oz. dried plums (prunes)
2 cups sliced carrots
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

Directions

Cut lamb into 2-inch pieces. In a shallow bowl, combine flour and spices. Dredge pieces of lamb in flour and set aside.
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons oil. Brown lamb pieces on all sides, working in batches without overcrowding. Set browned lamb aside. Deglaze the pan with ½ cup beef stock, scraping up all the browned bits and setting them aside with the lamb.
Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and lower the heat to medium. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add celery and cook until it begins to soften.
Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until the scent releases. Add lamb and pan liquids back into the pot, then add the remaining 3 ½ cups of beef stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer, add plums, and cover.
Simmer, covered, for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. Add carrots and potato and cook until they are soft (about 20 minutes). Garnish with additional thyme and rosemary as desired.
Enjoy the stew on its own or over a hearty pile of quinoa or couscous.
Have you read The Hunger Games series? What’s your favorite winter comfort food?

P.S. Recipes from To Kill A Mockingbird, The Magicians, and Harry Potter.

11 Comments

Holly via hollykinley.com

I would never think to add plums to a stew, sounds like a good addition!

I actually have yet to read or watch the Hunger Games. I feel like I'm the only one haha I guess it's the idea of it that turns me off, kids killing kids, but I've heard the writing is very compelling and the storyline pulls you in.

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Alicia | Jaybird: Home in Motion

That aspect of the stories freaked me out too, but Collins gives a lot of credence to the emotional and mental havoc this wreaks on the compassionate (if hardened) protagonists.

& plums in stew–delicious! They start to dissolve and add an overall rich sweetness to the stew.

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tinajoan

I came here to say it again (and to scan the ingredient list to assess potential to veganize): this looks so good, Miss Alicia!! Since our staff potluck last year, I've been missing fruit in my stews!

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Stacia, the Homey Owl

This sounds so yummy! How essential would you say the flour is? Being gluten free, and considering how costly GF flour is, I try to avoid flour whenever possible. Do you think it would make a huge difference to not use it? 🙂
My favorite winter comfort foods are soups and chilis. I love butternut squash soup in the fall.

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Alicia | Jaybird: Home in Motion

Hi Stacia! I think you could leave out the flour entirely and be fine. It gives the meat a delicious crust and probably helps thicken the stew somewhat, but I think you could leave it out entirely and still enjoy the taste.

I haven't made butternut squash soup yet this year which is pretty much sacrilege. I need to get on it!

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Stacia

Thanks, Alicia! That's super helpful. Sometimes when reading a recipe it's hard to know exactly what purpose different ingredients hold.

Good luck finding a butternut squash! They're getting harder and harder to find right now!

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