Last month my book club read The Hunger Games and loved it so much we decided to read the second book in the series, Catching Fire. In both books, Katniss Everdeen enjoys a Lamb Stew with Dried Plums and at one point describes it as the most impressive part of her experience at the Hunger Games.
I knew I wanted to attempt this dish, but with the early arrival of spring here the last thing I wanted to do was eat a heavy stew. Instead, I made a lighter dish that was more appropriate for the warm weather we’ve been having – Rosemary Lamb Skewers with a Dried Plum Chutney.
To make the rosemary skewer, you need to find the toughest, woodiest stems of the rosemary so the weight of the meat will be supported. I removed the lower needles and reserved them for another use. I first used a bamboo skewer to pierce the meat to make it easier for the rosemary to go through.
I made the chutney a day before, it was super easy and stores well. I think the chutney would be delicious with lamb chops, leg of lamb or really any other type of meat (venison would go well too). Here is the recipe:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 shallots, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup chicken stock, plus more if needed
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 20 dried and pitted plums(prunes), roughly chopped
- salt and pepper
- 2 lbs lamb shoulder, cut into 1" pieces
- woody rosemary branches, lower needles removed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the shallots and cook until soft, but be careful not to brown, about 8 minutes.
- Add the vinegar and cook until most is evaporated, about 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock, cranberries and dried plums. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
- Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree slightly(half pureed, half chunky). You could also keep the mixture chunky, if preferred.
- Set aside and keep warm.
- Heat a grill (gas or charcoal) to a medium-high heat.
- Pierce the lamb with a bamboo or metal skewer then transfer the lamb to the rosemary branches, about 3-4 pieces of lamb for each branch.
- Mix the garlic, lemon zest and the olive oil and brush on the lamb. Season with salt and pepper.
- Grill on all sides for about 8-12 minutes total for medium/medium-rare. Place the lamb so the remaining rosemary needles are not directly over a flame or they will burn.
- Remove from grill and cover loosely with foil. Allow the lamb to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, Oct 1994.
As a final note, this is a perfect appetizer serving but is best eaten with a plate and fork. The rosemary just isn’t strong enough. If you would like to serve this for a cocktail party with people mingling, I would suggest using a sturdier bamboo skewer and adding about 1-2 teaspoons of freshly chopped rosemary to the garlic, zest and oil mixture.