I recently completed an online master’s class in photography with Annie Leibovitz. More inspirational than technical, the course focused on her portrait photography, but much of what she said could be applied to other kinds of photos and storytelling. A few things that she said seemed rather basic, but I had never heard them framed that way before. When thinking of composing your photograph, she said several times, remember that in photography you have to tell your story within the confines of a rectangle. When you compose a photo, consider the story you want to tell with it, consider what you see outside that rectangle and convey that content through the image itself. Take pictures of what you love, of what you’re familiar with, because that will inform your work more than knowing all the technical aspects of your camera and equipment.
So, I used these concepts in creating the food and photos you see here today. This Georgian Lamb Stew, tells the story of a culture through its combination of spices—turmeric, coriander & red pepper and of balance through the sweetness of the prunes up against the savory, tender meat.
I hope you feel the chill in the air on a winter’s day and the warmth brought in by the stew.
Finally, this stew also tells the story of friendship. We enjoyed it during a meal with friends to welcome the new year in together.
Where do you find inspiration?
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
Georgian Lamb Stew
Yield: 4 Servings
1 pound boneless lamb, cut into 1-inch chunks
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon dried coriander
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, cut to large dice
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
4 cups broth, beef or chicken
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
12 dried prunes, pitted and diced
½ cup brown sugar
Salt, to taste
2 handfuls fresh parsley, rinsed and lightly chopped
1 cup coconut flakes, toasted
¼ cup pine nuts, roasted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place the lamb chunks in a large bowl. Add the flour, coriander, red pepper flakes, and turmeric. Toss together until the lamb is evenly coated. Place the coated lamb on the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast until the lamb is golden, about 20 minutes.
While the lamb is roasting, heat a large skillet. Add the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic. Sautè until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Remove the lamb from the oven. Place it into the basin of a slow cooker. Add the cooked onions and garlic. Cover with the broth. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, prepared prunes, brown sugar, and salt. Stir everything together. Cover and set the slow cooker to high. Let simmer on high for four hours.
When ready to serve, divide the stew between four bowls. Garnish with parsley, coconut flakes, and pine nuts.
This recipe is closely adapted from Roast Figs Sugar Snow by Diana Henry.