Kick in a Stew

I was getting ready to make yet another stew last weekend. Lamb on sale… check. Chickpeas, carrots, onion, garlic…check. There is still red pepper paste in the fridge?…check.Diced tomatoes…check. Looked like I was ready to rock the stew.

Then a voice in my head said “Hey while you are doing this, you should also start cleaning your pantry and cabinets, you know it is the big cleaning time.” I try not to do two things at a time normally, but against my better judgement, I started with oil and vinegar shelf and took the contents out, set them aside on the kitchen counter.

After browning the lamb, then sauteing onion and carrots, it was time to add tomato and return everything back in the stew. Then, I saw pomegranate molasses, just sitting there, waiting to be put back in the cabinet. I thought “too bad I only use this in salad dressing and in kisir.” Then I thought “But why?”.

“But why?” is a dangerous question once you start asking. So I added 1.5 tablespoon in my tomato mixture and mixed it in. It paired very well with chickpeas and the meat and added a tangy-sweet  flavor to my normally smoky, cumin and paprika loaded stew. It darkened the color and thickened the sauce a bit which we loved dipping our bread in.

Sometimes cleaning has surprising effects.

Lamb Stew with Pomegranate Molasses

  • 1.5 lbs of Lamb shanks or stew meat
  • 4 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onion(sliced in half moon)
  • 5 medium size thin carrots(cut similar to the size of chickpeas)
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved
  • 2 cans (~15 oz) of chickpeas
  • 1 can (~15 oz) of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper paste (or tomato paste)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Brown the meat in butter, set aside. Saute onions and carrots for five-seven minutes.

2. Combine diced tomatoes, paste, spices, and molasses in food processor and pulse it two or three times.

3. Add the tomato mixture to the pot. Add drained chickpeas, give it a stir, taste and add more spices if you like.

4. Return the meat to the pot. Add 1 cup water. First turn it onto high heat, boil, then immediately turn the heat to low and let it simmer until the meat is falling off the bone, for several hours.



  1. by Valentina
    6:44 pm
    Mar 23, 2013

    I think the pomegranate molasses is brilliant! Looks beautiful and delicious!

  2. by Ilke
    8:01 am
    Mar 24, 2013

    Thanks Valentina :) I think I will play with that ingredient in different dishes from now on. Maybe except cakes :)

  3. by Angie@Angie's Recipes
    1:31 am
    Mar 24, 2013

    Have never had lamb…the stew looks unbelievably comforting, warming and tasty.

  4. by Ilke
    8:01 am
    Mar 24, 2013

    Angie, you need to visit one of your local Turkish restaurants then. Lamb is very tasty I prefer it over beef anytime. However, some people dont like it , giving the smell as a reason. It does smell different.

  5. by zerrin
    7:26 am
    Mar 24, 2013

    When dealing with something different, having a brilliant idea about your cooking is great! Cleaning sometimes has such good surprises! And I always love “But why?” questions! Love the addition of pomegranate molasses in lamb stew! Would love to dip my bread into its sauce. YUM! Thanks for this inspiration!
    BTW there is a spelling mistake in the title of the recipe, you forget to add p in the word lamb.

  6. by Ilke
    7:59 am
    Mar 24, 2013

    Thanks Zerrin, fixed the typo. If you like “but why? questions, you will be in heaven when your boy is three and keeps asking that for everything you say :))

  7. by zerrin
    11:48 am
    Mar 24, 2013

    Ilke, I didn’t think of my son and his “but why?” questions when saying it! LOL! I love to ask that kind of questions, but I’ve never experienced being asked by a kid! I hope I will have enough patience to answer all his questions!

  8. by john@kitchenriffs
    2:01 pm
    Mar 24, 2013

    Pomegranate molasses is wonderful. Never thought of adding it to a stew like this, but I’ll bet the flavor is incredible. And I’ll eat anything with lamb in it! My favorite red meat. Good stuff – thanks.

  9. by Terra
    10:18 pm
    Mar 25, 2013

    I am so excited to try the pomegranate molasses now, thank you for sharing it! Your lamb stew seriously looks amazing! Love love all your flavors, they sound delicious:-) Hugs, Terra

  10. by Susan
    7:49 pm
    Mar 26, 2013

    What a beautiful stew, Ilke! I don’t think my pantry cleaning would result in anything this good :)

    Sadly, I am one of those people! Lamb (other than grilled lamb chops) is not a favorite but that’s most likely because it wasn’t ever served in my home growing up. I didn’t even have lamb until I was in college!

    I need to find some pomegranate molasses now.

  11. by Monet
    9:08 am
    Mar 27, 2013

    This looks beautiful. I’m amazed at how rich and hearty it looks. Thank you for sharing. So many good flavors here!

  12. by Ozlem's Turkish Table
    10:11 am
    Mar 27, 2013

    This is a delicious experiment Ilke, and indeed why not?: ) I can imagine the tanginess of the molasses mingling nicely with all that spices and the paste, yummy! In Antakya, we give the peppers and the scooped eggplants, zucchini “a wash” with pomegranate molasses, before we stuff with ground meat and aromatic rice; the punchy, tangy flavor of the molasses does bring a nice kick. Enjoy the stew. thanks for the inspiration : ) Ozlem x

  13. by Mrs Ergül
    10:18 pm
    Apr 18, 2013

    I, too, should clear out the pantry. So many grains and pulses lurking in the back of the cabinet!!

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