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Mesopotamian Pomegranate Lamb Stew with Barley

A meal fit for royalty. Mesopotamian cuisine was quite advanced 4,000 years ago. The earliest recipes were recorded in this region of the world. You will be drawn by the delightful aroma and vibrant colors of this dish.


The pomegranate stew brings out the succulent flavors of lamb. The ingredients include grains and seasonings that were frequently used in the haute cuisine of the Assyrians. This creation is a celebration of those ancient foodies.


Enjoy the unique character and tender delight of this dish! 



Yields 4-6 servings



3 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1lb lamb shank
½ cup red wine
1 large onion (yellow), finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp Aleppo pepper
¼ tsp cumin
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp cinnamon
9 cups of vegetable broth
½ cup yellow lentils, rinsed and drained
3 beets with greens attached, beets chopped into small dice, greens finely chopped
½ cup barley, rinsed and drained
1 bunch of green onions, diced (with tops)
2 tbsp honey
½ cup lime juice
½ cup parsley, finely chopped
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 cups Swiss chard, chopped



Heat the oil in a 5 qt. Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the lamb shank with salt and pepper. Add lamb to the pot and sear until a brown surface develops, about 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer lamb to plate.


Add red wine to deglaze the pot (bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits).


Now you can add the chopped onion to the pot, stir and cook over medium high heat until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spices, sauté until brown.

Then add the broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the lentils and add the lamb shank back to the pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for an hour.


When the lamb broth is ready, add the beets and barley. Now cook for another 30 minutes.


Using tongs, transfer the lamb to a cutting board to remove the bones and trim the fat. Shred the meat pieces and return those to the pot.


Add the green onions, honey, lime juice, parsley, and pomegranate molasses. Simmer for 10 more minutes.


When you’re ready to serve, bring the soup to a boil and stir in the beet greens and Swiss chard. Cook for a few minutes and then add the cilantro. Reduce heat and pour into bowls.


Enjoy with a side dish of onions, cucumbers, pickled Jerusalem artichokes, radishes and if you can handle the heat, chop up a few habanero peppers!!!


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