Chtitha Lham ~ Algerian Lamb / Mutton & Chickpea Stew, another dish fit for your EID Al Adha table.
You know me, ever aspiring to be the Algerian cook although, truly an English woman and yes still stuck in my ‘western mentality’ most days of wanting nothing better to eat or easier to cook than throwing a pizza in the oven and chips or beans on toast etc…
I have to push myself almost everyday to get in the kitchen, it’s the piles of dishes at the end which I despise but once I’m there and in the act which is true cooking, providing my kids aren’t arguing and causing much fuss I’m in my element.
My Chtitha Lham recipe is slightly adapted from here and I kind-of went easy on the chilli-spicing because the night previous I’d cooked Thai beef stir-fry with cashews and it was lip numbing hot, I went over on the dried red chilli flakes! So it’s totally up to you, you can play around with the ratio of sweet paprika to chilli powder or add in a little more harissa. Any red chilli paste or sauce would work in place of harissa but as most people know these days, harissa is so much more than chilli.
- 500 grams halal lamb or mutton shoulder pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon smen or butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) harissa paste
- 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon (or to taste) ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) chilli powder
- 1 cup pre-soaked chickpeas
- 1 small tomato, grated
- In a medium-large cooking pot over medium heat add oil and smen/butter allow it to get hot, add meat and brown on all sides. This should take about 5-10 minutes.
- Once the meat as browned add onion and garlic to the pot, cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion has softened, stirring often. Add a splash of water if needed to scrape browned meat residue that may have stuck.
- Now add tomato paste, harissa and spices, cook for a few more minutes, stirring often before adding chickpeas, grated tomato and water – enough to cover the meat. Increase heat to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook for 1 hour or so, until meat and chickpeas are tender and the sauce has significantly reduced. Check seasoning / spice level and adjust according to your taste.
I used a mixture of lamb shoulder on the bone and smaller pieces off the bone, you can use either but on the bone will give you a much better meatier flavour.
I used pre-soaked (overnight) dry chickpeas (the measurement of 1 cup is after soaking) but if you are going to use canned, drain and rinse then add them to the stew during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
You can serve this dish with rice or bread and maybe a salad on the side.