It’s no secret, I like to eat! The good thing for me is that I’m not afraid to try new and exotic dishes whenever I travel! Since I’m traveling in the US now, it makes sense that I learn to cook some of the dishes I really enjoy that are often difficult, if not impossible, to find in small town America. With the internet and You Tube available anywhere your smart-phone has reception, it’s pretty easy to learn how to make just about any dish imaginable, as long as you can find the necessary ingredients!
Let me first make a *disclaimer,*… I do not claim to be a formally trained executive chef! But I’m not afraid to try my hand at preparing dishes that some may consider “a bridge too far” while vehicle camping or Overlanding! Let’s face it… just because you are car-camping or RVing doesn’t mean you have to eat hotdogs and hamburgers everyday! A friend who happens to be a really great cook once told me, “if you can read and have an imagination, then you can learn to cook.” I will take it one step further… if you can watch a video and have an imagination, then you can learn to cook! A few years ago I traveled to Morocco and Greece, two countries that know how to make great lamb dishes. It was at that time I really fell in love with lamb… the cooked kind mind you! Since I love Lamb and spice… I decided to try my hand at a Moroccan-style lamb stew today for a late lunch! I headed to the local Whole Foods Market and had the butcher section-up a pound of lamb shank for me. I also picked up a few of the spices I was missing and headed back to my campsite. Today’s meal was prepared completely outdoors with the use of a single burner butane stove (ChefMaster brand, $20) and a folding solar oven (SunFlair brand $90).
I’ve blogged quite a bit about solar cooking over the last few years. If you are interested in learning more about solar cooking, just type in the word “solar” in my blog’s search window and other solar cooking post will appear.
The ingredients for the Moroccan-Style Lamb Stew are,
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound of cubed lamb shank.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small onion
1 small tomato or small can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 can garbanzo beans
2 cups chicken broth
1 generous sprig of cilantro
To prepare, take the first 6 ingredients listed above and combine in a pot. Stir in the olive oil and add the cubed lamb. Sauté on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes.
The browning of the lamb before you place it in the solar oven helps seal in moisture as it slow cooks.
Next, chop your onion and add the rest of the ingredients listed above to the pot, then place the covered pot in the solar oven. Depending on where you are and the time of year… your solar oven cooking temperature will differ slightly. Today I cooked the stew for 2 hours at a temperature between 225 and 250 degrees f. Remember, you will need to adjust the angle of your solar oven every 30 minuets or so to keep it best aligned with the suns rays.
I know some of you are saying… “Geez, that’s too complicated with too may ingredients.” Truth is, all the spices listed above can be found in the small 1/2 oz size containers for less than a few dollars each and the only ingredients requiring refrigeration are the lamb, onion, tomato and cilantro. It takes minimal prep-time and the results are well worth the effort. The stew was incredible, the lamb was very moist and the dish had just the right amount of spice kick to it! The recipe above made enough to serve two people!
So next time you are Car-Camping, RVing or Overlanding, break-out your smart-phone, search for a dish you like on You Tube, pick up the ingredients, turn on your imagination and try your hand at cooking a new dish, you might just surprise yourself and bring out your inner-chef!