Oh this recipe. Be still my heart.
I absolutely love lamb. Like love love love it. I had never been graced with this glorious game meat prior to moving to Colorado because honestly in WV it’s just not something that people typically eat.
I fell in love with lamb at a local restaurant in Denver that my husband and I stumbled upon one evening, and it immediately became our favorite restaurant. That restaurant is called Work & Class. They have a Coriander Roasted Lamb that will make you swoon, and their sweet potato fries that are served with a chipotle aioli are literally heaven.
Once I had tried this delicious protein I had to learn more about it – the best ways to cook it, what ingredients go well with it, and classic dishes made with it.
I bought the book The Flavor Thesaurus last spring, and this was the best place to start my research to build a dynamite lamb dish. There were the obvious pairings of cumin, eggplant, goat cheese, and mint but when I saw cherries I was intrigued. I am a sucker for a good sweet and savory combo, and the thought of lamb and cherries tantalized my senses. As I read on she described a combination of flavors that were typical for a rice pilaf with lamb and cherries.
My first iteration of this dish was indeed a ground lamb rice pilaf that was comparable to fried rice. Just a mixture of onions, mushrooms, and lamb mixed in with some rice and cherries sautéed in a pan topped with feta cheese and parsley. The flavors were delicious, but it wasn’t exceptional. Fast forward almost a year later, and the idea hit me of making a new version that was more of a lamb and vegetable stir-fry served with rice versus the pilaf.
My husband’s biggest criticism of the original dish was that he wished the cherry flavor were more disbursed throughout the dish. While the flavor was wonderful, using the whole cherries restricted how much of that flavor you got throughout each bite. That was the key point that guided my inspiration for this dish because I couldn’t have agreed with him more. The direction I decided to go was to make a cherry sauce to drizzle on the top of the rice bowl instead of incorporating the cherries as an ingredient in the stir-fry.
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do. From the spicyness of the lamb to the sweet tartness of the cherry balsamic reduction. This dish is truly an expression of flavor evolution, and I’m so happy to share it with you.
- ¾ pound ground lamb
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- 1-2 tbsp. butter
- 1 medium size onion, diced
- 2 c. chopped spinach, packed
- 1 c. chopped mushrooms
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- dash of cayenne (optional)
- 1 small bag frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed
- 1 tbsp. raw unfiltered honey
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Cooked white rice
- Feta Cheese