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Thu Mar 22, 2012, 07:22 PM

Lamb and white bean chili

NY Times recent recipe:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground lamb
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced (or 2 small green bell peppers)
1 small bunch cilantro, cleaned
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 small jalapeños, seeded, if desired, and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chile powder, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 1/2 cups cooked white beans (homemade or canned)
Plain yogurt, preferably sheep’s milk, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving.


1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and cook, breaking up with a fork, until well browned, 5 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Transfer meat to a paper towel-lined plate.

2. Add the onion and poblano peppers. Cook until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Finely chop 2 tablespoons of the cilantro stems and add to the pot. Stir in the garlic and jalapeño and cook 2 minutes. Add the chile powder, coriander and cumin, and cook 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until it begins to turn brown.

3. Return the lamb to the pot. Stir in 4 cups water, the beans and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes; add more water if the chili becomes too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Ladle into bowls, and top with a dollop of yogurt and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

I tested this out on my hubs, myself and a group of acquaintances who were a BROAD range of generations, ideologies and food backgrounds.....I also found a great sheeps milk yogurt at whole foods that was tangy and properly sour that complimented this dish beautifully (a dollop, a squeeze of lime and some cilantro) Hubs and I loved it. The folks I could get to eat it all loved it..however, I was surprised by the faces I saw on a lot of folks about the lamb...not because of any issues with it being lamb, but because they thought they did not LIKE lamb...when asked, most people admitted they actually had never tried lamb...I could not get them to even try it, but they went for the chili with ground beef it in (even knowing about pink slime since it has been forefront)...I used good coarse ground local organic lamb too.

Anyone else run up against this type of "lamb bias?" And igf you get a chance, this is a good recipe...cut back on the amount of olive oil used to brown the lamb, and I bumped up the spices a bit on my second batch...but it was still not too spicy..just a great warmth.depth to it. The simmer at the end is mandatory to get that spice richness IMO.

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Reply Lamb and white bean chili (Original post)
mtnester Mar 2012 OP
yellerpup Mar 2012 #1
mtnester Mar 2012 #2
yellerpup Mar 2012 #3

Response to mtnester (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 08:29 PM

1. I must try this.

Thanks so much for the recipe. I'm originally from Oklahoma and have encountered strong bias against lamb from the home folk. My cousin was visiting NYC and her publisher took a whole gaggle of us to dinner one night. I ordered the lamb and she was aghast! You like lamb? Why in the world would you order lamb? Lamb is a favorite meat of ours, though. It's so versatile and your recipe has all the qualities I love in a meal.

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #1)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 10:28 AM

2. I think a lot of people assume they will not like lamb

because it is lamb...weird but strong feeling I get from lots of people...and I also believe that some folks have actually HAD lamb, and it was probably prepared horribly...like at Outback Steakhouse or someplace like that that cooks it until it turns to tire, or so under cooks it that it is nearly walking around on its own.

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Response to mtnester (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 10:47 AM

3. This is why the baby lambs are never named

on the farm. I think people do have more empathy for lambs than they do piggies, for instance. Personally, I love the distinctive meaty taste and the fact that lamb is the least processed (no antibiotics added) of the red meats. I prefer duck for the same reason.

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