Spiced Lamb Quinoa

Tonight’s dinner, a spiced lamb quinoa, was an improvised mix of odds and ends I had in the fridge, freezer, and pantry that ended up coming out so delicious I think I’ll have to make it just like this again!

I pulled some ground lamb out of the freezer to defrost this morning, and when I was done working I threw it in a pan to brown with some salt, garlic powder, and a berbere seasoning blend, which has mix of cayenne pepper, paprika, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and garlic. The blend is lovely with lamb – the cinnamon just has this nice warmth that seems to go very well with lamb.

While the meat was browning, I cooked some white quinoa on the stove with beef broth and a little butter. When the lamb was brown I spooned it out but left the fat in the pan, and then added a diced onion and a little minced garlic in to brown. I seasoned with salt and the berbere blend, then deglazed the pan with some marsala as soon as the onions started to brown on the outside. I added in some water so the onions could simmer and get soft without caramelizing and getting too sweet. I also added some sundried tomato paste for depth. I zapped a bag of frozen chopped kale for a few minutes, so it was defrosted but not cooked through, and added it to the pan. I tossed in some halved mini San Marzano tomatoes and splashed in a little more marsala, and let it stew for a few minutes. I added the meat back to the pan, put in the quinoa, and removed from the heat.

I stirred everything together, then added some leftover creme fraiche that needed to be finished up. It melted in nicely and just added a hint of creaminess. I finished the dish off by stirring in some dried parsley and chunks of creamy Egyptian feta. It was warm from the spices, had a nice mix of textures, juicy from the tomatoes, and had a lovely tang from the feta. Sometimes pantry meals feel like a bunch of leftovers that don’t really go together, but today’s came together nicely!

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