Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): You Lift Me Up by Rachael Lampa.

I'm so nervous. Really, shaking hands and everything. What if you don't like me? What if I sound weird? Oh well, too late now. Here is my first video log ever. And now the big reveal. Just what did I make in honor of The Hunger Games? Why, Katniss' favorite meal at the Capital, of course. Lamb and Plum Stew. :)

And the recipe!

Lamb and Plum Stew

1/2 large onion, cut
1 Tb olive oil
1 lb lamb, cubed (stew meat or neck meat) -
it all depends if you want to cut around bones or not. Neck meat is cheaper, but more time consuming.
2 tsp red wine vinegar

2 C water
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
10-13 dried pitted plums (prunes)
3-4 large carrots, sliced
1/4 (more) onion, cut
*3-4 potatoes, cubed (with or without skin)
*1 stalk celery - optional
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut
salt - to taste
pepper - to taste
rosemary - 1 Tb
*(cinnamon) - optional, to taste
(I'd recommend 1/4 tsp if you want to try it)

Plum Gravy:

Juices from the stew
Additional water (as needed)
Flour (1/4 C to start is usually a good place)
Salt and pepper - to taste
1/4-1/2 C prune juice (start with 1/4 C. Be careful not to make it too sweet. Lots of tasting is involved in this step).

Pour the olive oil and cut onions into a saucepan. Turn on the heat to med-low and stir around until they are soft and translucent (caramelizing). Turn the heat to med-high. Add the meat and red wine vinegar. Brown the sides of the meat quickly. Do not allow it to cook all the way through. This is called searing the meat. It will help seal in the juices. Put into a crock pot.

Add the water (to help keep it moist and makes for more juices for the gravy), brown sugar, dried plums, rosemary, salt and pepper. Keep it on low for 4-5 hours. Have fun waiting. Learn to knit or something. :)

Three hours before you are ready to eat, add the carrots, potatoes, the remainder of the 1/4 of an onion, red bell peppers, and celery (optional). Also add the cinnamon if you are going to at this time (optional).

When you are ready to eat, it is time to make the gravy. In a small pot, start heating the prune juice. This is to boil of some of the water and to condense the flavor. In another pot, suck up all of the juices from the stew (yummy). Add flour in small amounts, by the teaspoon, and whisk like crazy. Try to make it smooth and keep it from clumping. Depending on how much stew juices you have, you may have to add water to help supplement it, or to thin it out if the gravy has become too thick. Add salt and pepper. Add the now-boiling prune juice. Taste and tweak until it is the desirable mixture of sweet and savory. Pour back in with the meat. Stir and serve. You can also pour it over a bed of "wild rice" if you so desire (that part is in the book if you want to be really authentic).**

Congratulations! You just made The Hunger Games Lamb and Plum Stew!

You will notice a common phrase ringing throughout this. To taste. That is because this really is a personal exploration. You get to decide what you will like best. From the infamous words of Barbossa the pirate. "These are more guidelines, that actual rules." :)

Hoped you liked it!

*not in the original video. You need the potatoes though.

**rice needs to be cooked 20 minutes before you are ready to eat if you are taking this option.


Tales of Whimsy said...

That was awesome! I love love loved it! You rock!

Anonymous said...

Love the video! And I'm going to have to cut up my carrots like that next time. My hubby will be so impressed :)

Charlotte said...

Haha ! Awesome video ! You're all pretty and funny !

May I say that I LOVE your knife, AND the way you cut those carrots ?! And I love the steam that filled the screen when you lifted the lid ! It's exactly what happens to me everytime I lift the lid of my pans : my glasses get foggy and I can't see a thing for a while !

May I ask if this is the first video in a series ? *hint*

We should do a cook/book battle between bloggers, that would be fun. It reminds me of what I did for the Alice Week, which I had a lot of fun doing, but didn't have as much guts as you to do a vlog. :)

Unknown said...



Shannon O'Donnell said...

You are truly amazing! It looks and sounds delicious. Fancy carrots - my kids would love those. Wow. I bow to your superior cooking abilities. :-)

Heather said...

Wow, SO impressed...I'm sharing this with my book club :)

Heather Zundel said...

Juju - Thanks for commenting! You relieved my fears mucho much. :)

stacybuckeye - Glad you liked the carrots! They were a fun touch. I bet your hubby will be quite impressed.

Charlotte - Oh Charlotte, thank you. I was so afraid of showing my face because I thought I wouldn't be photogenic. And hooray for love for my knife! (I wasn't joking when I said I love it. I really do). And I had glasses for a while so I know EXACTLY what you mean, but my fogging was usually over opening the oven for cookies. ;) A battle would be fun, though I have no idea how to organize it. And yes, this very well may be the start of a series. :)

Beth - you rock my world. You know that? And I got the RAWK stamp, woot!

Shannon - Hee. Everyone seems to be liking the carrots. Maybe I should just show some fancy tricks to make your food look cooler. I know a lot of those...

Heather - Like, you're going to MAKE it for them? SQUEE! *glomp*

Shannon Messenger said...

Heh--SOOOOO many things to say I don't know where to start!

Second: I know you get this all the time but YOU ARE ADORABLE!
Third: You are SO much braver than me. I mean--you danced! OMG.
Fourth: How do I know this was really you and not your twin? Are you pulling a fast one on us?

LOVED IT! Love love love. And watch it again!!!!!!!!!!!

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

HEATHER!!!!!!!!! That was fan-freaking-tastic. I loved it! (except for the lamb part but whatever IM vegan). I loved that you brought back the costume and were cute and you DANCED!!! YAY! Please do more videos, this was awesome and made me smile!

Anonymous said...

I'm hungry now. That's all.


Okay, fine, it's not all. Nicely done, good lady. You are, as Shannon just mentioned, awfully winsome. :)

P.S. As a guy who doubles as the cook at home occasionally, I've found that just ripping out the seeds and white bland bits from peppers with my fingers is the fastest way to do it. Hey, when you've got three kids waiting for dinner, you do things the quick way, okay? Don't judge me.

Celtic Traveler said...

I am so trying that!

Tales of Whimsy said...

I posted about you :)

Lauren said...

Oh my god. Everytime I read Hunger Games I want to eat that lamb stew that Katniss likes so much, and now I can. This is just amazing.

Vivian Mahoney said...

This is FANTASTIC, Heather! I bow down to you. Did you create this recipe, too?

Heather Zundel said...

Shannon - The dancing actually wasn't as hard as I thought (but after being so drugged up on sleep deprivation, I'm not really surprised). :)

Frankie - awww, thank you! And yes, more may be on the horizon...

Simon - winsome. I like that. And no judging involved, I promise *crosses heart*

Celtic Traveler - Tell me how it goes!

Juju - That's awesome! Thanks so much for the plug!

Lauren - Okay, that just made my day that I could make someone else's. Try it with the cinnamon. I think it should make it taste amazing.

Vivian - Hahaha! Yes, I did invent this recipe. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun.

Anonymous said...

This is totally impressive. Way to go!

Heather Zundel said...

Karin - Thanks! (Love your blog, by the way).

Unknown said...

This is an awesome recipe!
I tried it myself (with a few changes) and made a video about it as well.
Thanks for the inspiration.