In The Hunger Games, the Capitol offers some great dishes—chicken with creamy orange sauce, fluffy dinner rolls, and even pumpkin soup. These all sound delicious, but I knew the best entree for our menu would be lamb stew with dried plums, since it’s Katniss’ favorite Capitol dish…and Cesar Flickerman’s too!
For Katniss, I think the stew’s appeal comes from the fact that it’s hearty and closer to the earth than most Capitol foods. Perhaps Cesar feels drawn to the stew for the same reason, after living in decadence for so long.
P.S. This is a crock pot recipe, so you’ll want to start the stew 9 hours before you need it.
P.P.S. The original version of this recipe appears in the Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook. I used the crock pot instructions and made a half portion of the recipe. I also made a few changes (fewer onions, more garlic).
Lamb Stew with Dried Plums
“So, Katniss, the Capitol must be quite a change from District Twelve. What’s impressed you most since you arrived here?” asks Caesar.
What? What did he say? It’s as if the words make no sense. My mouth has gone as dry as sawdust. I desperately find Cinna in the crowd and lock eyes with him. I imagine the words coming from his lips. “What’s impressed you most since you arrived here?” I rack my brain for something that made me happy here. Be honest, I think. Be honest.
“The lamb stew,” I get out. Caesar laughs, and vaguely I realize some of the audience has joined in.
“The one with the dried plums?” asks Caesar. I nod. “Oh, I eat it by the bucketful…it doesn’t show, does it?”
— The Hunger Games
There are a LOT of ingredients here, but bear with me. The recipe itself is actually really easy:
- 2 1/2 lbs lamb shoulder (leg or fillet would also work)
- 1 large onion
- 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
- 3/4 cup diced celery
- 1 1/2 potatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 1/2 cups dried plums (prunes)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- seasoning: 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp white sugar, 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp thyme, 1 1/2 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp parsley flakes, 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1/2 cup ginger ale (I know this one seems weird, but trust me)
- 1/4 cup flour
- Makes 4-6 servings
- Start by cutting your meat into 2″ cubes.
Lamb shoulder can be a little fatty. If you’re concerned about the fat content, I’d recommend searing the lamb in a skillet and pouring off half the fat before adding it to the crock pot.
- Peel your potatoes, wash and chop your vegetables, and mince your garlic. Be sure to cut the potatoes a little smaller than the meat cubes (since they take the longest to cook, this will ensure even cooking).
- Toss all your ingredients, excluding flour, into a crock pot. The flour will be used for thickener later.
- Cover the crock pot and cook the stew on low for 8 1/2 hours. This stage is done when the lamb is cooked through and the potatoes are fork tender.
My crock pot is new, but older crock pots can run a little hotter. If you have an older crock pot, check for doneness after 5 hours.
- Stir in the flour and cook on high for 30 minutes. The broth will thicken and change color slightly.
- Enjoy while visiting the Capitol of Panem!
I find lots of crock pot recipes to be bland, so I was really excited when I discovered this stew. The lamb is SO tender, and the combination of spices creates a flavorful broth. The plums incorporate into the broth, adding just a touch of sweetness. The Mister and I were such big fans of the final result, we decided to include this stew in our regular dinner recipe repertoire!