I just got home from Japan a few days ago and my favorite thing to do right when I get home is go to the grocery store! It’s like a breath of fresh air driving my car, blasting my tunes, pulling up to the market and skipping in as I grab my cart and release a happy sigh of relief! I can read EVERYTHING! I can communicate with people! I even know where things are! It’s crazy what we take for granted. Everything looked too good to be true. The smell of the artisanal coffee and fresh flowers were like the cherry on my sundae as I strolled through the market. It was hard to control myself and not buy everything that I had been missing. I started to look around and instantly felt at home. I know your probably thinking I’m a wac-a-do to get all these feelings just from going to the grocery store, but it’s definitely one of my happy places. It is filled with memories from my childhood. I feel centered looking at all the produce, knowing that I am going to take it home and create something healthy and yummy for my family and I to enjoy. Which led me to this special dish! I saw the bag of beautiful orange apricots and instantly thought of the apricot fruit roll ups we used to get when my mom would take us to the Lebanese market. The owner would come from behind the counter and greet my mother, and then give us each a fruit roll up. I will never forget the smells and homey feeling that would come over me when we would walk into this simple market. Needless to say I grabbed the bag of apricots! I started to think about how I could possibly use them all before they go bad. I am only one person and couldn’t eat them all! I started to think about the market and everything else I use to see there: the pistachio baklava drizzled with rose water and honey, the roasted lamb, and the fresh cucumber salad. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do as I checked out, but wasn’t one hundred percent sure how exactly I was going to pull it all together. When I got home, I decided to make my version of an apricot compote to dress on top of the lamb. I paired the apricot lamb with some arugula, quinoa, rosemary zucchini, and a little goat cheese! The whole meal turned out better than I imagined!
8-10 organic apricots
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme
1 1/2 tbsp fresh mint
2 heaping tbsp raw organic honey
1 tbsp olive oil
lamb chops or lamb shoulder (you can also roast a rack of lamb)
Chop your apricots into cubes. On medium heat, add the apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, and apricots to a large dutch oven pot.
Once the apricots begin to soften, add the water, thyme, and mint. Make sure you occasionally stir so that the fruit doesn’t stick or burn on the bottom of the pot. Cook down on low heat for about 8-10 minutes.
Once the apricots have become really soft, and are broken down, turn off the heat, and stir in the honey. I like to make sure that whenever I use honey, I am not putting it into something extremely hot, to maintain all the vitamins and minerals.
Remove the apricot compote from the pot, rinse your pot out, and place it back on the burner. Season your lamb with salt and pepper. I like to make sure my lamb is at room temperature because it browns better when I sear it.
Add the olive oil to the dutch oven pot and turn it on medium-high heat. Once your pot is hot, place the lamb in. For medium rare, sear each side of lamb for about two minutes (depending on how thick your lamb is).
While your lamb is cooking, you can be boiling your quinoa and sautéing your zucchini in rosemary!
Now it is time to plate your meal and top it off with some chopped up pistachios! All the flavors really come together well with this Lebanese inspired recipe. Enjoy!