Lamb and Date Chutney Stew


This recipe is my love song to the Karoo and Kalahari. The most comforting meals are often the simplest and most wholesome, and this stew ticks both boxes. The lamb pays homage to the Karoo region, whereas the date chutney and pearl wheat celebrate the riches of the Green Kalahari — South Africa’s Northern Cape on a plate! Whenever I make this chutney, though, I triple up the recipe. Call it a guilty pleasure I indulge in as an accompaniment to anything from a braaibroodjie to a slice of brie.

Lamb and Date Chutney Stew 

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 2 hours | Serves: 4 


for the lamb stew 

45 ml olive oil 
1,4 kg lamb knuckles 
15 ml Maldon salt 
15 ml freshly ground black pepper 
15 ml tomato paste 
1,5 l beef stock 
4 sprigs thyme, fresh 
4 medium potatoes, peeled and brunoise 

for the date chutney 

15 ml olive oil 
½ medium onion, chopped 
30 g fresh ginger, finely grated 
2 medium carrots, peeled and brunoise 
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced  
250 g fresh dates, pitted and quartered 
125 ml red wine 
116 g (125 ml) light brown sugar 
30 ml Worcestershire sauce 
75 ml red wine vinegar 
3 strands saffron 
3 sprigs fresh thyme, picked 
10 ml Maldon salt 
10 ml freshly ground black pepper 

for the pearl wheat 

200 g (250 ml) pearl wheat 
1 L vegetable stock 
4 sprigs fresh thyme 
10 ml Maldon Salt 
10 ml freshly ground black pepper 

for the garnish 

almond skins 
celery leaves, chiffonade  


for the lamb stew 

Over high heat, place a large saucepan and heat the olive oil. Sear the lamb knuckles on both sides until browned and season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and add the tomato paste and stir through. Add the beef stock and thyme, cover with a lid, and allow to simmer for 1 hour and 20 minutes, add the potatoes and cook for another 20 minutes before the meat is fully cooked.  
for the date chutney 
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and heat the olive oil. Sauté the onion and add the ginger. Add the carrots and celery and sauté until the onions become translucent. Add the dates and stir through. Add the red wine and allow to reduce for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, saffron, thyme, salt and pepper and allow to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, until thickened. Mix the date chutney into the lamb stew before serving.  
for the pearl wheat 
Place the pearl wheat in a sieve and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear. Place the vegetable stock in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add the rinsed pearl wheat, thyme, salt, and pepper to the vegetable stock, lower the heat, and allow to simmer for 1 hour, until cooked through. Garnish with celery leaves and almond skins.