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The Hunger Games: Katniss's favorite dish

When Katniss, the heroine of 'Hunger Games,' is brought to the Capitol, she is introduced to a decadent array of mouth-watering foods. Her most favorite dish is lamb stew with dried plums.

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And as for the dried plums, I was so wrong. They are spectacular in combination with the tender chunks of slow-cooked lamb and Moroccan-inspired spices. I can’t think of a better pre-Hunger Games dish.

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The Gourmand Mom

Amy Deline is a stay at home mom to three little boys. She’s a former early childhood educator with a lifelong passion for home-cooking. Amy is the author and photographer behind The Gourmand Mom, a blog which celebrates food through simple and perfectly seasonal recipes, fit for a gourmet feast among friends or a relaxed family dinner.

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If you’re in need of a little Hunger Games fix before Friday’s big premiere, check out the preview on Cinema Blend, where you can see all of the latest images, trailers, movie clips, and behind-the-scenes features!

Moroccan-Style Lamb Stew with Dried Plums

2 2-1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, well-trimmed of exterior fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup flour
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chicken stock
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup dried plums (prunes), diced
1/4 cup dried apricots, diced
1/4 cup golden raisins
6 fresh mint leaves, chiffonade *

*Click here to see my photo guide on how to chiffonade.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Toss the lamb in the flour. In a large dutch oven pan (or oven-safe stock pot with a tight fitting lid), heat olive oil over medium/medium-high heat. Add the lamb to the pan in a single layer and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. (Cook in batches, if necessary. Do not overcrowd the pan.)

Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium. Add the carrots and onions to the pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until tender and golden.

Sprinkle the cinnamon, cumin, ginger, salt and pepper over the carrots and onions. Stir to coat. Cook for one more minute. Then, return the lamb to the pan.

Add the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover and place the pan on the middle oven rack. Cook for 1-1/2 hours, then add the sweet potatoes and dried fruits.

Cook for 20-25 minutes more, until sweet potatoes are tender, but not mushy.

Finally, stir in the fresh mint. (If the sauce is thicker than desired, use additional chicken stock or water to thin it out.) Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as desired.

Serve over hot buttered noodles or with crusty bread.

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