Lamb and Plum Stew Inspired by The Hunger Games

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What’s Up, Hungry People

We’re diving into a brand-new series today here at the Starving Chef’s kitchen – food inspired by literature! First on our list is the iconic lamb and plum stew from The Hunger Games. If you’re as excited about this adventure into book recipes as I am, hit up the comments with your suggestions for future recipes – and make sure to hit that subscribe button for a steady flow of epic eats.

Katniss Everdeen’s raving about this stew, despite the grim backdrop of her story, especially highlighted at the dawn of Chapter 23 where the stew parachutes its way to Katniss and Peeta, really sets the stage for how mouthwateringly comforting this dish is.

In the dystopian world of Panem, where the Capitol holds power over the twelve districts, the first “Hunger Games” book follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen from District 12. When her younger sister Prim is selected as a tribute for the brutal annual Hunger Games—a televised fight to the death—Katniss volunteers to take her place.

Alongside Peeta Mellark, the male tribute from her district, Katniss is thrust into a fight for survival against other tributes, all while navigating alliances, adversaries, and the complexities of her feelings for Peeta. Throughout the Games, Katniss’s skills in hunting and survival, along with her instincts for compassion and justice, make her a formidable contestant and a symbol of hope for the oppressed masses in Panem, setting the stage for rebellion against the Capitol’s tyranny.

Food is an imporant part of life in the Captiol – always in excess. One of the many dishes Katniss enjoys throughout the series is the lamb and plum stew that’s served on wild rice. So in honor of launching a new series for “BookTok” – here’s the recipe I came up with to satiate my curiousity of what this dish would taste like in real life.

Here’s What You Need

  • Bone-in lamb shoulder: Provides rich flavor and tender meat when slow-cooked.
  • Olive oil: Used for searing meat, adding depth and a hint of fruitiness to the dish.
  • Pearl onions: Offer a sweet, mild onion flavor that complements the lamb and plums.
  • Carrots: Add sweetness and color, enhancing the stew’s overall flavor profile.
  • Turmeric: Contributes a warm, earthy aroma and vibrant color, along with anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Cumin: Adds a nutty, spicy flavor that pairs well with the lamb.
  • Cinnamon: Imparts a sweet, woody flavor, balancing the savory elements of the stew.
  • Ginger: Adds a spicy, zesty kick, aiding in digestion and adding depth.
  • Garlic: Brings a strong, aromatic flavor that’s essential to the stew’s base.
  • Red wine: Deglazes the pot and adds acidity and richness to the broth.
  • Beef broth: Forms the stew’s liquid base, enriching it with a meaty flavor.
  • Morel mushrooms (optional): Provide a unique, earthy flavor and texture contrast.
  • Plums or rehydrated prunes: Offer natural sweetness and tartness, complementing the savory meat.
  • Syrup from rehydrated plums (optional): Adds sweetness and a rich, fruity flavor to the stew.
  • Herbs (rosemary, thyme, bay leaves): Add aromatic depth and a hint of freshness to the dish.
  • Wild rice: Serves as a nutty, hearty base that absorbs the stew’s flavors.

Let’s Cook

First things first, we’re getting down to business with bone-in lamb shoulder chunks, giving them a good sear in some hot oil. This is where the magic starts. Next, we’ll introduce pearl onions and chopped carrots into the mix, softening them up right alongside the lamb. It’s all about building those layers of flavor, so go ahead and season boldly with turmeric, cinnamon, and cumin, not forgetting a hearty helping of freshly minced ginger and garlic for that punch. As everything melds together, and once the garlic hints at its aromatic presence and the onions begin to tenderize, it’s time to throw in those earthy, freshly foraged morel mushrooms and, of course, those juicy, sweet rehydrated plums, pits removed.

The mushrooms are here to usher in an umami-packed symphony, while the plums work their magic to highlight the lamb’s inherent sweetness. Now, let’s not overlook the role of Haymitch’s choice wine, which we’ll use to deglaze the pot, adding just the right touch of acidity to balance the stew. Following that, we’ll stir in broth and introduce a bundle of fresh herbs, foraged from the wilds just beyond District 12’s borders, tying in that authentic touch of Katniss’s home.

Allow the stew to simmer until the liquid has mostly evaporated and the lamb falls off the bone with ease – a journey of a few hours. Upon completion, fish out the bones and herb bundle. While in the narrative of the books, these succulent chunks of lamb are traditionally nestled atop a bed of wild rice; in our real-world rendition, we garnish with parsley, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, and top with crushed almonds for a texture and flavor contrast that’s simply unbeatable. This lamb and plum stew, a Capitol delicacy savored by Katniss, is likely cherished for its straightforward, homely flavors, a reminder of simpler times.

Tips for Perfecting Lamb & Plum Stew

  • Choosing the Right Cut: Opt for lamb shoulder for its fat content and connective tissue, which become incredibly tender and flavorful when cooked slowly. Lamb leg can also be used but may result in a slightly leaner stew.
  • Balancing Flavors: Adjust the sweetness of the dish according to your taste by controlling the amount of plum syrup used. If the stew tastes too sweet, a splash of vinegar can help balance the flavors.
  • Achieving Tender Lamb: Ensure the lamb is cooked until it easily falls off the bone. If the meat is tough, it likely needs more cooking time. Low and slow is the key.
  • Enhancing the Stew with Morel Mushrooms: Morel mushrooms are optional but highly recommended for their unique flavor and texture. If unavailable, other wild mushrooms can also add a depth of flavor.
  • Serving Suggestions: For a truly immersive experience, pair the stew with the suggested sides of wild rice, fresh apples, rolls, and goat cheese. Each component adds its own texture and flavor, enhancing the overall meal.
  • Storing and Reheating: This stew tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and gently reheat on the stove, adding a bit of broth if necessary to adjust consistency.

Wrapping this up, I hope you’re as pumped to try out this lamb and plum stew as I was making it. Honestly, it’s a satisfying way to bring a piece of The Hunger Games into your kitchen without having to dodge arrows or outsmart other tributes.

So, whether you’re a die-hard fan of the series or just in the mood for a hearty meal that warms you up from the inside out, this recipe is a solid bet.

And hey, if you have any other fictional dishes you’re curious about, toss those ideas in the comments. Who knows? Your favorite might just be the next star of the show. Until then, grab your spoons, Hungry People, and let’s dig in. Enjoy!

Head over to TikTok to leave a request for your favorite fictional feasts!

Lamb & Plum Stew from the Hunger Games

The Starving Chef
Savor a dish inspired by The Hunger Games with this hearty lamb and plum stew, perfect for any fan's table.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Fictional Feasts
Cuisine Books, Movies
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 16 oz bone-in lamb shoulder cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup pearl onions thawed
  • 1 cup carrots chopped
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • ½ cup morel mushrooms optional
  • ½ cup plums or rehydrated prunes, pits removed
  • ¼ cup syrup from rehydrated plums optional
  • 1 bundle herbs rosemary, thyme, bay leaves
  • 4 cups cooked wild rice for serving
  • 2 rolls for serving book accurate
  • 2 apples for serving book accurate
  • 4 oz goat cheese for serving book accurate

Instructions
 

  • In a large, heavy-bottom pot over high heat, add the olive oil and sear the lamb chunks until browned on all sides. Then, stir in the pearl onions and carrots.
  • Season with turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and garlic. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, stir in the mushrooms and plums (or prunes). Sauté until the onions are tender, about 5-10 minutes.
  • Deglaze the pot with red wine. Pour in the syrup from the rehydrated plums (if using), along with the beef broth. Bring to a rolling simmer, then reduce to a medium-low simmer and cook uncovered for 60-90 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the bones can easily be removed. You may need to add a splash of water if the moisture gets too low as the meat cooks.
  • While the stew simmers, cook the wild rice according to the package instructions.
  • Serve the lamb and plum stew over a bed of wild rice, with a side of apples, rolls, and goat cheese. Enjoy!
Keyword lamb, rice, stew
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