Hunger Games Lamb Stew with Dried Plums


When Z from Z’s Cup of Tea announced that her theme for this month’s Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free event was Fictional Foods, I knew I had to do a dish from the Hunger Games. She wants submissions to be foods inspired by books you read as child, or from books you discovered at a later age. Considering the Hunger Games were written for teenagers (yes, I’m a grown adult and I have no shame!), I figured it would fit the bill!

I also have a chocolate cake recipe from my favorite childhood book “Happy Winter” that is coming up too, so stay tuned!


If you’ve been under a rock and either haven’t heard of or haven’t read the Hunger Games trilogy, I’ll summarize it for you

Teenagers fighting to the death in an arena with the rest of the country watching.
Awful right?

Yes, but SO addicting. I read all three about a year ago when I was quarantined to my bedroom for the weekend with the stomach flu. Now that the first film has been released, I have ‘Games fever all over again! I do have to say though, that I was startled at how many extremely young kids were in the theater seeing the movie the night we went! The books are clean as far as language and sexual content, but considering the premise, are definitely gruesome!

Katniss Everdeen, the stories heroin, comes from a place where food is scarce and meals are meager. When asked what thing most impressed her about the “Capitol,” where the rich live and thrive, the first thing she can think of is the Lamb Stew with Dried Plums.

“So, Katniss, the Capitol must be quite a change from District Twelve. What’s impressed you the most since you arrived here?” asks Caesar.

“The lamb stew,” I get out.

“The one with the dried plums… Oh I eat it by the bucketful.”

Without giving too much away, Katniss is sent this delectable stew in the arena when she is practically starving, and it’s all she can do to not eat it all in one sitting.

“I rip it open at once and inside there’s a feast – fresh rolls, goat cheese, apples, and best of all, a tureen of that incredible lamb stew… Every cell in my body wants me to dig into that stew and cram it, handful by handful into my mouth.”

The only description of the stew is that is lamb and has dried plums, so I used that as my starting point and added some other vegetables and fruits that I thought would compliment those flavors. They also mention it’s served over wild rice, which of course is a grain, so we ate it over cauliflower rice. You could also eat it over mashed parsnips which would be divine. Stews are traditionally thickened with flour or cornstarch, but I thickened this one by pureeing some of the braised onions with the pan juices.

Happy Hunger Games!

and Happy Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free : April Edition!

Make sure to come back in June when I’m hosting. The theme will be portable Summertime foods good for the BBQs/Potlucks to come!


And for those of you who don’t want to eat out a tin can on the ground….

Shared at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Allergy Free Wednesdays


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Hunger Games Lamb Stew with Dried Plums

AUTHOR: Danielle Walker - AgainstAllGrain.com



  • 1-1/2 pounds lamb top round roast – trimmed of fat and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley
  • ½ tablespoon tomato paste (this one is SCD legal)
  • 1 cup butternut squash, cubed
  • ½ cup dried plums, halved
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a dutch oven or large cast iron pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Thoroughly dry the lamb with paper towels, then working in batches, brown the meat in the olive oil on all sides – about 5-7 minutes. Remove the lamb, then set aside.
  4. Add the onions, garlic, and carrots, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the wine, chicken stock and tomato paste. Stir while you pour in the liquid to remove the bits at the bottom of the pan.
  5. Bring to a boil, then return the lamb to the pot. Add the bay leaf, rosemary, parsley, and thyme.
  6. Cover and place in the preheated oven for 1 hour, stirring only once half way through. Don’t lift the lid other than once, so the braising liquid stays hot and the steam stays trapped inside to ensure tender meat.
  7. Remove the pot from the oven, then carefully remove all of the onions and carrots and ⅓ of the pan juices. Discard the carrots, or keep them for another use. Set the onions and juices aside for later.
  8. Add the butternut squash, plums, raisins, salt and pepper to the pan, then return it back into the oven for an additional 20 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, place the reserved onions and ⅓ cup pan juices in a blender and process until smooth and thick. Keep covered and warm until the stew comes out of the oven.
  10. Pull the stew from the oven, and remove the herb sprigs. Stir in the onion puree.
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  • http://nograinnopain.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I’m so excited that you made this recipe, and can’t wait to try it! It looks divine!

  • Nicole

    Oh Wow. I made this last weekend and it was better than I could ever have imagined. After reading the book, I really wanted to make that lamb stew, and we’ve been trying to avoid grain so this was perfect! (Also, the idea of the cauliflower rice was brilliant – how do people come up with that stuff?! and it went really well with the stew).
    I actually cooked this in a crockpot. After browning the lamb chunks (no one I talked to had heard of lamb top round roast, so I used boneless lamb shoulder), I just dumped everything in the crockpot on low for about 8-9 hours. Heavenly smell, and even heavenlier taste. It was a hit with our friends (I also doubled the recipe).
    I forgot to take out the onions and puree to act as a thickening agent, but no one noticed or minded that the stew was more brothy. Next time, I will definitely do the puree, though.
    Also, I don’t understand why one would discard the carrots. The broth had absorbed into them, and I’d rather not waste, so I left them in.
    Thanks again for this marvelous recipe!

    • T

      Thanks for this! My first thought was: can you make it in the crockpot? It’s entirely too hot right now to be cooking much on the stove or using the oven. I’ve made/eaten a stew very similar to this before, but I love that this one doesn’t have the potatoes that the other one does. Looking forward to cooking this soon! :)

      • Stefanie

        I’m glad you mentioned this because I don’t have a dutch oven, so I was hoping someone had done this in the crockpot. Glad it came out great!

  • http://www.harpsinger.net Terri Langerak

    First, I only found your website a few days ago, and I’ve been drooling ever since.

    As I mentioned on FB, I didn’t have plums, so I subbed in apricots instead (1 C). I cubed up the last butternut squash from last year’s garden, 3 carrots, and since I was cooking it in the crockpot, I caramelized the onion and garlic. No red wine in the house, so I used Mirin instead, and since I made lamb stock yesterday, I used it instead of chicken stock. I browned the lamb. Then I got the idea to make it mideastern, so I added a cinnamon stick, 6 or 8 cardamom pods (I forgot to count), 1/4 tsp cloves, and several slices of ginger. I almost added cumin…maybe next time…

    I let that cook for several hours, then added the apricots, some salt and pepper, and left it for another hour or so. I removed all the spices, mashed some of the veggies to thicken the stock, and served the stew over steamed Brussels sprouts.

    YUM YUM YUM! Thanks so much for your wonderful website, I’m really looking forward to trying our your recipes! On my next grocery run I’ll get some dried plums and try your lamb stew recipe, and I’m sure I’ll love it!

    • Nicole

      Hey what a great idea with the extra spices, and over brussel sprouts! Sounds wonderful – I’ll be trying your variation soon :)
      Any thoughts on how this might turn out with beef instead of lamb? It’s a little less expensive. But do you think the flavors would still go well together?

      • Against All Grain

        I think beef would still taste great! Just use a quality, tender, piece of meat.

        • Cathy D

          As I read through the recipe i, too, considered the extra spices..was thinking nutmeg or maybe even garam masala. Going grocery shopping now and will be getting supplies to make this! Hubby loves lamb and I’m going to surprise him with this on Sunday! Thanks so much for the recipe.

    • http://www.harpsinger.net Terri Langerak

      If I make my apricot version, I’ll probably use less apricots next time…it was a little sweet…

  • Olga

    Thank you a lot for sharing with us your recipes. This particular dish is my second I have tried and I can only say that it turned out delicious! My entire family enjoyed it. I cannot wait for your book to be published. Have a great weekend. Here in Canada is Thanksgiving so I can say that I am grateful for finding your website.
    Olga ~

  • Liz

    Made this for Christmas and it was so so so good! Instead of putting it back in the oven, I put it on the stove and let it simmer with the lid on tight for about 4 hours because I was a bit ahead of schedule but it came out perfectly. The name is great, too. My skinny, too-short 13-year old brother even ate it! It was probably the most colorful, healthy meal he’s had since babyfood. All he eats is white bread, chocolate milk, meat, and mashed potatoes. Slowly, slowly I will convert them…..