Monday, March 21, 2011

Lamb Stew

St. Patrick's Day just came and went again for another year, and I repeated a successful lamb stew from last year. I found a basic recipe on Closet Cooking (well-suited for my NYC kitchen as that was microscopic) and tweaked it. The basics? Begin with good looking lamb (yes, this is a bit of a beauty contest) and select your veggies. Make sure to have good-quality beef stock on hand if you don't make your own. You'll want a good sized pot for this as well.

This recipe calls for Guinness or another stout beer, but you can use more beef stock if you do not want to use the beer. The original recipe called for adding the potatoes and carrots later in the cooking so they're not as cooked, but I like to add them earlier on. It's a preference thing so go with whatever you want. As for the lamb, I was fortunate enough to have gone to a store with a real butcher so I asked for lamb stew meat and got some of the best looking lamb I'd ever seen. The meat will flavor the whole stew so you want it to be good.

After making it once, you might see some tweaks you'd like to make. Go for it! Here's the recipe so you can get started:

Lamb Stew (modified by Anne Lane)
1 tablespoon oil
1.5 pounds lamb, give or take (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 onions (roughly chopped)
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons flour
1 Guinness (or other dark stout)
* beef stock
1 tablespoon rosemary (chopped)
1 tablespoon thyme (chopped-- pull it off of the woody stem first!)
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
4 white potatoes (cut into bite sized pieces)
8 carrots (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 handful parsley (chopped) garnish-- optional

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the lamb and brown on each side. I remove the browned pieces from the pan and place them on a plate so as to avoid crowding.

Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. It will take less time for this if you're using a cast iron pot. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Sprinkle in the flour and stir. Add the Guinness and enough beef stock to cover.

Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper, plus the potatoes and carrots if you want them more done. Add more beef stock if you add the veggies now.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the lamb is fork tender, about 1-2 hours. Check it every so often for seasoning.

If you haven't already, add the potatoes and carrots and some more beef stock to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until they are tender, about 20-60 minutes depending on cut.

Serve in bowls with parsley (if using) and Irish soda bread on the side or some other good bread. Enjoy!!

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