Normally, I wouldn’t post stew recipes in summer, but I’ve had several requests for soups and stews. The quarantine might be disrupting our norm, in the sense that we don’t go out that much, and with the air conditioner on, stew feels like a great idea!
For a healthy meal, especially during this coronavirus pandemic, Stellar Lamb Stew is a delicious choice. Cabbage is very high in vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that may protect against heart disease, certain cancers, and vision! Carrots have advantages for great skin, hair, and general well-being, along with being a cancer prevention food! Yay. Tomatoes are amazing as a source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to a ton of health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. And as good as all these sounds, the dish is simply comforting to the body.
There are dishes designed to amuse you and prepare the palate for more, while others are all in one complete meal. Stew is complete and grand. It was a dish I loved as a child but mainly for the amazing gravy, which magically changes anything it touches into a great memory. Lamb is still one of those dishes that many fear cooking. I think stories of mutton, an older animal, and have a strong flavor, are the reason. But young lamb is easy to find these days, and that makes for a safe and enjoyable stew.
Recipe Success: cut lamb evenly, don’t overcook the vegetables, and don’t skip straining the stew. It really only adds 3 minutes to the cooking and cleaning time, yet increases the quality of the dish by far!
STELLAR LAMB STEW
|Lamb shoulder, or leg of lamb, |
cut into 1-inch cubes
|Olive oil||4-8 Tbl||–||–|
Wash and dry the meat and in a 5 1/2 quart pot brown the meat in the oil, don’t overcrowd. Should take 3 batches and about 3-5 minutes each batch.
Chef Notes: boneless lamb shoulder or leg meat that cooks in 1 1/2-2 hours is perfect for this dish, make sure meat is cut in one-inch cubes no larger, We love it smaller, but only when the lamb is at its best quality do I cut it smaller. You’ll look for a young animal with good color and not too much fat or sinew. Lamb stew meat should be trimmed nicely and cut very proportionally, resulting in dry, tough, or flavorless. Again know your meat and or butcher.
|Garlic, roughly chopped||5 cloves||40|
|Dry white wine||1 cup|
Add the garlic and continue to saute for 2 more minutes and then add the wine and reduce for about 5 minutes on a medium simmer.
|Step 4 Bouquet Garni||Tools||Grams||Ounces|
Salt and pepper
Beef or lamb broth
Add the Bouquet Garni with only a touch of salt as it will become richer as it’s reduced. Use enough broth to barely cover the meat and cover and cook for about 1/2 hour on a very low simmer, then uncover and cook another 30-60 minutes. Skim the stew as it cooks for excess fat rising to the top, depending on the cut of lamb chosen, sometimes you will render very little fat.
Here’s were you would strain the stew. I quickly remove the lamb pieces and then pour the broth through a strainer. If you don’t have one, it’s not the end of the world. If you’ve ever eating amazing stews in a nice restaurant and wondered how they get the broth so clear and smooth, it’s from straining.
Chef Notes: depending on your stewpan’s shape and size, different amounts of broth will be needed. Add too much broth, and the flavors become milder, too little and meat can be tough or unevenly cooked. The idea is to use as little as possible as the tomatoes and vegetables will thin the broth’s flavor in the end.
|Step 5 Buttered Vegetables||Tools||Grams||Ounces|
|Carrots julienned 1 1/2 inch long||7 medium|
|Green Cabbage julienned 1 1/2 inch long||1/3 head|
|Tomatoes skinned and quartered|
|Butter, unsalted||2-3 tablespoons|
While stew is simmering, cut the vegetables, saute them in the butter for about 3-4 minutes, and then cover and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes. They should be tender, but not mushy, as they will cook a bit more when added to the stew.
When the stew if ready, add 1/4 cup heavy cream.
Add 1-2 Tablespoons of butter if desired, depending on how fatty the meat cooks out.
Add the buttered vegetables and stir cooking just enough to bring the stew to a good temperature.
Serve with crusty bread.
Chef Notes: the soup has a smoother texture with skinned tomatoes, but the flavor sometimes means more to me than perfect texture. Plus, I grew up eating tomato skins; therefore, I sometimes use half cherry tomatoes, as they are full of flavor, along with regular tomatoes. But cherry tomatoes can have very tough skin!!
Well, my loves, I am so happy to offer recipes in these terrible times. I hope they bring you comfort. I apologize for my rush rush effort to add them, I don’t have time to edit. But I want you to have them, so I do my best and send warm cheers to your table.
If you want something chocolate to go with it, try the Double Chocolate Oozers!
With enormous love,