A recipe that worked remarkably – and so I share it with you!
by Charlie Leck
I know I should leave cooking matters to others who really blog well about the subject – like my daughter, out in Oregon [Love Every Bite], or to the remarkable touch of Brett Laidlaw here in Minneapolis [Trout Caviar], but I experimented a couple of days ago on a new approach to lamb stew and it came out so remarkably well that I feel compelled to share it with you.
I’m off white potatoes – not allowed to eat them. Yet, lamb stew is one of my favorite dishes – especially now that cool, bracing evenings have returned to Minnesota. I was in a quandary. An idea came to me. Here’s what I did…
Double Lamb Stew without Potatoes
Here’s a lamb stew that doubles the flavor and intensity of lamb and gives you some lamb with every bite. And, it doesn’t use potatoes, but you won’t even miss them.
(The lamb I used came, of course, from Sheepy Hollow at Native Oaks Farm)
- 1 lb of lamb stew meat (cubes)
- 1 lb of ground lamb
- 4 or 5 peeled and diced medium size tomatoes
- 1 or 2 stalks of celery sliced thinly
- 1 medium, chopped white or yellow onion
- 1 cup of fresh, high quality mushrooms
- 4 medium carrots sliced into medium pieces
- 1 medium sized fresh eggplant (cut in chunks as you would a potato)
- 2 cups of green peas (fresh is nice, but frozen are okay too)
- 4 cloves of fresh garlic diced into teeny little bits
- salt (I used course Kosher salt)
- pepper (freshly ground)
- ½ teaspoon of Turmeric
- small handful of fresh Parsley (if you can get it fresh)
- ½ teaspoon of Thyme
- ½ teaspoon of Oregano or Marjoram
- ½ teaspoon of Paprika
- 1 cup of a beef broth (I like to use the Better Than... brand!)
- Some fine, dry Marsala wine – at hand to create a fine stew sauce (I use one by Cantine Florio, Sicily)
1. Put the diced tomatoes and juices and a gulp of Marsala wine in a stewing pot and begin heating them on low. Use some of the salt and pepper to your own taste.
2. Add the Turmeric, Parsley, Thyme, Oregano and Paprika and allow the mixture to warm up at a low temperature. While this warming takes place start browning the following…
3. Brown the chopped onion, mushrooms and garlic in a terrific olive oil – ‘til they look wonderful but not burned. Drain and add to the stewing pot
4. Crumble and brown the ground lamb in the same pan you browned the onions, etc… without cleaning the pan, but with some more olive oil as needed. Just brown lightly because the ground meat will have hours to cook in the stewing pot. Drain and add to the mixture
5. Now, the same way, brown the lamb cubes in the same pan, adding a little salt and olive oil if needed, so that just the outside is browned thoroughly. Add to the mixture
6. Put into the pot the carrots, celery, and eggplant (not the peas)
7. Stir with a wooden spoon and increase the temperature as you attend to the mixture and pour in the cup of boiling beef broth
8. Before boiling takes place add another gulp of the Marsala wine and then allow the pot to boil gently for about five minutes, stirring all the time
9. Turn the heat or flames down so that the mixture will gently simmer for about three hours. Give the pot a light stirring every hour or so
10. You can then refrigerate the mixture for a day (there’s something wonderful about the flavors the next day when you reheat everything for an hour) or you can add the peas and allow the mixture to simmer a little more vigorously for another hour. If you’ve refrigerated over-night, add the peas the next day and allow everything to cook gently for an hour.
11. If, after an hour, the peas are the correct texture, you are ready for a very wonderful treat. Enjoy!
If you’re a lamb lover, what a wonderful dinner this will make. The ground lamb assures that you will get lamb flavor in every bite. Thanks to your regular stirring, the meat will be distributed throughout the mixture. I think you’ll find that the eggplant has added a soft, mild flavor to the mixture that you can’t get from potatoes.
You might enjoy adding a French baguette and, perhaps, a small green salad with your own vinegar and oil dressing. Add a nice, smooth and light red wine. I’m not allowed glutens anymore, so I scratched the bread and substituted some wonderful non-gluten crackers that I’ve discovered (made by Blue Diamond).
My late sister, Jean of Blessed Memory, liked to have some wonderful cucumbers and sour cream with a stew; and that would work with this Double Lamb Stew just fine.
Now that was a nice, pleasant break from my usual rants.
You can email Charles Leck
or you can sign-in to post a comment on the blog
or you can click on “follow” in the top right hand corner