Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lamb Stew for Two

So every time I open my freezer lately, this one frozen slab of lamb meat keeps sliding out of and threatening to land on my big toe. I'd been saving (read: forgetting about) this remnant of the bygone summer glory days of farmer's markets for just the right meal. It's not every day you eat lamb, right? Maybe it's been jumping out at me for a reason.

Enter the propitious loan of a certain cookbook with a mighty tasty-looking lamb stew contained therein. A lamb stew that called for three specific vegetables which were, at that moment, decaying in my fridge.

I must confess that, for someone who really prizes the power of simple foods, I was a bit skeptical about the lack of seasoning in the recipe. I mean, it calls for water for goodness sake. Egads, was I wrong. Apparently lamb is so delicious that it needs very little help--don't substitute. You only need a little!

Lamb Stew for Two
ready in 1 1/2 hours; adapted from Olives and Oranges, by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox

1/2 -2/3 lb. boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large carrot, halved and sliced
2 medium turnips, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small celery root, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small leek, sliced into 3/4-inch rounds and rinsed well
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
1 1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
olive oil aplenty
  1. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Season lamb cubes generously with salt and pepper and place in a single layer in the pot. Don't touch them for 6 minutes. Flip and cook 6 minutes more. Scoop out (leaving any fat behind) and store in a dish conveniently placed next to your burner.
  2. Throw the carrot, celery root, and leek into the hot oil and add a healthy pinch of salt (and more oil, if needed). Saute, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove to conveniently placed storage dish.
  3. Last, brown the leeks and garlic in whatever's left in the pan, adding more oil as needed. After about 3 minutes, toss meat, vegetables, and any accumulated juices back into the pan. Add anchovy paste (if using), water, and vinegar. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes. Remove lid and simmer 20 minutes more, until spoon tender. Stir in parsley and serve hot!

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