I probably say this every year but fall is by far my favorite time of the year to cook. It’s nice to get back in front of the stove after cooking on the grill all summer. I just feel more creative in the fall, there’s only so much you can do with the grill, and the season brings lots of variety with it: soups, stews, roasts, braises, and baking (not that I’m much of a baker). You can see why I was eagerly looking forward to building a lamb stew.
Another thing fall is all about, using your harvest! I was happy I got to use up the last of the green beans from our garden as well as some carrots (have a lot of those). An ingredient I forgot to add but one which also signifies the menu change to fall are mushrooms. I think they really would have added more heartiness to the lamb stew so if you have some throw them in.
As Cheryl commented while eating dinner, this lamb stew is similar to boeuf bourguignon. Of course it is, I used a lot of wine in it! But isn’t boeuf bourguignon really nothing else but a stew? For a good stew all that matters (to me) is you’re slowly braising the meat and ending up with a nice thick liquid. Like most cooking, as long as you have the right technique you can make anything. Basically brown your meat, add vegetables, liquid, then wait while the stew simmers, simmers, simmers, and the liquid reduces, reduces, reduces, making a really flavorful sauce (is sauce correct here? it’s not a broth or stock, more gravy-like I suppose, stew liquid? braising liquid? reduction?). The longer you let this go the better it tastes!
Lamb Stew with Garden Vegetables (makes 4-6 servings)
- 2 ½ lbs Lamb shoulder stew meat (boneless, cubed)
- Flour for dredging
- 2 Tbs butter
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 ½ C carrots, rustic cut
- 2 onions, medium chopped
- 1 C peas
- 1 C green beans, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, small dice
- 2 ½ C red wine
- 2 ½ C water (or stock)
- ¼ C demiglace
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 3 cloves of garlic smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ Tbs black peppercorns
- Salt and pepper
Make a bouquet garni by wrapping the thyme, rosemary, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns in the cheesecloth and tie up the corners.
Season the lamb pieces with salt and pepper. Add some flour to a small Ziploc bag. Place seasoned lamb chunks in bag, close, and shake, so the lamb becomes covered with flour. Remove from bag and shake off excess flour. Set aside.
Add butter and olive oil to a heavy bottomed Dutch oven style pot and melt over medium-high heat on stovetop.
In small batches (to maintain heat in the pot) brown the lamb pieces, remove and set aside on a plate.
When all of the lamb has been browned add the carrots, celery, and onions and cook for about 10 minutes, allowing the vegetables to caramelize a little.
Deglaze the pot with some of the wine scraping up all the bits from the bottom.
Add the wine, water (or stock), demiglace, bouquet garni and bring to a boil.
Add lamb back in along with the juices on the plate.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 75 minutes.
At the 75 minute mark add the peas and green beans.
Turn up the heat to medium and cook with the lid off 15-20 more minutes, or until sauce has thickened to your satisfaction.
Serve over mashed potatoes, polenta, or egg noodles.