Finally, it’s starting to feel like spring! March came through like a somewhat confused lion, so it’s only appropriate we celebrate the last chilly evenings with lamb.
There are all kinds of things you can do with lamb, vegetables and little time, so consider this recipe a helpful baseline for future experimentation. I started by reading Alice Waters’ recommendations for stew as well as Julia Child’s notes on lamb in a variation on Boeuf Bourguinon and Civet de Mouton, then peered in the veggie drawer and made do! All the meat and veg used below came from local DC farmers markets. If you’re fortunate enough to have hoarded some of Next Step Produce’s barley this goes very well over that, or other barley, or with amazing crusty bread or over some Smith Meadows fresh noodles. 🙂
Lamb Stew with Root Vegetables (two generous servings)
- 1 lb Smith Meadows lamb cubes
- Bacon fat or preferred cooking oil (reserve the fat from our nitrate free bacon! It’s great for cooking with)
- 1 onion
- 1 large parsnip
- 1/2 large celeriac (celery root)
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup broth (chicken, beef, vegetable, or water if you must)
- 3 crushed cloves of garlic
- tablespoon of thyme
- teaspoon of peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pat the lamb cubes dry and season lightly with salt and pepper, hours or the night before if you think of it. While they absorb seasoning and come to room temperature, chop the vegetables into large bite-sized pieces. They need to not cook too quickly and also not be cumbersome in the finished product.
- Heat a cast iron pot that has a lid over medium heat with the bacon fat. Sear the lamb cubes in batches so that they’re not crowded. Tongs are best for this. Place them in a large mixing bowl as they finish.
- Do the same with the vegetables, just enough to get a little extra flavor into them. Place these in the mixing bowl with the lamb for the moment. This all takes a little while! Add a little more bacon fat if needed but try not to wind up with a puddle at the end- this can be poured off as needed at the risk of losing a bit of flavor. You can also roast the whole shebang in the oven but then you don’t get the benefits of the next step…
- Deglaze the pot with the wine, scrape up any stuck bits of meat and vegetable and let it simmer for a minute to cook down a little. Add the broth and bring back to a simmer.
- Carefully scoop all the lamb and vegetables back into the pot. The liquid should not quite cover it all, add a bit more broth or water as needed. Also add the garlic, herbs and spices (experiment with flavors here!) and a bit of salt and pepper.
- Bring it all back to a very, very low simmer, place the lid on slightly askew so some steam may escape, and set a timer for two hours. If the stew boils too hard the broth will become cloudy and we don’t want that.
- Give the lamb cubes a bit of a poke- they should be just starting to fall apart. Salt and pepper to taste and that’s it! Serve with your absorbent carb of choice.
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