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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lamb Stew






























This cold is horrible, but it's been more manageable than I thought -15 would be.  I have started to experiment with meats other than beef and chicken, and my first attempt at lamb turned out to be a great success!  Although an expensive meat, it was definitely worth it. Matthew even ate the stew as leftovers, and, if you know Matthew, that is practically unheard of :-)  This stew is simple and the kitchen will smell heavenly for days to come.  Warm and comforting, this will be a repeat for years to come when the weather keeps us cooped up indoors, watching movies in front of a glowing fire...

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat:


3 Tablespoons coconut oil


in a large skillet. While it's heating, dry:


2 pounds boneless lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes


with paper towels and season liberally with salt and pepper. Brown the lamb in the hot oil.  You will need to do this in several batches, as you do not want the pieces to touch, creating a better sear. Once brown, transfer lamb to a Dutch oven and set over medium-high heat. Once the Dutch oven has heated, sprinkle the lamb with:


1 Tablespoon sugar


and toss until caramelized, about 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle lamb with:


3 Tablespoons flour


and toss again. Place Dutch oven in the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Toss the meat and cook for an additional 5 minutes. The lamb should be slightly crusted by now. Remove from oven. Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Add:


4 cups chicken broth

3 Tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 bunch fresh thyme

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring broth to a lazy simmer. Cover the pot and return it to the oven. Bake for 2 hours or until the lamb is meltingly tender. 

Parboil: 

18 pearl onions, peeled, "x" carved into the root end
18 baby carrots
18 tiny potatoes
4 turnips, quartered
1½ cups green peas, fresh or frozen

separately in boiling salted water until just short of tender. (This will take about 10 minutes for the pearl onions, 10 for the potatoes, 5 for the carrots, 5 for the turnips and 2 for the peas, but cooking times will vary according to the size and age of the vegetables.) Once cooked, plunge vegetables into ice-water to stop them from cooking further. Remove navarin from the oven when ready. Transfer lamb to a bowl. Strain the remaining liquid (if necessary), discarding the solids. (I did not need to do this.  I simply removed the bay leaf and thyme from the pot.  Return meat to Dutch oven. Nestle vegetables around meat. Pour the strained liquid back in (if removed). Cover and return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes. Off heat, stir in:

Crème fraîche to taste, about 1/3 cup


You can add a dollop of creme fraiche into each bowl before serving.  I did it this way, so that I could keep the stew for leftovers, as only two of us were eating that night. Serve in wide bowls, sprinkled with fleur de sel and a scattering of the remaining thyme and any other fresh herbs of your fancy. A crusty baguette is the perfect partner. 


Ingredients 
3 tablespoons coconut oil 
2 pounds boneless lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 bunch fresh thyme
18 pearl onions, peeled
18 baby carrots
4 turnips
18 tiny potatoes
1½ cups green peas, fresh or frozen
Crème fraîche to taste, about 1/3 cup
Fleur de sel

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