It was a freezing cold day so tonight’s dinner had to be primitive. It had to be something you would cook if your house was devoid of heat and your dinner was going to be the only thing to keep you warm in your bed at night. Our big blanket came this evening in the form of lamb. Nothing warms better than a steaming bowl of syrupy lamb stew. I know lots of people who cringe when I talk about lamb for dinner. They find it too intense a taste. For me it is a food that I grew up eating. It was a once a week offering and came in a big pot with lots of potatoes bobbing in the stew broth. I have been conditioned to believe that it is the medicine for cold nights (well that and a hot water bottle!) and my job is to pass that message onto my children. It takes a bit of time to cook so get it into the oven as soon as you can.
You will need: 3 lbs lamb shoulder, 8 cloves garlic (separated but left in skins), 3 carrots, 3 parsnips, 2 celery stalks, 1 140z can whole peeled Roma tomatoes & juice, 1 onion, 1 cup red wine, 3 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock OR 3 cups water and 1 bouillon cube (chicken or vegetable), 1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary, salt and freshly ground pepper.
Prehead oven 325*
Dice onions, slice carrots, parsnips & celery. Chop rosemary. Set vegetables aside
and get the big 12″ saute pan onto the stove on high heat. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. If you don’t buy the meat already cut into pieces you can do the
job yourself. Cut the meat into big chunks. If you do not have a big saute pan use your heavy casserole pot to do the job. When pan is hot add 3 tbs olive oil and sear meat in batches until it is well browned. Turn heat down and add onions &
celery and saute for about 3 minutes. Add carrots and parsnips and saute for a further 4 to 5 minutes. Add rosemary, give it a minute before adding the red wine. Let it bubble for a minute or two and then add the tomatoes, garlic & stock or water and bouillon cube. Let the liquid come to a boil at which time put the lamb back into the liquid. Taste the liquid and add more seasoning (salt & pepper) if you think it needs it – this is purely a matter of taste. Cook in oven for
2 hours. Take out and test meat. If it needs more liquid add a cup of water and stir in. If it is not completely tender put back in oven for
another 1/2 hour. Take it out and let it sit covered for 10 minutes. Serve with some baby steamed potatoes (or rice) and some greens. Sometimes a big loaf of bread is all you may feel like……pretty easy dinner to put together.