Lamb Stew

It’s time.  Cold in New England, actually rained in southern California.  Holiday season is in full swing.  There’s no reason not to make one of the best stews I know.  When it comes to lamb, and I LOVE lamb, this stew is probably one of the best recipes in my arsenal   

This is a food – of – love project.  Take your time, follow the steps.  Enjoy the process.  
The difference between my lamb stew and others is I don’t thicken mine with additional starch. The key to wonderful stew with rich flavor is taking the time to go through every step properly and not rushing. Proper seasoning, roasting, caramelizing, etc brings out the flavor of an otherwise very simply countryside dish.  The flavor you develop is this multi-step process is deep, layered and complex.  I use lamb shanks for two reasons:  One, the marrow bone in the middle forces flavor into the stew.  Two, the meat, once tender, will never dry out.

On a side note, to make this properly, you will need a pressure cooker.  If you don’t have one, make sure to simmer the stew for a much longer time to achieve the same effect.

Lamb Stew
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time:  20 hours
Yield: 1 pot of stew
4 lamb shanks
1 lb baby red potatoes, washed and cut in half
1 onion, med dice
2 stalks celery, washed, small dice
5 carrots, peeled and cut oblique

10 sprigs rosemary

small bunch of thyme
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups red wine
homemade chicken stock, warm
1 bulb garlic, peeled and chopped
1 bunch scallions, fine cut on bias
kosher salt
black pepper
Toss the lamb with vegetable oil, salt and pepper and roast on a roasting rack in a hot oven along with 7 sprigs rosemary and a few sprigs thyme. Roast until deeply roasted. The meat should be pulling away from the bones and the color should be very dark. Let rest
Heat a pressure cooker and begin caramelizing onions, celery and carrot. While they are caramelizing, finely chop the remaining rosemary and thyme, along with the garlic. When the vegetables begin to turn dark, lower the heat and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until they smell sweet. Add the herbs and garlic and gently cook until very aromatic. Add the tomato paste and stir it will until all the vegetables are coated with tomato paste. Do not let the tomato paste burn. Deglaze with red wine, turn heat back up to high and reduce by ½. Add potatoes and lamb shanks. Add stock until just barely covered and aggressively season with salt, pepper and paprika. Put lid on pressure cooker and cook, approx. 1 hour, or until lamb is completely tender and falling off the bone and can be easily shredded. Remove lamb shanks, cool until you are able to handle them, shed the meat and add the meat back to the stew. Re-season. Remove any accumulated fat from the surface of the stew. Garnish with scallions and serve with warm rustic bread.  

Best served with red wine or Guinness


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