My grass-fed cow is set to hang on October 29, and I’ve been enthusiastically emptying my chest freezer in preparation. Don’t worry, everything is going in our belly! I have to admit though I’m a bit of a chest-freezer hoarder at times.
As I’ve been making freezer space, I’ve been finding some hidden gems that had gotten lost near the bottom. One of those was an approximately 500g package of locally-produced Ontario lamb stew meat that I had picked up earlier this summer, spur of the moment, while shopping at Morden’s Organic Farm store. If you never have had the pleasure of shopping there, it’s a small organic farm just off of Highway 5 in Dundas run by Sandy Morden. Tell her I said hi! She’s a lovely lady, and the store carries her own products and those of other nearby farms, some of them Mennonite (go local! Woo!). Quality has been fabulous in everything I’ve bought there and worth every penny.
I have a soft spot for small farmers/stores, and no, I haven’t received any sort of compensation for posting about Morden’s. I’ve had great experiences with the store, and they deserve a little rah-rah-rah!
I’ve never really made stew with lamb. Usually I trend towards shepherd’s pie, but a single pound of lamb isn’t quite enough to do a proper casserole and the package had on it in big print STEWING LAMB. Well, it seemed like a sign to me… weather just started turning cool again, and I love soup.
I’m the only one in my family who has a real love of lamb. It’s a bit of a misunderstood meat with a taste that can be somewhat strong if the dish isn’t seasoned boldly. In the UK, a dark stout always pairs well with lamb. I mean, hey, who doesn’t love a Guinness-and-lamb boxtie with a crisp green salad? Red wine is excellent for marinating. Italian and Mediterranean cooking frequently season heavily with Rosemary and insert slivers of garlic into the meat. It’s fall-off-the-bone delicious. Every way I’ve had lamb before, I love it.
This, however, was my first attempt at trying something a little more spicy.
I used up some of my remaining red peppers and quick-chopped the old soup standard (carrots, celery and onion), diced some potatoes, grabbed the red wine and started subtle with the red pepper flakes, and in less than 90 minutes ended up with a mildly-spicy, hearty stew that my husband absolutely devoured. Yup, it’s a keeper.
Simple Shepherd Stew
|Prep time||15 minutes|
|Cook time||1 hour|
|Total time||1 hour, 15 minutes|
|Meal type||Main Dish, Soup|
- 1lb cubed lamb
- 2lb coarsely chopped vegetables
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 28oz canned chopped tomato (with juice)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/4 cup barley (or brown rice)
- freshly cracked pepper
Reserve the more delicate green vegetables like peas and add them to the pot a few minutes before serving to keep them bright and green. If you like it hot, add a splash of Tabasco to your bowl!
|Step 1.||Have your meat and vegetables cubed and standing ready. In a medium-large pot with a heavy bottom (or dutch oven) on the stove, use enough cooking oil to coat the bottom. Begin heating the oil on medium heat.|
|Step 2.||In a small bowl, mix the flour with some freshly cracked pepper. Dredge the pieces of lamb through the flour and brown the meat in the stew pot a handful at a time. It is not necessary to get the meat well brown on all sides.|
|Step 3.||When the meat is fairly well browned, add the vegetables (excluding any delicate ones), seasonings, broth, wine, barley, and canned tomatoes to the pot. Give everything a good stir, cover and leave to simmer for at least one hour, stirring periodically, until vegetables are fork tender.|
|Step 4.||Add any remaining delicate vegetables like peas or broccoli in the last five minutes of cooking so that they keep a vibrant green. Serve with bread and butter.|