I love stew. And I love lamb. (And an easy lamb stew is the best!) I used to ask for lamb for my birthday dinner ever since I was like, 5 years old. When we lived in New Jersey, our babysitter, Jen, used to make the best lamb stew using lamb neck pieces. They get so very tender, but they are also hard to find. I never see them in the stores I shop in now. I should put in a special request to the butcher.
So I wanted to find a quick and easy way to make a delicious lamb stew, so this is what I did, remembering a trick my mother used to use on her stews. That trick is to lightly sprinkle flour on top of the meat, while you’re browning it. It works nicely to brown the flour, adding in the thickening agent without having to make a roux so you can move on quicker! Thanks Mom!
Another thing I did was add in dried apricots. They cook nicely with the meat and don’t really “read/taste” as fruit, when it’s all done – it just adds a touch a sweetness, melding deliciousness in a great, comforting way.
Comforting, that’s what a great stew is all about, right? Especially on some egg noodles.
And we all need a little comfort these days. I can’t wait for today to be over. This has been a very tough election season and I am so sick of hearing about it. Are you too?
Make this with LOVE and sink into some tasty comfort!
EASY LAMB STEW – serves 6
2.25 lbs. lamb stew meat
Kosher salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. flour
2 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. allspice
1 cup dry red wine
3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tbs. butter
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced
3 – 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
3 stalks of celery, cut in 1” pieces (no leaves)
½ of a fennel bulb, cut in ½” wedges
5 whole garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf
3 stems of fresh rosemary
2 medium fresh tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges and each wedge cut in half
20 dried apricots, each cut into 3 pieces
Cilantro, chopped for garnish
Dry the meat pieces with paper toweling while you warm the oil on medium-high heat, preferable in a Le Creuset cast iron Dutch oven pot. Salt and pepper the top of the meat cubes and when oil is hot, lay seasoned side down in your pan. Brown the lamb cubes for about 3 minutes while you salt and pepper the other side of the meat in the pan and lightly sprinkle 1/3 of the 2 Tbs. flour over the top of the raw meat. Turn and brown the other side for 3 minutes, being careful and adjusting your heat to not let the oil and flour mixture burn. This will take about 3 batches to do. Remove the browned meat to a glass pie plate for meat juices to collect.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in another non-stick skillet and lightly brown the onion, carrots, celery, fennel and garlic on medium to medium-high heat, tossing often until they are lightly colored, about 10 minutes.
When all of the meat has been browned, sprinkle with the cumin and allspice and toss to coat in the pie plate.
Deglaze the Le Creuset pot with the wine, stirring up all the bits on the bottom of the pan, reducing the wine by about a third, simmering 5 minutes.
Add in the chicken or vegetable stock, the seasoned browned meat, and all the vegetables, scraping all the butter and juices left in the skillet from the vegetables. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, apricots and rosemary stems. Toss all to combine.
Cover and roast at 350 degrees for about 1.5 – 2 hours, until meat is super tender when tested with a fork. If it looks a little dry or you want more juices, add more broth.
Serve over some egg noodles or cous cous would also be nice. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!!