Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lamb Stew

The first time I remember eating mutton was when I lived in New Zealand.  Since there is an overwhelming number of sheep there, it is pretty certain that people there would be raising and eating them.  Most of the lamb is exported which leaves the less desirable mutton in New Zealand.  However, like most things, you can figure out a way to make it delicious.  While this recipe uses lamb, you can use any kind of stew meat you would like.  That being said this is a simple recipe with a ton of good tasting vegetables which combined with the meat add all the flavor to this stew without much work on the part of the cook other than cutting everything up.  You can increase or decrease the size of this stew easily as well.  Since this was part of my Scandinavian brunch, the idea is from Scandinavian Christmas.

Lamb Stew (for about 6 servings)
1.5 pounds lamb cut into stew sized pieces (about 1.5 x 1.5 inches)  (You can substitute for any other stew meat)
Olive oil (for searing)
1 leek (you can use a small onion if you don't have a leek), well washed and cut into thick pieces
About a pound of potatoes, peeled and cut into similar sized cuts as the carrots and parnips
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 red chiles, roughly chopped
1/3 cup diced dried apricots
2 tablespoons tomato paste
black pepper

Heat olive oil in a pan (or into a large stock pot) and sear the lamb until brown on all sides.  Add the vegetables and garlic to the lamb and saute for about 4-5 minutes.  Add the chiles, apricots and tomato paste.  Season with salt and pepper; then pour in 1-2 cups of water.  Cover and simmer for at least an hour.  Taste for seasonings again and adjust as needed.  You can simmer this for several hours, but at least for an hour.  I made mine a day in advance, then cooled and refrigerated it over night.  The next morning I brought simmered it until it was hot throughout and then served.
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