Friday, January 13, 2012

One Great . . . lamb stew for a winter night

The rest of you might be happy about our unusually warm winter, but not me. I love winter, the more bracing the better. Give me a couple of good snow storms, at least one ice event and enough cold Saturday nights to get through the whole canon of great cold-weather cooking.

We haven't had that many good, cold weekends to trot out the heavy-duty comfort food this year. So a burst of chill this weekend is a cooking excuse you don't want to miss.

Lamb, Fig & Olive Stew

From "EatingWell One-Pot Meals," from Jessie Price and EatingWell magazine (Countryman Press, 2011). If you can't find lean ground lamb, pick a lean cut, such as leg or loin, trim the fat, cut it into bite-size pieces and pulse it in a food processor just until ground but not turned into paste. Or ask the meat department to grind it for you - some stores will do it.

1 pound lean ground lamb
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence (see note)
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 (14-ounce) cans reduced-sodium beef broth (3 1/2 cups if you have homemade beef broth)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 plum tomatoes, cored and diced
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
1/4 cup finely chopped pitted green olives
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add lamb and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a sieve set over a bowl to drain. Discard the fat.

Wipe out the pot. Add the oil and heat over medium-high. Add 1/4 cup garlic and herbs and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes.

Combine broth and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the pot, increase the heat to high and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, figs, olives and pepper. Return to simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the reserved lamb and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Combine the remaining 2 teaspoons garlic, parsley and lemon zest and sprinkle over servings of stew.

NOTE: It's not exactly the same, but if you don't have herbes de Provence, add 1/4 teaspoon each dried thyme, oregano, rosemary and marjoram.


lkmnews said...

I actually dropped a leg of lamb in the slow cooker this a.m., with garlic, rosemary and apple cider. I'll let ya know how it turns out...

1rudeguy said...

Seriously?? Lamb, Figs, and OLIVES???


Kathleen Purvis said...

Why not, 1rudeguy? It's a classic combination.

Anonymous said...

I made this on Monday. I added:

1 onion
3 carrots
2 celery stalks
8 oz white mushrooms
2 more plum tomatoes

Found the ground lamb at Harris Teeter, no problem.

Otherwise, I followed the directions. It is fantastic, but 1/4 cup minced garlic is WAY TOO MUCH. I love garlic, but that is too much. I'd suggest 4 garlic cloves minced instead.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing your feedback. Those sound like good changes.