Thursday, March 8, 2012
Nearly Spring Lamb Stew
Last year around this time, Peter and I went to Al Di La for a dinner to celebrate something or other. All our meals there were lovely, but my dinner that night was perfection - lamb stew.
I know, I know. Lamb stew? Despite what you might be thinking, it was a celebration of early springtime vegetables. Small, tender pieces of lamb with artichokes, peas, asparagus, herbs and lemon. So much lemon! It was rich, but all that acid made it positively addicting.
Last Sunday, I was flipping through Dorie, looking for something to cook up for dinner. It had to be good since I was nursing a touch of sadness that it would be my first Sunday without Downton for company. Roast chicken wasn't going to cut it.
Do you ignore the recipes in a book that don't have a photo attached? I'm definitely guilty of this. Though I've looked through this book dozens of times, green-as-spring veal stew caught my eye for the first time. I made all sorts of substitutions, swapping in lamb for veal, kale for spinach, and mint for tarragon, so it turned into something in between the original recipe and the Al Di La dish - fresh and springy and celebration worthy (even without Downton on in the background).
Nearly Spring Lamb Stew
You will need:
2 cups chicken stock
1 lb lamb stew meat
2 carrots, peeled and quartered
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
2 1/2 cups arugula
2 cups chopped kale
1 cup parsley
1/2 cup dill
1/2 cup mint
3/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
2 tablespoons lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add in the lamb meat and boil for one minute. Drain and reserve the meat. In a large dutch oven, combine the stock, carrots, onion, bay leaf and dried herbs. Once that reaches a boil, add in the lamb meat. Return to a boil, then cover tightly and reduce heat to a low simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Then remove the meat, and reserve in a small bowl, covered so that it stays warm.
Remove the vegetables and bay leaf with a slotted spoon and discard them. Add in the greens and herbs to the dutch oven, and cook in the stock for one minute. Pour the greens into a food processor or blender and pulse into smooth. Return to the dutch oven and add in the lamb. Over low heat, gently stir in the sour cream, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Serve over mashed potatoes (or rice or noodles). Toast to spring's speedy arrival.