Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lamb Stew

There are several foods I associate with my father. They include peaches, dark chocolate, German chocolate cake, waffles, and lamb stew. When I was growing, up his cooking repertoire consisted heavily of stews.

While looking through the Basque cookbook for our Christmas Eve celebration, he was drawn to this lamb stew recipe. He suggested we make it more than once. Luckily we made it because it was flavorful and comforting.

The ingredients are 4 ½ pounds lamb shanks, 28 ounces tomatoes, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 ¼ cups chicken broth, 1 large onion, 1 cup red wine, 4 large carrots, 3 large rosemary sprigs, 4 celery stalks, 3 large thyme sprigs, 6 large garlic cloves, and 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns.

We adjusted the recipe to make it in a pressure cooker, but it was a bit of a debacle because the cooker was too small.  I’ll explain how we made it and the directions according to the recipe.
We heated two tablespoons of the oil in the pressure cooker and seared the lamb shanks on all sides.  This took about 10 minutes.  We then removed the meat from the cooker.  The recipe directs you to do this in a large oven proof pot, like a Dutch oven.

My dad removed the lamb from the pan.

My parents grew these pretty, multicolored carrots.

 We added the remaining tablespoon to sauté the chopped carrots, onion, and garlic for about ten minutes. 

We realized at this point that the pressure cooker was too small. We were supposed to add the lamb to the vegetables. Instead we put the partially cooked vegetables aside in a bowl and returned the lamb to the cooker.

We added the tomatoes, wine, rosemary, thyme, and peppercorns. We cooked this in the pressure cooker for about 30 to 40 minutes. The recipe called for canned tomatoes, but we used fresh tomatoes. We added extra water to compensate for not adding the juices from the canned tomatoes.

After the steam was safely released, we opened the cooker and added the vegetables. We cooked this for another 15 to 20 minutes. If we had made this according to the original directions, we would have added the browned lamb and the other remaining ingredients to the partially cooked vegetables. We would have brought this to a boil over high heat and then transferred it to an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It would have cooked in the oven for 3 to 4 hours.

After it cooks, the lamb was falling of the bone. It was very soft. We tried to remove the herbs, but there were still a few hidden in the pot.

We forgot to garnish the dish with fresh thyme. This stew was filling, comforting, and savory. The meat was tender, and the flavor was excellent. Cooking it in a pressure cooker was a bigger hassle than it was worth. If you want to recreate this meal, just use an oven proof pan.


Erin | The Law Students Wife said...

A hot bowl of soup is exactly what I need right now!

Loretta E. said...

How fun that you have access to home-grown carrots! I planted a bunch this year, buy messed that up royally and didn't even get to pull up a stringy one...Gotta love the taste of lamb, even though I don't work with it very often!

Trish - Mom On Timeout said...

What a perfect bowl of stew Laura! It looks incredible!

laura said...