Friday, April 27, 2012

Comfort Food - Lamb Stew

The weather the last few days was horrendous to say the least and I was always glad to get back home and sit in front of the open fire and get nicely warmed by hot chocolate and homebaked bikkies. But you can't live on hot chocolate and bikkies alone - at least Mr T can't. So I decided to show him that there is more to life than yummy spiced biscuits. Since stews are meant to warm the soul as well as the body, I thought I put it to the test. For some reason, I had my heart set on Lamb Stew and after having a chat with my favourite butcher - of course, O'Flynn's in Cork - decided on neck of lamb. It is a cheaper cut but with much more flavour and benefits a lot from slow cooking it. O'Flynn's cut the meat for me (customer service par excellence) and the rest was easy. I use the flour method to thicken the sauce but was careful to keep the 'broth' alive. The result was a rich but still light stew that went down a treat. Mr T was happy and so was I

You will need:

Lamb Stew
  • 1kg neck of lamb
  • 1 tbsp oil 
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tbsp flour 
  • 1 pint (1/2 l) boiling water
  • fresh thyme  
  • 1-2  bay leaf 
  • a few new potatoes (baby potatoes)
  • 2 Carrots (thickly sliced)
  • 3-4 tomatoes (cut into chunks)

Cut the meat in bite-size cubes (not too small as the meat will be quite soft and might fall apart if too small). Preheat the oven to 140C. Dab the meat dry and season with salt & pepper. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole and brown the meat in batches. Remove from the pot, leaving the fat behind and fry the onions until slightly caramelised - do it slow to ensure that the onions caramelise and not burn. Add the garlic and fry until translucent. Add the flour and keep stirring until all the juices from the meat and onions has been soaked up. Now pour over the hot water and stir until the flour has dissolved and you are left with a 'sauce'. Bring to a simmer and add the meat again along with the herbs and some more seasoning. Bring back to a simmer and put a lid on and place in the pre-heated oven for about 1 hour. 

After the hour, remove the casserole from the oven and add the potatoes (you can leave the skin in, just brush the potatoes), carrots and the tomatoes (you can skin them if you like, I just remove the skin when the dish is finished as the skin will fall off anyway). Place the lid on again and return to the oven for 45-60 mins until the spuds are cooked through.

Serve with crusty bread

Bon Appetit

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