Autumn in New England is one of the loveliest times of the year. Leaves turn gold and crimson then fall to the ground creating a beautiful carpet that crunches under your feet. Adults take their children to pick apples at one of the many orchards and to farms looking for the perfect pumpkin. After a full day enjoying the crisp outdoor weather, a warming and hearty meal is a great way to end the day. Lamb stew is perfect for just such an occasion.
With a little preparation, this dish can be placed in a slow cooker and ready when you return from your outdoor activities or cooked on top of the stove like I did in a Dutch oven at a slow simmer for several hours until the meat is fork tender. Either way, you will end up with a robust meal that fills your kitchen with wonderful aromas.
- 1 lb. of lamb, trimmed of all fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
- flour for dusting
- salt and pepper to taste
- oil for browning
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 c. red wine
- 1/2 c. tomato sauce (I used homemade)
- 2 c. beef stock
- 1 c. water
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 c. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, and cubed
- 2 or 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 c. frozen pearl onions
- 1/2 c. frozen baby peas
Season the lamb cubes generously with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Heat enough oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven to just coat and brown the lamb cubes in batches (do not overcrowd), adding a little more oil if necessary, when brown remove to a plate. Add the onions, stirring up all the brown bits and cook until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the red wine to deglaze, stirring well and then add the lamb back to the pot. Add the tomato sauce, beef stock, water, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and bay leaves. Stir, cover with the lid and let simmer until the lamb is tender. At this point remove the lid. If the sauce is too thin, cook a little longer to reduce or make a paste of flour and water to thicken the sauce, cook until the desired consistency. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Add the potatoes and carrots, cook uncovered for ten minutes, then add the pearl onions and cook until all the vegetables are done. Right before serving add the baby peas which will only take a few minutes to cook. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves and serve in warm bowls.
To complement this meal, you might want a crisp green salad although it isn’t necessary with all the vegetables in the stew. What you will want is a chunk of bread to soak up the savory sauce and a nice glass of red wine.
I hope you will enjoy this meal and the autumn days that lie ahead.