It has been the perfect coincidence to have a beautiful new dutch oven right at the height of soup and stew season. I've been having a wonderful time honing my techniques and trying out new flavor combinations. This stew recipe is adapted from Daniel Boulud, who adapted it from a recipe his grandmother used to make when he was young.
I found the recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, The Pleasures of Slow Food, given to me by my dear friend Serena. When we lived in Charlottesville, we loved having having marathon home-cooked dinners that would take hours to prepare. Our friend Elaine worked at a nearby farm and would bring home loads of fresh, very local vegetables; the wait time of cooking them carefully and thoughtfully was always well worth it. This gorgeous cookbook, which features recipes from many accomplished chefs, is a true inspiration.
The stew was very simple but very flavorful. I couldn't believe how easy it was to make, and how delicious the outcome was. A lot of recipes from such highly esteemed chefs tend to rely too much on details and techniques that I don't have, so that I end up completely messing up, or feeling confused when mine comes out lacking the depth I'd hoped for. This was certainly not the case, and with the first bite, I felt instantly redeemed from the recent lentil soup disaster.
Adapted from Daniel Boulud
2 tablespoons butter
3 lbs lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 large leek (or a handful of baby leeks, which is all I could find), washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 cup white wine
3 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
6-8 cups water
a few sprigs of thyme
a sprig of sage
1 bay leaf
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cover the lamb chunks with flour, salt and pepper
3. Using an oven-proof pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the lamb. Stir occasionally and allow the lamb to brown for 6-10 minutes.
4. Add the onions and leeks. Stirring occasionally, cook until the vegetables are soft.
5. Add the wine and allow to reduce for 3-5 minutes.
6. Stir in the potatoes and add enough water to cover everything by about an inch.
7. Add sprigs of thyme and sage and bay leaf and bring to a boil.
8. Allow to boil for one minute, then cover loosely and place in the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or up to 2 1/2 if necessary (until the vegetables are soft and the stew has thickened and reduced considerably).
9. Serve in warm soup bowls with roughly chopped parsley on top and salt and pepper on the side.
Note: This makes a LOT of lamb stew, so be prepared to feed friends or eat it for the week. It did take about 2 1/2 hours for mine to reduce down, and it was well worth the wait!