OK so I admit that the title of this post sounds like an oxymoron and is even maybe just a tad misleading 😉 I live with someone who is more or less vegetable phobic. So if I made a typical lamb stew with carrots and potatoes in it he would spend his meal picking them out of his bowl. This reality made me ponder the idea of what it would be like to not include vegetables in my lamb stew but rather have them on the side so they could be added by the individual eater or not. So lamb stew even your vegan friends would like is about the fact that there is a roasted root vegetable mélange served on the side which if you were the opposite of Neil and turned off by meat you could just eat the dairy free root vegetables and mashed potatoes (though in truth the mashed new potatoes I made taste way better drowned in butter, but can easily be made with olive oil).
This was made for New Years Eve. I love a good stew and most cooks, like the one we met out at Julius after dinner said with some arrogant disdain: Oh I can make a lamb stew! Indeed it’s not hard. I think this particular iteration of the old-time favorite will provide you with a few new tricks for your next lamb stew. Like the addition of anchovies and porcini mushrooms. Let’s get cooking.
Lamb and Porcini Stew
Cut up 2 1/2 – 3 pounds of lamb stewing meat into bite size chunks,
Generously salt and pepper 3/4 cups of AP Flour in a large bowl and mix well.
In a large stew pot, preferably one with as much surface area as possible, add 1/3 cup of olive oil, over medium high heat,Toss the meat in the flour so that it is well coated, frying in batches, brown all the stewing meat. Remove each batch to a large bowl, when done.While frying slice up 2-3 cups of Onions (red or white or a mixture of whatever you have on hand) and roughly chop 12 cloves of garlic. When the meat has all been browned add the onions and fry until golden but not browned. Add more oil as is needed.
When the onions have started to become golden add the garlic, cook for another 2-3 minutes for the garlic to soften. Stir in 4 anchovy fillets and break down with a wooden spoon, stirring to incorporate for a minute.
Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of dry white wine. Cook down for 2-3 minutes then add the browned meat and all the juices that have been released into the bowl.
Pour enough water into the pan to just cover the meat. Add a teaspoon of salt and a generous grating of black pepper and stir in 1 cup of dried Porcini.Reduce heat to medium/low and let the stew cook at a low simmer for about an hour
You may need to add more water as this cooks. Stir occasionally. Once the meat start to be tender I like to finish it off in the oven at 350 F for the last hour. If you do this you will need to stir it every 20 minutes, maybe adding more water and in the last 20 minutes add in 2 Tablespoons of finely chopped fresh Rosemary.
You can make the stew ahead so the timing of the vegetables is up to you. I would suggest making mashed new potatoes, skin on, cook 2 pounds of potatoes in a pot of salted water and when soft drain and smash with 4-8 tablespoons of butter and generously season with salt and pepper.
Parsnips and Carrots can be tossed with a splash of olive oil and roasted while the stew is being finished off in the oven. Or if you make the stew a day before simply make the root vegetables about 45 minutes before you eat and warm up the stew on the stove-top.
You can also roast potatoes instead of mashing them or get rid of them altogether and make polenta. It’s a very versatile dish! Oh and I almost forgot: roasted Cipollini onions! Toss 8-12 of them in with the other vegetables and roast until nicely browned on both sides – about 45 minutes. Unlike the root vegetables I recommend stirring these directly into the stew.
Or you prefer you can just leave the stew on the stove top.
A long slow cooking is best for this stew, when done the lamb meat should break apart with a spoon. Before serving taste for seasoning, it will need more salt and pepper, stir in 1/2 cup of chopped parsley and another Tablespoon of 2 of fresh Rosemary and enjoy!