As some of you may know, I have a difficult relationship with lamb.
I won’t make a secret of it.
To me, lamb is greasy and normally has an aftertaste reminiscent of antifreeze.
It’s not just that I have had a lot of bad lamb – and I have. Really, really bad lamb.
It doesn’t even begin to approach edibility unless a very fresh chop with mint jelly but do I get it? NOOOOOOOOooooooooOOOOOOO!
I always seem to end up with a piece of lamb that is either about to go bad or is several weeks past its “Best By” date.
Needless to say, I avoid it like the plague.
Then, there was the bride who insisted on lamb stew at her wedding.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t prefer something fancier like coq au vin? Or a nice souffle?”
“My grandmother always loved it.” she said brightly.
“How about duck under glass?” I hazarded.
“And she had the best recipe!” continued the bride to be.
Desperately, I added, “What about lobster bisque?”
“I’ll send you her recipe!” she waved as she left.
My heart sank as I opened the envelope.
Attached, please find a copy of my Grandma Jean’s recipe for lamb stew.
I look forward to the tasting!
Hmmm. The recipe looked oooo-kay. Nothing overly complicated but there were some odd notes:
“Use rough cuts of lamb meat”
“The worst cuts make the best stew”
“If it tastes greasy, add rice flour.” Kinda odd that one.
The recipe seemed completely counter-intuitive. For example, “Add the raw chunks to rapidly boiling water.” To me, this seemed sure to completely drain the flavor and to leave a mush.
“I always use shredded carrots when making my stew.” Yet another way to end up with a bowl of expensive pseudo-oatmeal.
“Make sure to add some Budweiser before cooking” Budweiser?
“I alway try to add some Seven Seas Italian Dressing to make it POP!” Yeahhhhhhnnnnooooooo.
Hubris…just plain hubris.
I was determined to do it right.
First, I got the finest lamb chops I could find and cubed them, then marinated the meat overnight in some red wine.
Flash frying the meat just to lightly brown it, I popped it into pan on a light boil with a mixture of water and stout ale. Heirloom carrots, golden potatoes and spices to create a broth was next. Then, slowly simmer to thicken.
Even I would have eaten THAT.
Of course, she hated it.
At the test dinner, she literally spit it out.
“This tastes like shit! Grandma’s recipe was so much better.”
I was crushed.
Ah well. Rice flour and Bud was it!
THAT she loved.
It was her wedding after all.
NOW LET’S DO IT RIGHT!
Mike’s Special Lamb Stew
- 2 lbs. lamb chop, cubed
- 1 lb. lamb stew meat, rough cut
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 tbsps. flour
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 cups Irish Stout
- 4 small golden potatoes
- 1/2 lb. heirloom carrots
- 1/2 lb. peas
- four large radishes
- fresh thyme
- fresh parsley
- Kosher flake salt
- Pepper, freshly ground
- SECRET INGREDIENT:
- 1 lb. BACON
- Start by cubing the lamb chops and covering them with red wine. Marinate overnight.
- Chopped the stewing meat and place it in a stew pan. Add 2 quarts water and lightly boil.
- Remove the stew meat from the pan after all fat has been melted. Give the meat to your dogs.
- To the pan, add the Irish Stout.
- Chop the potatoes,carrots and radishes and add as well.
- In a frying pan, fry up the bacon and add the onion.
- It is up to you whether you wish to keep the bacon or remove it and just use the grease.
- Dredge the marinated meat in the flour and lightly brown in the hot bacon grease.
- Add the lamb pieces to the stew and simmer. Also, pour in the marinade from the red wine if desired.
- Add the spices to taste.
- Add flour if needed to thicken.
- Serve and enjoy! Serves six.
COPYRIGHT 2016 Micheal J. Hobbs