Sunday, January 24, 2016

Warm Lamb Stew for a Cold Winter Night

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Considering the blizzard conditions that have buried moat of the east coast, I should have posted my tips for eating in a power outage Friday! Unusually, while my sister and brother and their families are up to their waists in snow, it's been clear and dry here in Maine. However, it's been wicked cold (as we like to say;) the kind of weather that makes you want to sit close to the fire and have something warm and filling for dinner. You also want to have leftovers for lunch the next day, so that means...stew!

(I believe stew may be the best part of winter. I don't know if I'll ever be able to be a snowbird, because can you eat stew in Key West when it's in the 70s?)

This is the lamb stew recipe Ross used when we had four friends over for dinner last week. I also made a pot of my butternut squash soup, and with bread, we all ate our fill. However, there was no stew left over, which made Ross smirk a little. It is even better the second day. 

1-1/2 lbs lamb stew meat (we get boneless leg o' lamb and cube it ourselves, which saves some $)
2 T olive oil, divided
3 large onions, quartered
4-5 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
5-6 potatoes, peeled and cubed (if using red or yellow potatoes, no need to peel them)
1 can (14-1/2 oz) low-sodium beef broth (we wound up using extra to stretch the recipe.)
1 t salt (this is in the original recipe, but we use a salt substitute, because HBP)
½ t pepper
2 T butter
2 T flour
3 t parsley, ½ that if you have fresh, which we didn't
3 t minced chives (we substituted chopped small leeks, can also use green onions)
1 t thyme, ½ again, if you're the kind of black belt cook who has little pots of herbs growing in your kitchen all winter

Heat oven to 350F.

In a dutch oven (we used our Le Creuset casserole pot) brown the lamb in 1T of the oil until you can't see any pink. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Saute the onions and carrots with the rest of the oil, then add the potatoes, lamb, salt (substitute) and pepper and finally, the broth.

Cover and bake in oven for 50-60 minutes, until everything is fork-tender. (This was really useful: it freed up the stovetop so I could make my soup without bumping into another large pot.)

Remove the lamb and veg into one bowl and the juices into another, You're going to be whisking them back in, so I suggest a large measuring cup or bowl with a lip.

Melt the butter in the dutch oven and whisk in the flour to make a roux. Slowly pour in the juices, whisking to keep it smooth. If you want to stretch the stew, add more butter and flour and more broth.

Stir in the rest of the seasonings and the lamb/veg. Dish it up! We served our meal with a Côtes du Rhône for the stew and a Prosecco for the squash soup, but this is a traditional British Isles kind of stew, and goes well with beer, too.


  1. This stew sounds positively delicious; thanks for sharing the recipe . . . it's just the sort of meal we need, what with a good two feet of snow covering the ground.

  2. Love the soups and stews and wine! You asked: can you eat stew in Key West when it's in the 70s? I don't know about Key West, but when it is 70 degrees in Honolulu, that's chilly weather and soups are quite welcome. That said, I am praying for all the people in the storm centers of the mainland this weekend.

  3. Julia, that sounds so yummy. Actually made me look forward to getting home from London and cooking!

    Could you give us the butternut squash soup recipe, too?

  4. This looks delicious, Julia. Preparing for the storm here, I made ginger snaps and spicy sesame peanut noodles with chicken and cucumber, red pepper, carrot, scallion on top. We got about 5" - our poor kids and Susan (Susan!) in Brooklyn got over 2 feet. There's nowhere to put that much snow. We know from last year when it came and kept coming.

  5. I really have to just guess at how much snow we might have gotten. The wind has moved and shifted it and Donald has plowed our driveway umpteen times, but I'm going to just say probably 12 to 15 inches. We had nowhere we needed to be, so we've just been snug as bugs right here eating every kind of baked goodie I could think of to bake. WHY do we get the urge to bake during snow events?? I also made a big pot of veggie beef & barley soup. Now that I've read this recipe for your lamb stew I know what I'll be making later this week - YUM! I do love soups and stews during the winter, for sure.

  6. Very unusually for us, we have only a light covering of snow here in northern Ohio--but still cold and I was just thinking that it was a good day for stew. Love one pot meals, especially the kind where the whole house smells of goodness! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Oh, my goodness..and I do mean GOODNESS! SO YUMMY!

    We got about 5 in chew, too, but the kid lets in Brooklyn were deluged.

    Susan, how are you? How are the DC and VA and PA Reds?

    Stay cozy! Er, traditional...

  8. Sounds delicious. We're cool, but that's all, weather-wise. As a wiseacre said, In Houston we're salting margaritas, not sidewalks. As far as snow, drifts, cold temps: been there, done that. In Ohio and Minnesota.

  9. That sounds and looks delicious, Julia. What a great way to stay warm, breaking bread with good friends over hot, wonderful food. And wine!

    We did not get much snow here, less than two inches, for which I am grateful. But it has been cold, and I made a big pot of vegetable soup last week. Some of it got frozen for another cold day. Money in the bank, in my opinion.

    My favorite thing about the end of January is how the days are noticeably lengthening. There's hope!

  10. Oh, Julia, that stew sounds and looks so delicious! There is really nothing like a good stew in cold weather, snowy or not. Like Debs, I'd love the butternut squash soup recipe, too. We only got 7-8 inches of snow here, and the sun is shining bright today and warmer temps are here. I hope all of our Reds family who were in the path of Jonas are doing well and, most of all, have electricity.

  11. Air conditioning is why those of us down south (south Florida in my case) can enjoy stews year 'round.
    I refuse to give them up!