The seasons are changing slowly but surely here in Raleigh. My poor lonely sweaters are coming out of hiding, the AC is finally off, and I saw the first of fall colors outside of my window this weekend. More importantly, it’s time for heavy, meaty, stick-to-your-ribs food. After my culinary de-pantsing that was my Ratatouille, I needed something a little easier, but tasty. I was a little bummed that my last attempt turned out so bad, but I didn’t want to fall back on old “well, I can always get takeout” habits. It was time for the beginner cook’s secret weapon, STEW!
Tony refuses to give up on home-cooked lamb, so we bought some lamb shoulder for the stew. I should have asked my Mom for her recipe, but this one is pretty close: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Irish-Style-Lamb-Stew/Detail.aspx. This was another chop and throw together kind of recipe, most of the work was chopping up celery, carrots, potatoes, and parsley. One special ingredient I added was about 1/3 of a bottle of beer for some kick. Plus, you get to drink the other 2/3, so everyone wins!!
I cooked the stew in a glass casserole dish for about 90 minutes, the recipe says you can cook for up to two hours, but I think you’d end up with overcooked and mushy veggies. Plus, the lamb was nice and tender, additonal time might toughen it up a little. The best part was the smell, it was so warm and inviting, it’s almost a shame to take out of the oven.
I was pretty happy with how it turned out, it reminded me a lot of the stew my Mom would cook. Plus, I like the taste that cooking in the parsley brought to the dish, it’s a nice green flavor amid the savoriness. My only complaint is that I would like it to be a little thicker. Maybe starting with a roux would help? Then again, it’s nice that it’s so simple. I want to tackle ceviches or roulades, but I’m pretty proud of a good stew done simple and right as well. It was a good way to get my confidence back up in the kitchen. So watch out, Julia’s ready to take the kitchen on again!