We're all set! The last of the Thankgiving turkey made an appearance at the dinner table in the face of a casserole and that means, it's done. I don't think I'm alone in that by day 4 after Thanksgiving the sentiment around the table is, it's "enough with the turkey already"!.
Which brings us to this factoid. We’re nutters for lamb in our family.
We crave spring goat when we do our Punjabi dishes and crave lamb for our stews, roasts and everything in between.
Nothing screams a hearty cool weather meal to me than a pot of lamb stew simmer on the stove top. It brings the point home when I look outside my window and all I see is rain with temps at 36 deg F. Like I said, cool cool weather.
So when my bright red Emile Henry Brazier makes an appearance on the counter top, the boys know something good is in the works.
Every winter, I do a little trot around the globe with my lamb – Irish stew, French Stew and of course all manner of Italian stews. When I don’t want to fuss around the kitchen, I tend to headstraight for my Italian recipe. It hardly requires an involved prep work and once you get the lid on, you’re nearly there….an hour and half later of course!
Sicilian lamb stew is lovely in that it is cooked with saffron. What’s not to love?!
But this herb lamb recipe from Molise is lovely in that it involves mashing up anchovies in a bowl along with loads of fresh sage, rosemary and garlic and olive oil. It is then sautéed in a little olive oil until fragrant with red onions and finally the lamb. A splash of wine and water with a lid…and an hour and a half or so later, a fantastic dinner is done!
And while the stew simmer away, curl up on the couch with a glass of vino, a good book, a cuddly blankey and the rest will follow.
What say you?
Lamb Spezzatino from Molise
Shopping list / serves 4-6
4-5 lbs Australian boneless leg of lamb
2 tbs olive oil
4 anchovy fillets
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large sprig fresh Rosemary (to yield 2 tbs leaves)
¼ cup packed fresh Sage leaves
2 tbs lard
2 medium Spanish red onions (to yield 2 cups, ½” dice)
2 tbs tomato paste
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1-1/2 cup dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio
4 cups water
Lamb: Use a sharp fillet knife (bring out your Wusthof!) and cut away the skin and fat. Cut into 1-1/2” cubes and set aside.
Onions: Peel, discard ends and skin and cut into ½”diced pieces
Garlic: Crush and finely chop
Sage: Roll together and cut into slivers (chiffonade)
Rosemary: Strip the leaves from the stalk and finely chop
In a mixing bowl, add the olive oil, anchovies, garlic, sage and rosemary leaves. Crush all together to release the flavors and juices.
Heat a large 10-12” heavy bottom flat pan or dutch oven, heat the lard on medium-high heat.
Add the herb mixture above and saute for a few minutes until fragrant. Do not allow the herbs to brown.
Add the onions and ½ tsp salt and saute for 5-7 minutes until the onions have softened.
Add the lamb, remaining salt and pepper and sauté for about 10 minutes or so until the lamb goes from red to opaque.
Add the tomato paste wine & water and bring to a heavy simmer.
Cover with a lid, leaving a very narrow opening allowing the steam to escape. On medium-low heat, cook for about 1 hour or more until the lamb is very tender and soft.
Remove the lid and allow some of the soup to evaporate for about 10 minutes or so so it slightly thickens.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve in bowls with lamb pieces and plenty of soup.