Friday, 1 June 2012

Spring Lamb Stew (Stews aren't just for winter)

AND you get 3 of your five a day...
Don't be put off by the word stew in the title. This is the most heavenly light concoction imaginable, yes it's a stew and yes there is red meat but this is super light and flavoursome, with a sort of herby broth that the lamb sits in, with it's pea and asparagus friends bringing the humble stew out of it's heavy comfort zone and into one of refreshment and delicate flavour. The lamb provides so much flavour and the freshness of the lemon zest and tarragon really let it sing.

Feeds four. In a casserole dish, brown 500g of diced lamb in a splash of olive oil (neck is good for this). Remove and set aside. Now gently fry a large sliced onion and a couple of peeled and diced carrots until slightly softened. Add a glass of white wine (one for the stew, one for chef) and let it reduce down to half. Tie together five sprigs of thyme, a small handful of parsley stalks (you use the leaves later) and two bay leaves and add to pan. I didn't have any string so just bunged it all in. Return the meat and any juices to the pan, season really well and add enough water to nearly cover the meat. Cover and simmer gently for about an hour. At this point check the meat, it needs to be really soft and tender, if not it needs longer, and if it's drying out a bit just add more water. When the meat is 10 minutes off being perfect throw in a big handful of peas, frozen or fresh. 5 minutes later add a big bunch of asparagus, woody ends snapped off and cut diagonally into little pieces. Stir well and give it a final 5 minutes. Chop up the parsley leaves from earlier,  a handful of fresh tarragon, two fat garlic cloves and zest of one lemon. Add half of this to the pan, stir well, serve up, and sprinkle the rest over the bowls to serve. Great with cous cous (none of the lovely juices are wasted) but potatoes, gnocchi, anything would be good.

Eat while watching the rain come down and lament our interesting weather. At least you can eat like it's summer.


  1. I'm watching the rain come down now, wishing for some of that stew. What is it with the sun?! It was all summer and barbecues a week ago!

  2. Shu Han I know!!! This stew is a good compromise though, light and flavoursome, but still like a little cuddle in this crap weather. Mind you, the sun seems to have made an appearance today! Whoop!