The weather has gone from autumn brilliant:
to frozen solid with all of the leaves on. We’ve had three lynx on our back deck (I got only one horrible pic), as well as these gorgeous bucks…
…trying to get something to eat through the ice. One wants to know why I’m taking pictures off the ice rink of an upper deck. We spent a couple of lovely days at home working on projects and enjoying cooking time. Ice, ice!
Today’s blog is actually not totally from that cooking weekend, though we began it with a Friday night version of this lovely, original stew, layered with some rice topped with chiffonade of basil and a tish black pepper: I even added some carrots to round the stew out. Another night, we had it with pasta.
I do apologize for the picture, but you get the idea. This is a full-bodied, hearty lamb stew that you could make
1. in the crock-pot,
2. on the stovetop or
3 in the oven if you so choose.
You can eat it just like it is in deep bowls, adding some baguette for dipping. Or, you can freeze a few containers and have them with rice or pasta some other week. Totally up to you.
Lamb-Italian Sausage Stew (Slow Cooker) serves 6-8
In our house in Colorado Springs, the kitchen is two steps up from the sunroom, where I often work at the table, but also have a small television. Many days I’ve left a program on to listen to while I cooked or cleaned up in the kitchen. Sometimes I paid more attention than others. One day, Emeril Lagasse was making a stew with lamb and Italian sausage and beans; that was about all I heard. I didn’t remember any other ingredients or the cooking method, but another day, with those three ingredients in mind, I decided to make a lamb stew in the slow cooker and have been making it ever since.
A hearty meal for the family that could cook all day while you’re skiing, this stew also could be stretched to feed 10 guests, if served over rice or egg noodles. Cooking it on top of the stove works quite well, but you’ll need two or more additional cups of broth or water, since it cooks down. (Stovetop directions included)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds lamb (boneless leg, shoulder, or stew meat), cut into 1-2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
1-pound hot Italian sausage links (4-5 pieces), cut into 1-2-inch pieces
2 medium-large onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon each fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon each dry
6 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 cup red wine
32-ounce can chopped tomatoes
4 cups cooked white beans
- In a large bowl, toss lamb with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add lamb and Italian sausage and cook until well-browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add onions, celery, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook 5-7 minutes until vegetables are softened.
- Add meat mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. Pour in beef broth, wine and tomatoes; stir in drained beans.4
- Cook on low 6-8 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot in warm bowls with crusty bread.
Follow directions above, but cook meat, vegetables, and herbs in an 8-quart pot with a lid. Add broth, tomatoes and wine, along with an additional 2 cups water or broth. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until lamb is tender, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Stir in cooked beans and simmer 10-15 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasonings.
You may use 2-3 cans any variety of white beans, drained, or you may cook your own beans. If cooking your own beans, they don’t need to be completely done when you add them; they’ll cook more with the stew. I like beans cooked in a microwave — they cook through without breaking apart, peeling or becoming mushy. You also can cook them on the stove.
Microwave directions: In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine 2 cups dry white beans, picked over and rinsed, 4 cups water, 1 large onion, halved and with the skin on, 4 cloves garlic with papers, 3 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried and 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Microwave at full-power for about 35 minutes or until tender. Drain beans, remove vegetables and herbs. Season with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt.
From my 2013 book, SOUPS AND SIDES FOR EVERY SEASON.
Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2013. All rights reserved
|Here, I cooked the meat in two pans at once (left and right) to hasten the process.|
There must be a special blessing for eating lamb; it’s so tasty, homey and still elegant. Think of one and post it? We are always so incredibly grateful for such stomach-warming dishes. Particularly when it snows ice for hours on end. Brr.
… … … … … … … … …
Meantime, the weather has broken a tad and I’m in the middle of baking loaf after loaf of pumpkin bread. Pumpkin is a little scarce this year, but I got enough for my bread and for the Thanksgiving pies. Yes, it’s coming!
I’m traveling the next few days. I will put up something new if I can, but might have to wait until early next week. Include me in your prayers for travel mercies?
Sing a new song…
additional pictures added Feb, 2013