Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lamb Stew with Dill and Root Vegetables

Yesterday was the first time I cooked with dill. Handling the delicate, feathery herb is such a pleasure, even when you're frantically stripping fronds from stems because you forgot to add the latter to the cooking lamb. Gathering up the loose cupful of leaves to chop tickled my palms and fingertips; the delicate, fresh scent brought back memories of a summer night in Portland and the mild, gentle Bloody Dane I had there.

Herewith, the recipe I used last night - a riff on one of Bittman's riffs. While the stew turned out a tad soupy, it tastes good - lightly flavorful, but filling - and will probably taste even better tomorrow. I can also reduce the sauce a bit later on.
  • 3 lbs. lamb shoulder, cut into 2-in. chunks (original: 2 lbs.)
  • 1-2 tbsp. oil (used vegetable, because that was closest to hand - original recipe doesn't call for browning)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (original: 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 5 carrots, cut into 1-1/2 in. chunks (about 1-1/2 lbs.; original calls for about 3 lbs. of any combination of root vegetables)
  • 3 potatoes, cut into 1-1/2 in. chunks (another 1-1/2 lbs. or so)
  • 2 cups of liquid (used a low-sodium beef broth this time; may use less next time)
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Brown lamb chunks in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Remove and set aside.

Deglaze pot (I used a wee bit of cider vinegar and some broth, this time).

Strip the the leaves from a bunch of dill. Tie the stems together. Chop the leaves and set them aside.

Return meat to pot along with onions and dill stems. Season with salt and pepper, then add liquid. Bring to a boil, then cover, turn to low, and simmer till lamb is getting tender (about 60 min. in my case, but then again we were also playing Borderlands).

Add the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat till they're tender but not mushy - about 30-40 min., in this case.

When everything's done, stir in the dill. Correct seasoning, if necessary.

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