Friday, March 2, 2012

Italian Lamb and White Bean Stew with Greens


 

This recipe is a great way to introduce lamb to your kids and friends who perhaps have not tried it before. Lamb and white beans are a classic Italian combination. This stew can serve from 4 to 8 people by extending it with extra beans. I have added kale for texture and health but you could use any greens available (frozen spinach works if that is all you have available). If you leave out the potatoes, it makes a nice sauce over gnocchi or pasta. 

1 pound lamb stew meat
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken or lamb stock
    or red or white wine
1 - 14 oz. can of tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cans white beans
2 stalks celery chopped into 1/4” pieces
4 large carrots peeled and sliced
2 potatoes
1/2 bunch kale
    or 10 oz. box of frozen spinach

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Peel and mince garlic. Chop onions into small dice. Heat olive oil in a lidded dutch oven. Brown onions and garlic taking care not to burn the garlic. Add lamb stew meat and brown lamb on all sides. Drain off excess fat.  Add the can of tomatoes, the stock or wine, bay leaves, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Place in a 250 degree oven and cook covered for 2 to 3 hours or over a very low heat on top of your stove. (Alternately, use a slow cooker.) The lamb should be falling apart. Skim fat off top of liquid. (If you do this the day ahead, chill the stock and the fat can be removed easily.)

Peel and chop carrots diagonally so they remain largish. Peel and chop the potatoes into 1 inch chunks. Remove the stems from the kale. Chop the kale into slivers about 1/2” wide. Add all veggies (except for canned white beans) to lidded pot, adding extra water if it is too dry and there is danger of it burning. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are to your liking. Add the drained white beans and cook until they are warmed through.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a little grated parmesan. If you have leftovers, add a little extra stock and use as a pasta sauce.


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