Tuscan Lamb Stew, More One Pot Decadence.
Still along the Nonna trajectory comes this behemoth of a one-pot-wonder; bags of flavour, decadent slow cooking and quintessentially hearty. I think what I like best about slow cook braises is the anticipation. As the house fills with the smell of the stew, it takes more and more resistance to wait for the meat to become irresistibly tender, and the flavours of the “juice” to truly come together in a way that is more akin to a symphony than simply eating. Although quite similar to many wine based braises, what sets this truly apart is the addidtion of the beans, which add that richness to the dish as well as the use of actual tomatoes instead of passata or tomato paste which definitely ads something in terms of texture and alters the flavour profile somewhat. You’ll find the recipe after the jump.
500g of lamb shoulder meat, cut into cubes
Any piece of lamb bone, like the shank (no necessary, but a great addition)
Some all purpose flour to dredge
3 slices of good quality pancetta or beef speck
1 medium onion chopped finely
2 small carrots peeled and chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with the blade of a knife
A pinch of dried chili flakes
1 tbsp of butter
A sprig of fresh rosemary (can be chopped or whole)
250-300g of peeled, deseeded tomatoes (feel free to use tinned)
1/2 of good full bodied red wine
150g of chicken stock
1-2 tsp of sugar
200g of cannellini beans
Freshly grated Pecorino cheese
Freshly chopped parsley as garnish
1 generous squeeze of a lemon
In a thick bottom pot over a high heat, warm up some olive oil, and add the lamb and bone after dredging in flour. Brown the meat on all sides (10-15m) and set aside reserving all juices that might escape the meat as it waits.
Lower the heat to medium high, add the butter, and once melted, sweat away the carrots, onions, garlic, chili and pancetta. As the vegetables soften (about 5mins) add the wine to deglaze the pan by scraping all the tasty bits that may have stuck on the bottom. Add back the lamb, the tomatoes, the rosemary and the stock.
Bring everything to a boil and then lower the heat to a nice simmer and cover to cook for a nice long time, add one tsp of sugar and then adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Remember, it’s going to take at least an hour and a half before the flavours start to gel.
Check on the braise every half hour or so and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Once it’s been cooking for about 2 hours, remove the lid and add the beans and leave to cook for another 30-45mins. By now the braise must be delicious and the lamb can be taken apart with a spoon.
Your braise is ready to serve. Sprinkle amply with Pecorino cheese and garnish with the parsley, now you can dig in and enjoy!