On Monday, Squeaky came in with a mouthwatering Julia Child boeuf bourguignon that Calimocho had slaved over while we were out making jewelry on the previous Sunday afternoon. It was so wonderful that it set up a craving in me after just one taste. And no wonder when it's made with almost a whole bottle of red wine!
That memorable mouthful stayed with me all afternoon and inspired me to create this equally tastilicious lamb casserole after work. It's a recipe adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks, The Food of Italy.
I also supported local business in buying the lamb, veggies and tomato sauce from my neighbourhood butcher, fresh food market and Italian grocery store, instead of my usual big box StupidStore.
And for the first time I used my new Le Creuset! Doesn't it look great in the picture?
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Spicy Lamb Casserole
2 Tbsp olive oil
500 grams (1 lb) lamb, cut into cubes about 1.5 inches each
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C red wine
1/2 tsp dried red chilli flakes
1 Tbsp crushed juniper berries
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock (or 1 stock and 1 water)
1 whole rosemary sprig
package of cipollini onions
5 small potatoes, cut into cubes
handful of fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Heat the oil in a large pot that can go from stovetop to oven or, if you don't have one, a stock pot (which I did because I didn't realize at first that this had to go in the oven). Salt and pepper
the lamb cubes and brown them in batches over high heat (about level six or seven). Remove the lamb and set aside.
Add more oil in the pan if you need to and fry the onion and garlic. Reduce the heat and cook for about five minutes.
Return the lamb to the pan. Pour in the wine and scrape up all the caramelized bits sticking to the pan. Reduce the liquid by half. Add the chilli and juniper and cook for about 30 seconds.
Add the tomato paste, rosemary and chicken stock/water, or just enough liquid to cover.
Transfer the stew to an ovenproof casserole dish at this point if you started with a stock pot.
Bake covered for 40 minutes. Add the onions and potatoes and cook for another 40 minutes, covered. Stir in the fresh parsley just before serving.
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