Thursday, January 10, 2013

Osso Buco Stew (with Lamb)

A friend of mine recently wrote a great article about how being a carnivore feels so old-fashioned and taboo these days.  Like we're doing something baaaaad by eating meat, something equivalent to not recycling or using incandescent bulbs or sending our children to school with their lunch items packed in----gasp!---Zip-lock bags. We post meat-containing recipes almost surreptitiously, fearing the Vegan Police will come beating on our doors in the middle of the night, forcing us to surrender all items in our fridges that are wrapped in butcher paper. 
And while a great majority of the things I prepare are vegetarian, I like meat.  Mostly chicken, but also lamb and a good cut of beef now and then.

And I like stew, even when I accidentally ask the butcher to do the wrong thing with the meat.

I had intended to make osso buco.  

Osso Buco literally means "bone with a hole in it" and refers to the marrow hole when a veal or lamb shank (leg) is cross-cut, like this:
photo source:  Wikimedia Commons

I called the butcher and asked him if he had any lamb shanks.  He did.  I told him what I wanted but didn't describe it well enough.  When I arrived to pick it up, he had cut the leg into pieces of stew meat and had thrown the bone away.  Oh well.  I decided to make lamb stew instead of lamb Osso Buco.  But I used a recipe for osso buco and fiddled with the preparation methods a bit, hence the name of this recipe.  It was a mouth-watering success.

There are few kitchen tasks more pleasurable to me than browning meat.  I love the process, the scents, the sounds, the promise of what's to come.

When making anything that requires a lengthy simmering time, I cut veggies into larger pieces to ensure they don't turn to complete mush after cooking for several hours.

This is perfect for a winter dinner party with friends.  The recipe makes 6 very generous servings.  Add in some crusty French bread and a green leafy salad, and you have a soul-warming supper perfectly suited to share with people you love.

Printable Recipe

Osso Buco Stew (with Lamb)
Makes 6 generous portions

1/2 cup unbleached flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning meat
2 pounds of lamb stew meat (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 stick unsalted butter
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
6 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1/2-inch thick pieces)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28-ounce) can of Italian whole plum tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup red wine
3 cups beef or lamb stock (to make your own, just substitute this recipe with lamb or beef bones)
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (if desired)
Grated zest of lemon, for garnish (if desired)

Place the flour in a shallow container or on a large plate.  Season the flour with salt and pepper.  Coat all sides of the stew meat in the flour (this is called "dredging").    Set dredged stew meat aside.

In a large Dutch oven or casserole (or something that can transfer from the burners to the oven), heat the oil and butter together until butter is sizzling and has melted.  Increase heat to medium-high and sear the lamb meat, browning well on all sides.  (Unless your Dutch oven is gigantic, you may have to brown the meat in several batches.)  Transfer browned meat to a paper towel to drain and set aside. 

After all meat has been browned and removed from Dutch oven, add onions, garlic, carrots, basil and oregano to Dutch oven.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Be sure to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot; they add great flavor to the stew.  

To the Dutch oven, add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 10 minutes.  Skim excess fat.

Add wine to tomatoes and other vegetables. Bring to a boil.  Once the liquid is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Return the browned meat to the Dutch oven.  Add enough beef or lamb stock just to cover the meat.  (Depending on the size of your Dutch oven, it may require more or less than 3 cups.)  Cover Dutch oven and bake for 1 and 1/2 hours.  Remove lid and bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes, until meat is very tender.  (If you want the sauce to thicken further, transfer the Dutch oven back to the burners and cook, uncovered, for an additional 10-15 minutes.  This will cause the sauce to reduce and thicken.)

To serve, sprinkle with chopped parsley and lemon zest, if desired. 

Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook


Cathy M~(checkitoff) said...

I am drooling on my laptop.....yum!!! I love how your great sense of humor peppers your posts!!! I love meat, too, but try to be healthy! Thanks again, Gin!! hugs, cathy