Lamb Stew

  • 1 5lb boneless leg of lamb
  • Fine sea salt or koshersalt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Achiote Oil
  • 1/4 cup canola oil, or as needed
  • 5 stalks celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 large Spanish onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 7 cups beef broth, homemade or store-bought (or lamb stock if you have it)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 3 potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups diced celery root
  • 1 cup green peas, frozen or fresh (cook fresh peas in boiling water for 2 minutes before using)

Makes 10 to 15 servings, as part of a larger meal

Trim the excess fat and sliver skin from the leg of lamb. Cut the meat into cube of 1 inch, tossing them into a large bowl as you go. Season thelamb with salt and pepper, drizzle cooled ahiote oil over it and toss to coat.

Heat 1/4 cup of canola oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add as much of the seasoned lamb as fits in the pan without touching. Cook, turning, until lightly brown. Remove to a bowl as they are done and replace with more lamb. Adjust the heat throughout so the little brown bits that stick to the pan don’t burn.

When all the meat has been browned and removed, check to make sure that you have at least two tablespoons of oil left in the skillet. Add more canola oil if necessary. Over the same medium-high heat, add the roughly cut celery, carrots, onion as well as the farlic, thyme, bay leaves and cloves. Cook, scraping up any bits that have formed at the bottom of the pan until the vegetables start to caremelize and are fragrant.

Add the tomato paste, reduce the heat to medium-low and stir to coat the vegtables. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the tomato paste from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, reduce the heat to very low, and cook, stirring constantly for a few minutes until the flour is well incorporated and no white remains.

Pour in brandy, increase the heat to high, and scrape up any bits that remain on the bottom of the pan. Boil until the brandy has almost completely evaporated, then stir in the broth. Bring to a boil and then adjust the heat so the sauce is simmering. Cook for 30 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the top. Strain the sauce and wipe out the Dutch oven.

Place the meat and the strained sauce in the Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat so the sauce is simmering and cook for 45 minutes.

Add the carrot rounds and the celery root and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the potatoes. Check the potatoed for doneness after 10 to 15 minutes. When the potatoes are tender, stir in the peas and cook just long enough to warm through, about 2 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if you like.


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