Ah stew, what could be more comforting than a big bowl of homely goodness. My go to stew has always been the somewhat well known steak and Guinness variety, thanks in no small part to my appearance on TV3’s Angelina’s Home Cooks. Earlier this week I really, really wanted stew and didn’t have the required ingredients. I stuck my head in the fridge and saw some diced shoulder of lamb. (It was very fatty but that’s not a bad thing, it just needs to be cooked with love and and understanding). Alongside the lamb was a small turnip and half a red pepper. I had onions and garlic (always have these on hand) and rather miraculously, half a bottle of red wine had been left over from the weekend. I had no fresh herbs so I rummaged in the presses and found some dried herbs de Provence. Now dried herbs get a bad rap but I really believe that some herbs dry out better than others and I think the Rosemary in this particular blend works really well. Once I had recovered from the shock of the wine being left over, I came up with this recipe and it was indeed, very tasty. The turnip surprised me no end; I’ve long been viewed it as a frumpy, boring, Birkenstock wearing type of vegetable but this stew really got it going. It transfomed it into the fun loving, twerking, life and soul of the party! It’s earthiness absorbed the gorgeous unctuous rendered fat from the lamb and the aroma of the herbs too. Slow cooking is key, though. It takes time to turn the fatty lamb into gorgeous, melt in your mouth meat. I served the stew with buttery mash but it would be great with boiled spuds too.
Ingredients for 4 hearty portions:
400g diced shoulder of lamb
2 tablespoons flour
3 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped/minced
half a red pepper, diced
3 bay leaves
1 heaped tablespoon dried Herbs de Provence
750mls chicken stock
300mls red wine
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 small turnip, cut into small dice sized cubes
2 tablespoons oil and a large knob of butter
- In a large, heavy based pot on medium heat, melt the oil and butter. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Dust the lamb with the flour and season with salt and black pepper. Add the lamb to the pot and brown, turning to colour each side after a couple of minutes.
- Add the red pepper and turnip and sauté on the pan for a minute before adding the stock, tomato purée, herbs, red wine and bay leaves.
- Bring to a boil and then slow cook on a low heat for at least 2 and a half hours, stirring occasionally.
- The stew is cooked when the meat breaks very easily. If you need to thicken it a little, mix a tablespoon of cornflour in a little water in a cup. Add this to the stew and stir through. This stew is great to make ahead of time; it tastes even better the next day!