Thursday, February 7, 2008

Basque Lamb Stew

Growing up, I had the good fortune of visiting grandparents who made their home on a Ranch. I have wonderful memories of exploring acres and acres of land filled with cows, sheep, chickens, a glorious garden, a fresh spring, a creek filled with crystal rocks and fools gold, and a mad rooster. But most of all, I remember Grandma's home cookin'. She always had a fresh fruit pie baking, and more often than not, we had roasted lamb for dinner. Nothing super fancy... just slow roasted lamb that was so tender it fell apart in your mouth before you had a chance to chew it.

Peter's post today over on the wonderful Greek food blog Kalofagas got me thinking about my time spent at the Ranch. Peter posted about a delicious dish called Lamb Fricasee with Avgolemeno. As soon as I finished reading his post, I decided that we were going to have lamb for dinner: Basque Lamb Stew (it's been in my to-try pile for a very long time). This is a lightly spicy stew from the Basque country, a region with its own language, culture and cuisine that lies adjacent to the Atlantic coastal areas of southwestern France and northern Spain. And while it's not Greek, I give credit to Peter for bringing back those memories of Grandma's cooking and helping me decide what to put on the table tonight!

I high-tailed it to the store, determined to find some decent lamb stew meat. Task accomplished and home to prepare, here's the how-to:

The stew recipe that I followed is simplistic- marinate with wine, garlic and rosemary. I like to throw it all in a freezer zip. The meat gets maximum coverage and you can use your fingers to move the marinade around. Flip the bag a few times. I let this marinate for a few hours (chilled.)

Begin preparing your stew about 3 hours before serving time. Brown the lamb well on all sides. Add onions, garlic, salt and pepper & cook 'till onions become tender.

Add sweet paprika, roasted peppers, parsley, tomatoes, a bay leaf, chicken broth and some red wine. Then you can let this simmer for about 2 1/2 hours, until the lamb is tender (like Grandma's.)

I had high hopes for this lamb. Would it be as tender as the lamb I so fondly remember?

Absolutely. It was a very good, very tender, meaty stew. Not a potato and carrot-filled kinda stew, but it was meaty and flavorful and wonderfully comforting on a chilly day. I daresay this Basque Lamb Stew might also be nice over some butter & parsley noodles. The family enjoyed the dish, and I was able to draw out cherished childhood memories of lamb on the Ranch (and share those memories with my family during dinner.) Thanks Peter!

This recipe can be found HERE.


Peter M said...

Lori, ya did lamb proud! The ingredients sound wonderful, especially the roasted red peppers and bay leaf makes everything taste better.

Thank you for the mention and thank you for blogging, I will visit often.

RecipeGirl said...

Hi Peter,

You found me! Thanks for the response, and you're welcome. Now I'll have to try the Greek lamb :)

Tempered Woman said...

I saw the pic on tastespotting and had to check it out. Great Basque recipe! Too many veggies would have taken away from being tru Basque. They rely more on the wine and garlic for simple flavor that lets the meat really shine through ;-) I really like this~ great idea!

Ali said...

Yum!! All of this looks delicious. Especially those vanilla apples below. I may have to try this for my husband on Valentine's Day. I think it would be great for breakfast. And, don't worry, you don't sound like Paula Dean at all ... she would have topped it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled chocolate sauce all over it and then sprinkled it with powdered sugar. I thought I had seen it all when I saw her deep fry pound cake. No, that wasn't enough, she doused the little nuggets with chocolate sauce and sugar. It was ridiculous.

Anyway, your blog is such fun! I've placed a link to it on my blog under "Fun Food Blogs" and will check in often. Thanks for finding me!


Aimée said...

Sounds like you have some wonderful memories from your grandparent's ranch. I love lamb and this stew looks like the perfect antidote to our Canadian winter!