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.