I love the process of making stew almost as much as eating it. A simple preparation of ingredients, and the rest of the work is done in the oven as it slowly cooks while I go about my day. The meat becomes fall-apart-tender, and wonderful things happen with flavour as everything cooks together. I prefer my stew fairly basic, nothing too exotic…with a lot of mushrooms. Pillowy soft dumplings on top are an absolute dream, thanks to the recipe from Dinner with Julie which I borrowed with a couple of minor adjustments.
I get this glowy feeling when I leave something to stew on its own all day. I just know magical things are happening as the flavours meld together and the connective tissue in the meat breaks down, becoming so tender. It all started as I gathered the ingredients and saw how beautiful they looked in the morning light.
Okay, so I next to never gather and arrange the ingredients like this. It’s usually more like I am flying around the kitchen with all the cupboards and fridge open grabbing things as I need them while I cook. This was purely for photographic reasons. I wanted to share what I was doing that day on Facebook. Seeing everything together like this gave me such a sense of gratitude to have such wonderful bounty to create with. I knew it was the start of something good.
That feeling of gratitude carried through the rest of the day. I prepped all of the ingredients while baby napped, and he woke just as I placed the stew in the oven. A giant mess remained, but that could be dealt with later. Off we went, for a nice long walk with the sun shining extra bright against the snow. Tons of other people out with their dogs enjoying the same, making for some tired doggos in the neighbourhood. Walking, thinking about the good things happening in the oven at home inspired some poetry in me…a haiku. Haikus just tickle me.
“stewing so slowly
I excitedly await
a marriage of yum”
I think I’m going to have to do more of those. After this, it was off to catch up with a good friend at a new market in the area. Filled up the growler with a new Ol’ Beautiful brew which was inspired by a Negroni cocktail (cool, right?!). By this time, I needed to high tail it back home to pull it out of the oven and finish off the dumplings while it was still light out so I could get a decent photo. It all worked out and tasted better than I could have imagined. The Negroni beer was great, but not sure I’d want more than a pint of it. We all enjoyed stew that night, including the little Wild Man, bellies full and spirits high.Print
This rich, nourishing lamb stew is easy to prepare, and your oven will do most of the work. The pillowy soft dumplings are adapted from Dinner with Julie, using a little more salt and honey instead of sugar.
For the Stew:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 lbs lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 1 inch size pieces
6-8 cups of broth (lamb, beef, or chicken) – find my Savoury Beef Bone Broth recipe here
8-10 cloves of garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1 heaping tablespoon sweet paprika
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
4 small onions, cut into quarters
4 large carrots, peeled and diced 1/2 inch thick
4 celery stalks, diced 1/2 inch thick
12 white or cremini mushrooms, cut into quarters
1.5 lbs baby creamer potatoes, halved or quartered
2 dates, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Salt & pepper (see note)
Garnish with parsley (optional)
For the Dumplings:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 handful parsley, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Season lamb generously with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Sear lamb pieces until brown on all sides. Ensure the pieces are spaced out, otherwise they will steam and not brown properly. You will likely need to do this in at least a few batches, setting the seared pieces aside.
Once the lamb is finished searing, reduce heat to medium. Add 1/4 cup of the broth to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add garlic, paprika, tomato paste, and rosemary. Sauté for 1 minute. Add onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, and potatoes. Sauté for another 3-5 minutes.
Add the lamb, and more broth until the ingredients are just covered. Add thyme and diced dates (if they are stuck together, no worries, as they should break apart while the stew is cooking).
Place in the oven uncovered for about 5 hours, stirring once or twice part way through. Add salt and pepper to taste (I did this about an hour in, and adjusted once more at the end of cooking).
Once the stew is done, the vegetables will be cooked through, and the meat should be fall apart tender. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
Making the dumplings:
Increase oven heat to 350°F.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, parsley, baking powder, and salt.
Whisk 1 cup of whipping cream and honey together in a small bowl. Add the cream/honey mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until the dough comes together. Add more cream if necessary, only 2 tablespoons at a time.
Drop large spoonfuls of the batter on top of the hot stew, cover and place back in the oven for 15 minutes.
Serve hot and garnish with parsley if you like.
As a reference, I added several grinds of pepper and about 1 tablespoon of salt (not including the seasoning on the meat). Note, the broth I used did not contain any salt.
Keywords: stew, soup, lamb, dumplings, carrots, mushrooms, celery, thyme, rosemary, lunch, dinner, supper, healthy, nourishing, comfort food