Sunday, 5 February 2012

Winter warmer - Rustic Italian lamb stew

WELL it’s been another cold and frosty weekend here in Leigh with a couple of inches of snow on Saturday.

Me and the other half had planned to go out for a nice meal at an Italian but due to the weather we decided to cancel on the last minute and I was quite firmly told that it was my turn to cook!

So I thought I'd better make something vaguely Italian as that's what we'd got our hopes up for, and there'd been some talk of lamb (although that’s not unusual in our house as lamb is Paul's food heaven.)

I dug out some winter recipe books for inspiration and came across a lamb stew made with red wine – just looking at the pictures made me feel warm and cosy and it was a good excuse to use up some of the red wine we still had left-over from Christmas.

I used the recipe (which was from a Sainsbury’s cookery book) for inspiration but I just threw in whatever I wanted really and let it bubble away.

Getting the lamb just right is the only difficult part – the recipe says to brown the meat first but next time I’d be tempted to throw it in raw so it falls apart when cooked (this would work especially well in a slow cooker).

Served with creamy mash potato and a glass of wine, this is a perfect winter warmer and something a little bit special for a Saturday night. It serves two with a portion left-over.

Why not try this on Valentine’s Day to impress your partner? It looks, and tastes, as if a lot of effort has gone into making it but really it is relatively easy.

350g lamb, diced
1 x onion, chopped
2 x medium carrots, diced
2 x celery sticks, chopped
2 x garlic gloves, crushed
2 x sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 x red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Zest of an orange
375ml red wine
1 x tbsp plain flour
1 x 390g can of chopped tomatoes
250ml vegetable stock (1 cube)
1 x tsp balsamic vinegar
1 x 410g can of cannellini or butter beans
1) Put the lamb in a bowl with the chopped onion, carrot, celery, garlic, rosemary, chilli, orange zest and red wine. Leave to marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.
2) Remove the meat , reserving the marinade, and fry in a tablespoon of oil and a knob of butter until browned. Add the flour and stir for one minute.
3) Pour the marinade into the lamb and stir then add the tomatoes, stock and balsamic vinegar.
4) Season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer on the hob for about one hour until the meat is tender. Add the beans for a couple of minutes and serve.

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