Spring Lamb Stew
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 5 pounds boneless lamb stew meat, cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch cubes, preferably from the shoulder, plus bones
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 12 cloves garlic, peeled, plus 2 for toasting, divided
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 12 small parsnips, washed and thoroughly peeled
- 12 small carrots, washed and thoroughly peeled
- 1 cup dry vermouth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup smooth Dijon mustard
- 2 quarts beef or lamb stock
- Olive oil, for toasting
- 1 baguette, sliced
- 2 cups curly mustard greens, washed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces, optional
- 1 cup shelled peas, optional
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Heat a Dutch oven over high heat and add the oil. Season the pieces of lamb on all sides with salt and pepper. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, use a pair of metal tongs to arrange the lamb, in a single layer, in the hot oil. Brown the meat on all sides. Remove the meat and transfer it to a medium bowl. Stir in the onions, garlic, and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the parsnips and carrots and cook until they become slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the vermouth, bay leaves, mustard, browned meat, lamb bones, and stock. Stir to combine and put the pot in the center of the oven, uncovered. Cook until the meat is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (Chef's Note: If the liquid starts to reduce too much, add water, as necessary.)
Just before serving, put a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat and coat it with olive oil. Once heated, add the remaining garlic cloves and the sliced bread and toast on both sides. Remove the toast from the pan and set aside.
Remove the stew from the oven and use a large spoon to skim any excess fat or impurities form the surface of the sauce and remove the bones. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the mustard greens and peas, if desired. Serve immediately with toast.
Recipe courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli