Mediterranean Style Lamb Stew
- 3 1/2 pounds shoulder of lamb, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup each finely diced leeks, carrots, celery, and fresh fennel
- 2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
- Bouquet garni, tied up in cheesecloth, whole head peeled garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons of dried fennel and a bay leaf
- 1/4 cup Pernod
- 3 cups beef broth
Separately cooked white beans and braised fennel and 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil.
Blue print stew technique: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Coat the meat with flour and shake off excess. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Brown the meat, in batches, until browned on all sides. Remove browned meat to a plate. Add seasoning vegetables to remaining oil in casserole, cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until totally tender. Return browned meat to seasoning vegetables with juices that have collected on the plate. Add optional tomato ingredients, bouquet garni and liquid. Season lightly with salt, bring to a simmer, cover and set in oven to cook for about 1 1/2 hours or longer or until meat is fork tender. Remove casserole from oven, remove meat and keep warm, degrease the liquid. Either puree the solids into the liquid to form a thick sauce, or strain the solids out and reduce the sauce until intensely flavored. Add any additional seasoning ingredient (like barbecue sauce) and fresh herbs at last minute. To cook the vegetable garnish, either cook it in the stew liquid before you puree or reduce it, then return the meat to the liquid to rewarm it. Or cook the garnishes separately.