Thursday, November 16, 2006

STUPID Blogspot!

So I did something in this blogger window and poof! my entry disappeared. Never to return. So here's the short of it:

Gingerbread House. Horrid. Never again. M ditched me to watch a Max and Ruby cartoon and I half-heartedly made the worst-looking house you could imagine. Sloppy sloppy sloppy. And I consumed about half the big tube of pure-sugar icing that came with the kit and reeled from the sugar high and then crash all afternoon.

Fortunately, the lamb stew was fabulous so salvaged the day. It was incredibly simple and not theme-y as lamb dishes can be (minty, super-sweet, heavy Indian influences). This was just a great meal that let the slow-cooked lamb shine. We all loved it except T, who's decided he's now giving up solid food. His loss.

If you're feeling lamby this weekend, you might want to try it before the turkey glut starts. Here's how.

Lamb Stew a la Kitchel (with help from Mark Bittman)

1 Tbsp. or so olive oil
1 2-pound or so lamb shoulder roast, trimmed of hard fat and cut into 1 or 1-1/2 inch cubes
Salt and pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 head garlic, separated but not peeled
1 bay leaf
About 1 Tbsp. lamb or other seasoning (I used lamb seasoning from Penzey's Spices)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup or so leftover red wine
1 cup or so water
Some potatoes -- I used about 4 medium-sized red -- unpeeled, cut in half, and then sliced into thinnish slices

In a Dutch oven-type pot, heat up the olive oil over medium-high heat. Without overcrowding the pot, brown the lamb pieces in the hot oil, a few pieces at a time. When pieces are nicely browned, remove them. Once all of them are browned, add the lamb back to the pot with the onion. Stir this around for a bit (5 minutes or so) so that the onion can soften. Now add in everything else. Bring the pot to almost boiling, then lower the heat so that it's just kind of simmering nicely. Cover it and let it simmer away for an hour or so -- until the lamb is cooked through. If it gets too dry, add some more wine or water. While you're eating, fish out the garlic cloves; the garlic squooshes out of the skins nicely and tastes delicious on crusty bread.

A couple notes:

  • Phil and I both agreed that this was fabulous but a bit brown. So next time (and there will be a next time) I'm adding some fresh or frozen peas in the last 10 or so minutes.
  • Also, a couple years ago I was feeling flush and sprung for a Le Crueset Dutch oven. I'm not snobby about kitchenware, but this thing really is amazing despite the staggering price. (I got mine on, so the price was shocking but not staggering.) For dishes like this one, it browns meat perfectly, and it cooks stew well without scorching anything. Target now has a line of enamel-covered cast iron knock-offs that retail for about $40, and I bet work basically as well.

I'm still a little honked off at Blogspot, so I'm signing off before the computer blows.