It's stew season, or at least that's what my thermometer has been telling me. Unfortunately, most stews take longer to make than an hour to make, meaning they don't often work for a frantic weeknight meal.
But this one is just close enough that it's worth giving it a noble try. If you're quick and efficient this wonderful lamb stew from the New York Times can be whipped up in one hour, but it will taste like it's been bubbling away for far longer than that.
The trick is to toss the lamb cubes with flour, then brown them in a Dutch oven. This establishes a great fond, and all the flour helps thicken everything up nicely. But the real reason to make this stew is the balance between the meaty, succulent lamb and the lemon's acidity. Both the juice and the peel are used here, lacing every bite with just the right amount of tang. It's impressive, especially considering how quickly it all comes together.
- 1 ½ pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 ½-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 leeks, ends trimmed, green parts discarded, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme, minced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 strips lemon peel
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Dry lamb with paper towels. Toss lamb cubes with flour in medium-sized bowl. Shake off excess flour and set aside on a wire rack.
Pour oil into dutch oven set over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add lamb. Cook lamb until browned on each side, about eight minutes total. Remove cubes and set aside.
Add shallots, leeks, garlic, and thyme to dutch oven. Cook, stirring often, until leeks are lightly browned, about four minutes.
Pour in stock, white wine, lemon juice, and lemon peels. Scrap any browned bits off bottom of Dutch oven with wooden spoon. Season with pinch of salt and pepper, and return lamb to dutch oven.
Turn heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, and partially cover. Cook, stirring every five minutes or so, until lamb is very tender, 45 minutes to an hour.
Serve with chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.