The minute I saw this recipe, I knew I wanted to make it. There is something about fruit–almost any fruit–and meat that is really attractive to me, which is kind of odd because otherwise I am not much of a fruit person, lemons and limes excepted. And maybe blueberries. But stick it with some salty protein, and I’m drooling.
I have never cooked with lamb much–both DH and my mom dislike it, but there are several vendors of good, free-range lamb at my farmers’ market and so I had been meaning to try some lamb recipes. DH has decided that as long as I cook it with strong flavors and spices, he is amenable to trying it. This is not strongly spiced, but the orange, wine and tomatoes definitely are intense; as far as we were concerned this could have been beef.
This is another recipe I changed so much it is almost un-recognizable. I did not even mean to this time, but I realized I was missing a few crucial ingredients, and I still could not get mint, and eventually it morphed into something kinda different. Especially because my leg of lamb was bigger than the original recipe called for, and so the recipe also ballooned with typical Laura enthusiasm. I would say we will freeze half except the kids both wolfed this down, and we are all looking forward to the leftovers.
I used Yukon Gold potatoes because that is what I had, but next time I think I would use a combo of waxy and starchy potatoes, in order to thicken the stew more but still keep some potatoes that retain their shape and texture. And I forgot to garnish with parsley–remember this is the day Sammy had such a meltdown. So it was a little crazy toward the end, but it turned out wonderfully. Serious winter stick to your ribs kind of food, excellent with hot bread and a salad.
2-3 lbs bone-in leg of lamb, rubbed with salt and pepper
1-2 T olive oil
4 medium sweet onions, diced (1 lbs, 4 oz)
1 head of garlic, minced
1 3″ cinnamon stick (cassia)
2 heaping t ground cumin
8 oz tomato sauce
water, obtained by filling the tomato sauce can 2x to get all of its goodness
4 T tomato paste (I use Amore double strength)
3 cups chicken stock
1 15 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes (I use Muir Glen)
2 oranges, zested and cut into 1/8 wedge segments without the peel
1 1/4 cups pinot noir or another red wine
potatoes, cubed with skin if waxy, peeled if starchy baking potatoes (I forgot to measure this part–this was after Sammy started melting down, I used a lot, maybe 6-8 medium, you could use any combo of root veggies)
chickpeas, cooked (I used dried, canned would be fine, 2-3 cans worth–I eyeballed it)
orange wedges, with peel, for garnish
Heat the oil in a large dutch oven (I use 7 qt) until it shimmers. Brown the lamb on all sides and then remove. Cook the onions until softened and add the garlic. After about 10-15 minutes, add the tomato paste, cinnamon stick and cumin and stir. Add the wine to de-glaze the pan and let it boil for a few minutes. Add the tomato sauce, chicken stock and canned tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the orange zest, orange wedges and the lamb. Bring to a boil and preheat the oven to 275 F. When the stew is boiling, cover it with a heavy lid or at least tight fitting foil, and put the pot into the oven, check it after 15 minutes to make sure it is simmering, even if only barely, and then put it back, leaving it alone for 2-3 hours.
When the lamb seems to be becoming tender, but is not yet falling apart, add the potatoes and stir them into the stew. Put it back into the oven and increase the temperature to 300 F. Let it cook for 2 hours.
Take it out and shred the meat–I do this in the pot, I am too lazy to remove it. Add the chickpeas and bring to a simmer–I did this on the stovetop as my bread was baking by now. When the chickpeas are heated through (or, in my case, they had been sitting on the stove and I wanted to make sure they were ok from a food safety perspective), turn the heat down very low and cover, waiting until you are ready to serve. Serve with an orange wedge in each bowl to be squeezed over the stew.