Stew Has A Lighter Side

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
(Recipe and Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Lamb is a tasty substitute for beef in this slow-cooked recipe (U-T San Diego)

I have always enjoyed a good beef stew, but lately I’ve been experimenting with other kinds of meat in my slow cooker. A version with lamb is my new favorite.

I don’t like a heavy stew, and this one is light enough that you won’t feel weighed down after you eat it. With myriad colorful vegetables, it makes for a nice meal any time of the year.

I have a garden in my backyard where I like to grow garlic and a variety of seasonal herbs and vegetables. As I was trimming the rosemary the other day, I thought lamb would be the perfect pairing for it.

With this slow-cooked method, and the addition of a dark beer and beef bouillon, the lamb meat is tender enough to cut with a fork. This stew is easy to make, and the smell of all those mingling flavors will surely beckon you to eat more than one bowl.

Lamb Stew With Garden Vegetables

Makes 4 to 6 servings

24-ounce bag of small Dutch yellow potatoes

2 cups baby carrots, cut and peeled

1 large white onion, peeled and roughly chopped

4-pound boneless lamb leg

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Handful of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

12 ounces Guinness beer, or your favorite dark beer

2 cups beef broth

8-ounce container golden, crimini mushrooms

10-ounce bag fresh English peas

1. Rinse the potatoes and the carrots under cold running water. Layer potatoes in slow cooker, followed by the carrots and white onion.

2. Rinse the lamb under cold running water, and remove the netted casing. Place lamb on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker.

3. Add crushed garlic and rosemary to the lamb meat. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the garlic and rosemary. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Give the lamb a rubdown (don’t be afraid to use your hands), incorporating all the seasonings onto all sides of the meat.

4. Pour beer and 2 cups beef broth over the meat. Place cover on slow cooker and cook lamb and vegetables on high for 31/2 to 4 hours, or until lamb is cooked to desired doneness.

5. Add the crimini mushrooms to the slow cooker for the last ½ hour of cooking. Add the peas to the stew about 10 minutes before serving, just to heat them up.

6. Once cooked, remove the lamb from the slow cooker and place on a cutting board. Cut lamb into desired chunks and stir back into stew. Serve the lamb stew in soup bowls with a crusty baguette. Red wine makes for a nice pairing.

*This story by Maria Desiderata Montana first appeared in the U-T San Diego.