Soft Southerly on Valentines Weekend

on Sunday, 13 February 2011. Posted in Food & Wine

Soft Southerly with Lamb and White Bean Stew

Lamb_and_White_Bean_StewIt was Valentines Weekend and I'm surrounded with over two feet of snow and a saltwater bay that is frozen. The daily highs are in the mid 20's and the evenings hover around 5.  Its time to celebrate flavor.

My husband and friends enjoy lamb. I wanted a Fiddler's Reach wine that would compliment a mediterranean style lamb dish with a baltic flare that uses subtle but rich regional spices. Soft Southerly has a sweetness that tastes like juicy apples and melon with a bit of earthy cinnamon in the finish. What a choice! The wine made the dish complete because it added flavor.  Continuing on after great conversation, for dessert I had made some truffles.  What little Soft Southerly that was left in our glasses certainly helped those truffles disappear quickly. The recipe is below if you want to try it.

While I'm cooking the stew I notice that the cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, finches, and titmouse are trying to beat the grey squirrels to the black oil seed. Suet is attacked by downy and hairy woodpeckers and chickadees when the crows and ravens aren't feeding. Then I see a downy woodpecker trying out the birdfeeders with black oil and thistle seed. I think it thought it was Goldilocks - for it tried all three front feeders. I know that my friends and husband will eat well tonight just like the birds are now.



Lamb and White Bean Stew

Use organic and local sourced ingredients whenever possible.

2 cups dried white beans (pea or navy)

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 pounds boneless lean lamb shoulder in 1” cubes

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium size onion chopped

12 very small cipollini onions peeled OR 2 medium size sweet onions chopped

½ teaspoon HOT Hungarian paprika

2 cups organic beef stock or broth

2 Tablespoons  organic tomato paste

28 ounce can of organic San Marino plum tomatoes in sauce

2 green bell peppers (cored & seeded) diced

1 very small chili pepper (cored & seeded) minced

4 cloves of garlic peeled and minced

1/8th of a teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons SWEET Hungarian paprika divided

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice, more later if desired

Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

If using dried beans, soak overnight or covered with boiling water for at least 2 hours with a strip of dried kelp to rehydrate. Then cook in at least 6 cups of lightly salted water with another 5” strip of dried kelp. Start at a boil and reduce to a simmer until beans are tender – 40 minutes or so.  You can use 4 cups of drained canned beans.

In a large pot (can use a heat proof casserole dish) heat olive oil and then in small batches brown the lamb on all sides. Remove each batch to a dish. Pour off any remaining oil and add butter. Saute’ the onions until almost translucent then add the HOT paprika. When the onions are soft, return the lamb to the pot and gently stir. Mix the tomato paste in the broth and add to the pot. Simmer gently, covered for 45 minutes or until lamb is tender. Preheat oven near the end to 3500F

Add the plum tomatoes (chopped or squished into pieces), the juice, bell peppers, some or all of the chili pepper, garlic, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of the SWEET Hungarian paprika, and lemon juice. Stir carefully and bring to a boil.  Cover and place in preheated oven for 1 hour.

Remove from oven, stir and taste. Add more lemon juice, salt & pepper as desired. Add some fresh chopped flat leaf parsley. Serve over or with rice and a salad.

Copywrite © 2010 Alice Bean Andrenyak

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