Friday, March 11, 2011

Cooking With Beer: Pretty Things Lamb Stew

I've been wanting to make a lamb stew for a couple of weeks now. This time of year it's easy to find lovely cuts of lamb at the supermarket, and though spring is around the corner there is still a bite in the air that makes something warm and comforting like a stew the perfect meal. When I was out shopping for ingredients, I had it in my mind that I would buy a stout to use in the stew. However I changed my mind when confronted with a bottle of Pretty Things St. Botolph's Dark Ale.

I knew a dark ale would serve the same purpose as a stout, more or less. And I knew that Pretty Things makes a pretty complex beer that would really add some depth to the stew. I also knew the St Botolph paired divinely with lamb because I got to experience it firsthand at Lamb Jam. So with this beer, plus some a few other ingredients, I threw together this delicious stew that is perfect for this time of year. Be sure and buy an extra bottle of the Pretty Things to drink while you enjoy the stew!

Pretty Things Lamb Stew
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
2.5 lbs bonless lamb leg, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 tbsp flour
2 cups Pretty Things St Botolphs Town Dark Ale
3 cups low sodium beef broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 large turnip, cut into 1 inch cubes
5 carrots, roughly chopped
2 large potatoes, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 tbsp dried thyme
salt and pepper

Heat a large pan over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onion and rosemary. Cook for 5 minutes.

Remove from pan and place in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, combine the flour with salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Coat each piece of lamb in the flour and shake of excess. The easy way to do this is put the flour in a large Ziploc bag, throw the lamb in and shake. Then pour the lamb into a colander and shake out the excess. Easy peasy!

Heat two tablespoons of oil in the pan and brown the lamb in batches. Make sure to brown it on all sides as this will seal in the juices and make for a super tender lamb.

It will take about 5-6 minutes a batch. Remove to the bowl with the onion mixture.

Your pan will probably look something like this:

But never fear, because once you add the beer all of the brown bits, which is where all the flavor is, will deglaze into this delicious beery, meaty sauce.So pour the delicious beer into the pan and bring to a boil, scraping up all of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

Boil for 3-4 minutes, until reduced by about half.

Add the lamb and onions back into the pan. Add beef broth.

Stir in tomato paste, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for one hour.

While the stew is simmering, in another pot bring a couple of cups of water to boil. Add the turnips and boil for 5 minutes. You don't want to cook them through, just get a little of the bitterness out. You can omit this step if you don't mind the slight bitterness turnips have!

Also if you are a fool like me and cooking this on a weeknight, at this point it's probably almost 8PM and you are starving. It helps to have snacks.

When the hour is up, add your vegetables and thyme and more salt and pepper if needed.

Simmer uncovered for another hour to hour and a half - until vegetables are tender.

Serve with lots of crusty bread for dipping.

This was a huge hit in our house and though the St Botolph's Ale was the perfect beer component in this stew, you could definitely experiment with other dark beers - Enjoy!

1 comment:

Jen said...

That looks wicked good. I love lamb.