Five Herb Lambs Stew and Snap Peas Rock Family Dinner

Sides / March 18, 2014

In the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” ever cheerful Aunt Voula is faced with a menu dilemma when Toula’s vegetarian fiance informs her he doesn’t eat meat. Her shock quickly changes to triumph when she realizes there is an answer. “That’s okay. I make lamb.” she coos. And all is well.

Even more compelling evidence for the mass appeal of lamb is the fact that it is actually one of the healthiest meats. According to Perdue University, lamb has a very high nutritional value, and is full of nutrients not easily accessed from other meats. Click here to read more.

Indeed, we eat lamb so rarely, it is no surprise we can’t quite peg the taste in our minds. The tender, sweet and lean cuts are most familiar when mentioned in the same sentence as “chops,” and “mint jelly.” A sad brand for a very sophisticated flavor. However, don’t dismiss it too quickly. In spite of Aunt Voula’s mix-up, it is truly the perfect meal for any family occasion, no matter which way your tastes lean on the food pyramid.

There is no best way to cook lamb, as there are as many techniques as there are ingredients. But I happen to love it slow braised, after having been marinated all day in herbs, orange juice, and garlic. It just takes on the taste of what it’s next to so masterfully that your guests, if appearing ambiguous about your choice of main course, will push themselves away from your table having a new understanding of, and love affair with lamb.

Check out my recipe for 5 Herb Lamb and Potato Stew here, and enjoy the slideshow. This meal also features a fantastic side dish of snap peas and dates, sauteed in olive oil and served with a fig balsamic shallot jam, which is another addition to #fabin40!


Five Herb Lamb and Potato Stew

Prep time – 45, Marinate for 5 hours, Cook time – 2 hours


Ingredients:

4 lbs boneless lamb, shank or leg roast, trimmed of most of the fat and cut into 2 inch chunks.
4 large new potatoes washed, and cut into large chunks
½ C white wine
½ C orange juice
½ white onion


Marinade:

1 C orange juice from concentrate with pulp
½ C fruity white wine
1 T fresh rosemary leaves chopped finely
3 T fresh mint leaves chopped finely
½ T dried tarragon
1 T fresh parsley
¼ t dried basil
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and cut in thirds
Salt and pepper


Direction:

  • Place meat in marinade and seal in a zip lock bag for at least 5 hours. Bring to room temperature before putting in roasting pan. Pour all of the marinade and the lamb in a heavy iron Dutch oven. Add onion, more salt and pepper, and potatoes along with the extra ½ C white wine and ½ C orange juice. Cook for 2 hour at 325 degrees. Serve with your favorite vegetable and your favorite family peeps!

Snap Peas and Dates with a Fig Shallot Jam

Prep time–10 mins.
Cook time–15 mins.


Ingredients:

5 to 7 cups fresh snap peas, rinsed and drained.
¾ C seedless dates, chopped.
2 T olive oil
Salt and Pepper


Glaze:

¾ C Fig Jelly
2 T fig balsamic vinegar
1 medium shallot, cut into thin slices and then halved
1 T white wine (can substitute a little white grape juice.)


Directions:

  • Sauté shallots in olive oil, on med heat, until slightly caramelized. Set aside. In another sauce pan, combine jam,balsamic, white wine and salt and pepper. Heat until smooth. Add shallots. Stir and keep warm. Preheat a large sauté pan, add the snap peas and dates and stir until dates are soft, only about 4 minutes. You don’t want the snap peas anything but crisp! Add jam, stir to combine and heat through, then serve.


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