Julie Had a Lotta Lamb

Shish kebabs and scalloped potatoes

Big surprise, right? I had a boneless leg of lamb to cook last week and didn’t feel like doing a big roast or braise, so I broke down the huge cut of meat and made two separate recipes from it: Moroccan-spiced lamb kebabs and Irish lamb stew. The kebabs were first, and I marinated them in a mixture of garlic, cumin, cinnamon, oregano and pomegranate molasses. Nolan was still napping, so I decided to be daring and make Elise’s version of scalloped potatoes, a dish I had never yet made successfully. The Cuisinart helped cut down my prep time significantly, however, as I used it to slice potatoes and onions, and grate Gruyere and Parmesan cheese. I parboiled the potatoes to cut down the baking time, but it still required longer than I had expected. A little extra marinating time didn’t hurt the lamb, though, and grilling the kebabs was the work of just a few minutes. When all was said and done, the lamb kebabs were tasty, but the scalloped potatoes were a hit: They didn’t look remotely pretty, but the flavor was outstanding, and they reheated well as a side for some quickly-seared chicken paillards the next night.

For the lamb stew several nights later, I again turned to Elise, but made some adaptations: using chunks rather than chops; leaving out the turnips and using baby carrots for speed; using tweaked chicken broth in place of water or lamb stock; and making a little white wine slurry at the end for thickening purposes. It was delicious and very filling, and since the weather here is finally starting to improve, I think I made it just in the nick of time too!

Irish Lamb Stew

2 lb leg of lamb, trimmed and cubed
Olive oil
1 T bacon grease
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C water
1 bag baby carrots
5 small russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 qt chicken broth
1 tsp beef Better Than Bouillion
2 T pearl barley
1 tsp dried thyme

Salt and pepper
1/4 C white wine
2 T AP flour

Heat the bacon grease and a glug of olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown the lamb cubes all over; remove to a plate. In the same pot, saute the onion and garlic until softened, then deglaze with the water. Return the meat to the pot, along with the remaining ingredients carrots through thyme. Simmer over low heat for 1 1/2-2 hours.

Whisk together the white wine and flour, and stir into the stew. Continue simmering until slightly thickened, then taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Source: Adapted from Simply Recipes.

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