Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring Lamb & Farro Stew

Disclaimer:  McKenzie and I are consulting dietitians for Lean on Lamb, the Tri-Lamb Group.

This recipe is aaaallllll about spring--spring vegetables, spring lamb, spring flavors and sunshine. It's perfect with a glass of crisp white wine or rosé.

This recipe is also about stretching a small amount of meat across multiple servings.  If you've read Dan Barber's The Third Plate, or Tamar Adler's An Everlasting Meal, or been reading our blog for awhile, you'll be familiar with this concept.  For our health and the health of the planet, animal protein should be a condiment instead of the focus of meal, supplemented with plentiful vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. It's a beautiful, delicious and nourishing way to eat, and one that asks you to explore your creativity and think outside of the meat and potatoes box.

This Spring lamb stew celebrates the beauty of frugality--stretching a half-pound of lamb across one meal for four people, or 2 ounces per person.  It's fresh with fennel and leeks, rich with lamb, hearty with farro, and fragrant with wine, lemon and tarragon.  And even though ingredients like leeks and fennel can be expensive at the grocery store, when you buy them in season at your local farmers market, they become affordable.  What a wonderful way to bring in a new cooking season.

Spring Lamb & Farro Stew

Serves 4

½ pound lamb stew meat
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 leeks, sliced
1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes
¼ cup white wine
3 ½ cups water or homemade chicken stock without salt
1 cup farro
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
zest of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Season the lamb stew meat with salt.  Place a heavy-bottomed, oven safe pot over medium heat.  Add one tablespoon of the olive oil and then add the lamb in one layer.  Let brown well on one side before turning the pieces to brown the other side.  Remove the lamb from the pan and place in a bowl.

Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Add the other tablespoon of olive oil, the leeks, fennel bulb, salt and red pepper flakes.  Saute about 5 minutes, until vegetables are starting to soften.  Add the white wine and stir.  Add the water or chicken stock and then stir in the farro.  Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and place the pot in the oven.  Let cook for about 1 ½ - 2 hours, or until the lamb is tender and the farro is cooked.

Remove from the oven and stir in the peas, tarragon and lemon zest.

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