Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lamb Stew with Apples (Estofado de Cordero Con Manzana)


About six years ago, I bemoaned the fact that one of my fathers-in-law owned a cookbook I wanted. Through the modern miracle of amazon and the generosity of my husband, he snapped up a used copy for me as my Christmas present. And oh, how I love it. 

And the question must be asked: why did he wait so long?


I decided to begin with one of the simplest recipes in the book: a lamb stew. And oh, how I love lamb stew, and it has shown up on this blog twice before. 

About two years ago, I made a lamb and fruit stew out of the Middle East that was quite tasty, for I am a huge fan of quince and of saffron--that stew married lamb with those two delicacies, and I was hooked. 

And then, as you know, in December, I made what I declared to be the best lamb stew I have ever had. I'll still stand by that declaration--that Tunisian lamb stew was better than this one, but only because I preferred that spice palate. Seriously--coriander, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne--all are spices right up my alley.


But this stew was quite satisfying, particularly in its simplicity.  Lamb, tomatoes, onions, and apples stewed in white wine. It was the perfect one-pot meal.

Something about sweetness paired with lamb, and ooh boy. Be it a handful of almonds or cored apples or quinces, these stews call out for a hit of something sweet to balance the savoriness of the lamb.  And it doesn't matter if we travel to Tunisia, Lebanon, or Spain, the spice combination blended with that sweetness and with the lamb guarantees a gratifying meal.


Penelope Casas, our cookbook's author, nods to the Moorish origin of this Spanish dish from Andalusia in her headnote to the recipe. That self-same father-in-law who owned this cookbook before I did traveled to Andalusia recently, and he declared that given his druthers, he would live in Andalusia. His druthers also include gainful employment, which he has not yet figured out how to ensure in Andalusia, so instead, he lives in Berkeley.

Sadly, I have not ever traveled to Spain. And if this stew is any indication of the food of Andalusia, I suspect I, too, would never want to leave.




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Lamb Stew with Apples (Estofado de Cordero Con Manzana)


Yield:
4 Servings 

Ingredients:  
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs lamb stew meat cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups dry white wine

Instructions:
1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole and brown the meat well on all sides. Season with salt and pepper.

2.  Stir in the apple, onion, tomato and tomato paste. Cook a minute, then pour in the wine and adjust the seasoning. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven. 

3.  Cook for 1 1/2 hours, adding chicken broth or water if the liquid cooks away. 

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