Saturday, January 06, 2007

Lavender Lamb Stew

Copyright 2007 by Cooking With The Single Guy

1 lb. lamb (shoulder cut)
1 lb. mini red potatoes (or regular red potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes)
2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 stalks of leeks (white section only, diced and rinsed thoroughly)
1 cup crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 turnip, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 T lavender flowers for cooking
1 can of beef or chicken broth (14 oz. low-sodium version)
1 cup water
4 oz. crème fraiche (or cornstarch slurry*)
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut lamb into cubes and season with salt and pepper. Warm olive oil in medium pot or dutch oven and then brown lamb over medium high heat for about 2 minutes. Add leeks and cook for another minute and then add broth and 1 cup of water. Bring pot to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Add lavender tied up in a fine mesh bag, such as a soup sock, into the stock. Slow cook all ingredients at a low heat for 2 hours.

After 1 hour, take stew off heat and skim fat off the top with a large spoon. Return the pot to the heat and add carrots. About 30 minutes before your lamb stew is done, add the mini potatoes. Ten minutes after that, add the turnip and mushrooms. (If you want to reduce the intense flavor of the mushrooms, which might cover up the lavender, then sweat your mushrooms in a separate saute pan before adding it to the stew.)

When lamb is done and meat is pretty much falling off the bone, remove pot from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Remove any bone pieces and the bag of lavender. Then stir in crème fraiche.* Salt and pepper to taste.

* If you don’t want to use crème fraiche, you can thicken your stew by creating a cornstarch slurry. Mix about 2 tablespoon of cornstarch with cold water and then slowly add your cornstarch mixture to your boiling pot until the sauce thickens to the way you like it.

Makes three to four servings. Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley.

Serve with glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

TIP: It’s important that you buy lavender appropriate for cooking. Many gourmet stores will sell lavender in their spice section, typically under the labels “lavender flowers” or “lavender for cooking.” Do not use lavender salt.

BAG IT: You can use any fine mesh bags to hold the lavender while it’s stewing in the pot with the stock. Most cooking stores will sell a “soup sock,” which is a mesh tube that you can tie at both ends. As an alternative, you can go to a tea store and buy empty tea bags and then fill them with your lavender flowers.

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