Traditionally in Greece, lamb is more of a spring-time thing. But with the invention of these nifty things called refrigerators, freezers, and mass world wide transit, things like lamb are available year round. Good for me, because lamb is one of my favorites.Of course, you can’t have lamb without garlic and lemon. It’s like a rule or something. Oh, and rosemary, too. I’m sure it’s also a rule. I’ve heard tales of people eating lamb with other seasonings, but I think it might just be crazy talk.
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As with most Greek recipes, this one isn’t hard and fast in terms of the measurements, so feel free to fiddle with the amounts of things as you see fit. Just don’t forget the rules!
Greek Lamb Stew Recipe
- 3 lbs. lamb stew meat (you can also substitute beef or even venison, which has a similar taste to lamb)
- 1 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Greek
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 lbs. yellow onion, sliced
- 5 large garlic cloves, sliced
- 3/4 lbs. carrots, peeled and sliced into chunks
- 3/4 lbs. potatoes, peel on, cut into chunks (go for small boiling potatoes like red or Yukon gold since they will hold their shape and texture better)
- 3 cups hot beef broth
- 1/3 cup brandy
- 2 5-6 inch sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2-3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- ground pepper to taste
- extra virgin olive oil
Put the lamb chunks into a large bowl. Sprinkle the dried oregano and salt over the meat and mix until the meat is uniformly covered with the oregano.
Put a couple of glugs of olive oil into a large stock pot, just enough to cover the bottom. Turn the heat to high. Once the oil is hot, add the lamb and briefly cook to brown the meat on all sides. You don’t want to crowd the pot, so only add enough meat at a time to just barely cover the bottom. If you put too much in at once, the juices will come out and the meat will get boiled instead of browned. Scoop out each batch of meat before adding the next, and keep it in a bowl until you use it later in the recipe. Make sure to add a little more oil in between each batch.
Once all the meat is browned, remove it from the pot and keep it in a bowl for later. Add just a little more oil and the onion. Coat the onion in the oil, turn the heat to medium, and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic slices and sauté a minute more. Add the carrots, potatoes, broth, brandy, and whole sprigs of rosemary. Add the reserved lamb meat and any juices that came out of it. Add water or more broth, if needed, to just cover all the contents of the pot.
Turn the heat up and bring almost to a boil. Turn the heat back down, cover the pot, and simmer until carrots and potatoes are soft enough to be easily pierced by a fork. This may be about an hour or so. Add the lemon juice and any additional salt or pepper to taste. If you really want to enjoy this properly, you will be patient and allow the soup to cool then reheat before serving. This will give the meat a chance to “relax” and become more tender, and also allow all the flavors a chance to really blend. But it will still taste good if you are impatient!
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