Yesterday was the day for a trip to the supermarket–as usual dictated not by coupons but by me being low enough on milk that I was not going to be able to make enough caffè latte to get me awake and doing what I needed to do today. As usual, I didn’t go with preconceived notions of what I might bring home to cook.
I got my milk and eggs–just not possible to be out of eggs, but I was–and did my usual troll past the butcher counter. I found a manager’s special that was simply too good to pass up: lamb stew meat at a great price. Since my agenda today was mostly minor chores I thought I’d have time to cook, so I came home with lamb stew meat and actually remembered to soak (in brine) the garbanzo beans last night. You’re probably thinking so what?
Well, it’s fall and that makes me want to cook hearty stuff and lamb stew just seemed to be a really good idea: economical, tasty, some to go in the freezer for quick meals, and some to eat now. Unfortunately, the weather is not really cooperating–my thermometer is showing 82ºF right now–but at least it’s cooler in the evenings now so stew is not completely amiss. Still, so what? Right?
Well, as I started my morning caffeination by browsing Facebook I was informed that I had memories from two years ago. Now I’m still not convinced the FB really cares about my memories, but the top item on the list was my post about making–yep!–lamb and garbanzo bean stew in the oven. Well, same today: it’s unseasonably warm again, but not too humid, and it’s sunny and breezy today so it’s oven rather than slow-cooker version this time. Since I did forget to soak the Romertopf ahead of time, I just pulled out the Dutch oven instead.
I did look for recipes last night but didn’t really find anything inspiring, so today’s lamb stew was a “kitchen happening”–let’s just see what turns out. That two-year-ago lamb stew was an oven version of a slow cooker recipe. This year, given the weather I decided that I’d (again) do oven braising. (The slow-cooker version was good, but no way as good as the one done in the oven.) I haven’t looked back to see what went with that version–all I really remember is that I used canned beans that time.
Oven-braised lamb and garbanzo stew (2016)
(I’m not giving much in the way of measurements here since this was a “kitchen happening”)
- Lamb stew meat (about 3 pounds with some bones included)
- Garbanzo beans (brined over-night)
- Lots of onions (cheated and used frozen chopped ones)
- Bay leaves–2 large
- Salt about 1-1/2 teaspoons, give or take–will taste later
- French thyme (dried)
- Marjoram (dried)
- Garlic powder (Oops–not a single head of garlic in the house!)
- One 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes–drat, out of fire-roasted ones.
- Smoked Spanish paprika
- Olive oil as needed for browning lamb
- Brown stew meat (bones included; they will make good stock as the beans and lamb cook ).The bones are big enough to get out easily when the stew is done. Add to Dutch oven.
- Saute onions until just golden, and add to Dutch oven with meat, beans, and tomatoes
- Deglaze skillet with water and add to braising pot
- Add salt, herbs, and spices.
- Bring to a simmer on the stove-top
- Place in a 185ºF oven and cook until beans and meat are tender–about 3 hours.
Here I was, again, making this lovely stew in unseasonably warm weather but still cool enough to use the oven rather than the slow-cooker. Cooking my own garbanzo beans was well worth the thought and bit of effort that it took to soak them. Brining them seems to make them cook much more quickly. Leaving the bones in with the meat really gave a lot of lamb flavor–worth the effort of taking them out after the meat was done.
I love this combination of lamb and garbanzo beans–it seems that I’ve used different seasonings almost every time this “happens” in my kitchen, but it’s good every time! No recipe needed just season as you like…a son gôut!
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