Thursday, 16 October 2008

Lamb Stew with Shiitakes & Shallots

This is a lovely stew, easily made and without too many ingredients. In spite of its simplicity, I tend to save it for special occasions, as the shiitakes can get a bit expensive. However, while they are available all year they are most abundant right now, and you may find them at a good price.

4 servings
2 hours - 30 minutes prep time

Kanb Stew with Shiitakes and Shallots
500 grams (1 pound) boneless stewing lamb (or beef is good too)
1 tablespoon sunflower seed oil
10 to 12 small shallots
2 to 3 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms
5 cups beef or lamb broth, or water in a pinch
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons tamari
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

Check that the meat is ready to go; cut in bite-sized pieces and not too much fat. Peel the shallots, and if possible, divide them in half. (They are often half-way there already, with the removal of one more layer.) Trim the stems from the shiitakes and make sure they are clean, which they should be, since they grow on tree stumps.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, and brown the meat and the shallots in it, turning to cook and brown them evenly. Add 3 cups of the broth, reserving the other 2 for later. Cover the pan and simmer for about an hour, until the shallots and meat are both tender, and the broth somewhat thickened and reduced. If you like, you can cool the stew at this point and continue the next day.

Next, add the shiitake mushrooms (whole caps) and continue cooking. Once they are in, mix the flour with the Worcestershire sauce, the tamari, the pepper and the remaining broth. Add it slowly to the stew, stirring constantly, and simmer it for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is thickened and the mushrooms are stewed.

Serve the stew with mashed potatoes, barley pilaf, or steamed rice.

Last year at this time I made Baked Apples Stuffed with Cranberries & Walnuts.

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