Friday, 15 February 2013

Lamb Stifado

Lamb Stifado is a traditional Greek lamb stew, loaded with onions, tomatoes, and spices. Since there is no reason not to use canned tomato products for this, it can be made all through the winter. Serve it with crusty bread, rice or mashed potatoes, along with a salad or green vegetable. It is extremely easy to make, and it is best made in advance then reheated, like most stews.

Traditionally this is made with tiny whole onions, but I prefer it with the onions chopped up so that they cook down into more of an even sauce.

The only thing that might be considered remotely difficult about making this is fishing out all the pieces of spice later on. Do your best, but warn anyone eating it to keep an eye out for them. I suppose it would make more sense to keep them enclosed in a spiceball or teaball while the stew cooks, but I always seem to forget. They could also be tied in a piece of muslin if you don't have one big enough.

4 servings
2 hours 30 minutes - 30 minutes prep time

Lamb Stifado

900 grams (2 pounds; about 6) medium onions
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
500 grams (1 pound) boneless stewing lamb
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
2 to 3 bay leaves
a 1" to 2" piece of cinnamon stick
6 to 8 allspice berries
3 or 4 whole cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
salt & pepper

Peel and chop the onions, fairly coarsely. Peel and mince the garlic.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet, and cook half the onions until softened and reduced in volume, and somewhat browned. Remove them to the stew pot. Repeat with the remaining onions, this time adding the garlic a minute or two before removing the onions to the stew pot.

Heat the remaining oil in the skillet, and add the lamb, cut in bite-sized pieces, being sure they are dry and well spaced out. Cook until brown, turning them to brown them all over. Add them to the stew pot.

Add the remining ingredients to the stew pot, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 to 2  hours, stirring occasionally. Like most stews, this keeps and reheats well; indeed it is better reheated.

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