Lamb, Main Dishes, Recipes

Spring Lamb Stew

Spring Lamb Stew

Spring can be a bit unpredictable. Just last weekend it was 80 degrees in Brooklyn. Followed immediately by a blustery 50 degree day. The variability is actually one of my favorite parts of spring. It opens up a full spectrum of dishes to try. Some days it’s warm, and you feel like grilling. But on chillier evenings, you can still enjoy maybe your last bowl of soup until fall comes around.

Last year for Easter, I felt the need to make lamb. It’s just so traditional. Considering I’m not a huge fan of lamb, it’s not something I cook often, with the exception of my at least once-a-month lamb with peas rotational dish. I wasn’t about to invest in a while rack of lamb. There’s nothing worse than splurging on a fancy cut of meat, only to mess it up. I did not want to risk an overcooked lamb dish. So instead, my mind shifted to stew.

Like many braises, it’s a dish that can be cooked well in advance, letting you spend your evening with your guests, rather than holed up in the kitchen. Slow stewed lamb, crisp asparagus, tender carrots and fresh herbs come together in this spring-on-a-plate dish. True when I made this dish, it was too early for local asparagus, so I had to fudge things a bit. But any day now, we should see those tender stalks shooting up at farm stands. A perfect mother’s day supper, me thinks.

Spring Lamb Stew with Green Herbs (adapted from Cooking Light) Serves 6

  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 4 c chopped onions
  • 6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 lb lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 bottle fruity white wine (I used gewürztraminer)
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • A few cranks of fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp each chopped fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano, mixed together
  • 1/2 lb turnips, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed of woody ends and cut into 2-inch pieces

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic to pan and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Spoon onion mixture into a large bowl. Add half the lamb to the pan and saute until browned. Remove from pan and add to the onion mixture. Add the remaining lamb to the pan, brown and add to onion mixture.

Add wine to the pan, scrapping the pan to loosen the browned bits. Return lamb mixture to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Add half the herb mixture and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and summer for 90 minutes, or until lamb is very tender.

Add turnips and carrots. Continue to simmer, covered, for 40 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add asparagus and cook until asparagus is bright green and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining herb mixture. Serve aside roasted new potatoes and plenty of bread to soak up the sauce.

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Recipes, Salads, Salads & Sides, Uncategorized

Simple Spring Salad

Simple Spring Salad

For me Spring isn’t just about the warm temperatures, sunny skies and longer days (though that certainly helps!), it’s about the produce. My regular routine begins to kick in again with early Saturday mornings at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, a stop by the Park Slope Food Coop and home to unpack all my current finds followed by canning, brunching or whatever else ensues. It’s almost impossible not to come home, arms sore from carrying bags brimming with fresh picked treats. Baby lettuces, crisp stalks of asparagus, sweet, ripe strawberries–no matter how many bags I bring with me, I never seem to have enough room to carry it all.

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Recipes, Salads & Sides, Vegetables

Cheesy Broccoli Gratin

Cheesy Broccoli Gratin

It started as a healthy dinner plan. Fish and broccoli. Super healthy, right? Well, until I brought in the cream. And cheese. To be honest, the cheese isn’t really all that bad (in moderation) if you’re trying to eat healthy. And butter’s back too. Have you heard? But dropping cream into your shopping basket means two things–instant deliciousness and everything but healthy.

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Recipes, Salads & Sides, Vegetables

Creamy Sautéed Radishes

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Until a few weeks ago, I only thought of radishes as the spicy crunch in my salads. Or in pickled form. Which I have to admit, are one of my least favorite types of pickles, just a bit higher ranked than eggs. But all that changed while flipping through the Edible Brooklyn cookbook, a gift from a few Christmases ago, far under utilized. A recipe for radishes sautéed with cream and herbs caught my eye. I had heard of cooked radishes but never sampled or made them myself. The promise that cooking mellowed the root, taking away it’s spicy bite was a bit disappointed (there’s just something addictive about the peppery snap of a radish) but I was still intrigued.

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Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups & Stews, Vegetarian

Creamy Green Garlic Potato Soup

Green Garlic Potato Soup

What I love most about Spring is the range of weather. You can leave in the morning with a thin sweater, strip down to a sleeveless shirt at lunch and still need a light jacket as evening draws near. Along with the variety of clothing options, it creates food options as well. I’m not very likely to sit down to a rich winter strew filled with root vegetables. More so because I’m sick of carrots and parsnips. But I love that I can still enjoy a bowl of soup when the evenings still have a bit of a chill, accompanied by a light salad.

I needed green garlic for a recent recipe. A whole tablespoon of it. If you’ve spent any time at the markets lately, you’re probably well aware that green garlic isn’t sold by the stalk, let alone the tablespoon. So to fulfill my needs I purchased a bunch, used a quarter a stalk and was left with the rest. Green garlic isn’t something I cook with too often. I generally wait for garlic scapes, or for the most part use the bulbs alone. When I read somewhere that sauteing it over low heat resulted a cross between a light garlic flavor and caramelized onions, I couldn’t think of anything better than to stick in a soup. Considering potato leek soup is such a great success, how could subbing green garlic not be equally as awesome?

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