De-li-shis All-Day Lentil Lamb Stew

If you like lamb here’s an easy and delicious lamb stew recipe for you.  You can start it in the morning and let it simmer all day.  Your house will smell great and your dinner will be easy and everyone will be happy, right?

All-Day Lentil Lamb Stew

  • 1 lb lamb stew meat
  • 1 onion
  • 1 leek
  • 1 12oz bottle beer or dry hard cider
  • 3 small or 2 large carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3-4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 24 oz water
  • 1 large or 2 small potatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat a Dutch oven or other cast iron pan (or a heavy bottomed pot if you don’t have cast iron) on the burner over almost high heat.  When the pan is hot drop the lamb into the pan so each piece is touching the pan.  While the meat is browning (you will have to turn it a couple times) chop the onion and clean and chop the leek into 1/4 inch pieces.  Add to the pan with the meat and toss a few times to start to brown the vegetables.  Pour the beer or cider into the pan, stir well.  Peel or wash the carrots and cut into bite-sized chunks and add to the pan.  Wash and cut the celery in the same size pieces as the carrots.  Add the spinach straight to the pan.  Cut the tomato into chunks and add to the pan.  Add the lentils and the water, stir everything so it is well covered with water.  Turn the heat down to a low simmer, cover the pot and leave to cook for at least 4-6 hours.  You can give it a stir a couple times but if the lid is tight-fitting you shouldn’t need to add more water.  An hour before you want to serve the stew peel and cut the potato into the same bite-sized pieces.  Add them to the stew and make sure they are submerged in the liquid so they can cook.  10 minutes before serving taste the stew and add salt and pepper to your taste.  Serve the stew hot in bowls over rice, mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or thick bread chunks.  If you want to use a CrockPot or other slow cooker follow the same instructions for browning the meat and onions and then deglazing with the beer or cider.  Scrape the bottom of the pan carefully to get up all the fond then put the food into the slow cooker.  Follow the rest of the instructions as written.  Enjoy.

 

Soup and Bedtime

Why, oh why must bedtime be such a struggle?  It never fails, come time to brush teeth and get in bed, that’s when the badly behaved monsters come out.  Not just the kids, I take full responsibility for my part – impatience, thy name is mama at bedtime.  I hate it.  Each night I promise myself, no yelling tonight, no frustration and then just when I think we might make it to sleeping child time without an outburst from me and naughty testing from them – bang.  I end up hating myself once again and they go to sleep with the taste of negativity.  They never seem to remember in the morning, but of course I do. 

At least tonight’s bedtime ritual started out ok, with their usual snack before bed.  It was bowls of fresh, hot soup.  Who eats soup in the summer, you might ask?  My great-grandfather claimed nothing was better than hot soup on a hot day as it makes you sweat and then you cool down.  There may be something flawed in that logic but nonetheless hot soup always has a place on our menu.  Try this great soup using fresh vegetables; it is a great way to use the sorrel you got from the CSA and don’t know what to do with it. 

Sausage, Lentil, and Rice Soup

  • 1 lb raw turkey sausage, without casing
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), chopped
  • 2 cups chopped or julienned sorrel or spinach
  • (you can also use corn fresh off the cob, shelled peas, chopped green beans, chopped kale or chard)
  • 1 large can chopped tomatoes
  • 3-4 tomato cans full of water
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 cup rice
  • oregano and basil (fresh if you’ve got them, dried otherwise)
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • drizzle of olive oil to cook sausage

Cook sausage in the bottom of a large soup pot in the oil, chopping it up so you get little bites.  Add in the chopped onions and cook a couple more minutes.  Add the tomatoes and scrape the bottom of the pot to get up all the fond.  Add the water, rest of the vegetables, lentils, and rice.  Cook until the lentils and rice are soft (a couple of hours should suffice.)  You can transfer the soup to a crock pot and leave it for several hours at this point.  When soup is basically cooked, add in herbs, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper.  Cook another half an hour then readjust salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a green salad, fresh bread, nothing at all, iced tea – whatever strikes your fancy.