This recipe for meaty, nutritious lamb stew is adapted from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (2001). Ms. Fallon has had the biggest impact on my cooking style lately, and I can highly recommend ALL of her cookbooks for cooks of all ages and experience levels. Please click here to view a list of her published works. It is also inspired by a wonderful beef stew recipe from my mother-in-law, which we've been making for years. If you have a 6-quart stone baking dish to use in the oven, this works better than the Lodge enameled Dutch ovens that I love for pretty much everything else; they can be nearly impossible to clean after using in the oven for stew! Stretch it to serve more by upping the amount of vegetables & potatoes you add. Adding more beef broth will result in a more soupy consistency, if you prefer your stews that way.
1 lb. lamb stew meat (grass-fed)
2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
Ghee (clarified butter) for frying meat
Baby bella mushrooms, to taste (I usually use 4-6 medium-sized ones)
1/2 of a medium white onion, peeled & diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled & minced, or pressed through a garlic press
Red wine (about 1/3 cup)
Turnips or potatoes, to taste, peeled and chopped (nice fresh turnips and new potatoes can be washed and scrubbed instead)
Carrots, to taste, peeled and chopped
Fresh sprigs of thyme and rosemary, or dried if you don't have fresh (about 1 tsp. each)
2 Bay leaves
1/2 tsp. each freshly-ground black pepper and Celtic sea salt
4 cups homemade beef bone broth*, or low-sodium beef broth from the store
Heat oven to 300° F. Cut the lamb stew meat into bite-sized pieces (if necessary). Place the lamb in a large bowl with 2 Tbsp. flour; toss gently to coat all the pieces. Meanwhile, scoop enough ghee into a cast-iron Lodge skillet to coat the bottom, and warm over medium heat. (Watch out! never leave hot oils unattended or in reach of children, and don't set the heat so high that the oil "pops" and burns you.) Brown the flour-coated meat, one side at a time, until nicely crusted (the flour forms a crusty coating that enhances the lamb's flavor. My cats always come into the kitchen asking for handouts at this point). Place browned meat in a large, oven-proof baking dish with a lid.
Deglaze the pan with red wine over high heat (and hey, drink a little while you're at it), then add onions and mushrooms and sauté over medium-high heat until soft and aromatic, about 8 minutes. Add more ghee if it starts to dry out. Spoon mixture over lamb, and top with garlic.
Top the mixture with turnips/potatoes and carrots (my dogs come in looking for carrot bits at this point...they love carrots!). Sprinkle herbs and salt/pepper on top. At our house, whoever gets the bay leaf in their soup bowl has to do the dishes! Pour the beef broth over top, as much as you need to cover the lamb and veggies. Cover and cook for 1 hour, then reduce heat to 250 ° F and cook for another 5-7 hours or until lamb is very tender. Add more broth, as needed, if too much evaporates during the cooking process. I think the steaming, earthy broth is the very best part of any stew.
Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy!
*For the best resource I've found on making homemade bone broth, please see Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World by Sally Fallon Morell (2014).