Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's cold! Lamb Stew!

When it's cold I like a hearty stew; and if you're going to make stew, you might as well make a few gallons of it -- you eat as much as you like over a day or two, and then you can freeze individual servings, or, as I do, pressure can them.  I like to pressure can because it's shelf-stable -- doesn't take up valuable freezer space, and it's really not that hard to do.    You'll find canning instructions at the bottom of this post.  Canning really isn't very hard. 


  30-40 medium red potatoes (3-4lbs)
  25-30 large carrots (3lbs)
  1 leg of lamb, boned
  2 or 3 large onions
  1 bunch of celery
  1.5  gallons lamb stock or chicken stock
  3 cups of red wine
  6 cups frozen peas
  1/2 cup Roux


  Trim most of the fat off, and then cut the leg of lamb into 1.5" cubes, as shown.  I like a rustic stew and find that the lamb survives the cooking better if it's in bigger hunks. 

Brown the lamb in batches -- go for a good, brown crust.  I like a couple of table spoons of olive oil to help the process, but the fat of the lamb will render and do the same thing.  This step is pretty important for both taste and texture.   I've also browned them using a big propane torch (read:  weed burner) and found that worked as well.   A little bit of crust or char really makes it tasty.   I don't put flour on the meat at this point -- I find that it doesn't add any flavor for me, and it doesn't do well for canning.  So I'm browing just the meat here.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

As each batch of meat browns I add it to the pot.  Layer of meat, layer of carrots.  Layer of meat, layer of onions, etc.   I'm aiming for all of the ingredients to be about the same size.  I like lots of carrots myself. 

Layer of potatoes

I like red wine in a stew because it adds a layer of flavor and complexity to the broth of the stew, and I think it brings out flavors that wouldn't otherwise be present. 

Add the liquids and bring the whole pot to a boil, reducing to a bare simmer until the vegetables are soft.   At the end of this, add the roux until you get the desired consistency.  I like a thicker gravy in my stew.    Salt to taste. 

Add the frozen peas just prior to serving.  You want them plump and green when you eat the stew.
Serve with warm buttered sourdough for dipping. 

This recipe makes about 3 gallons. 

Part 2, pressure canning the stew: 

I like quart bottles because that's about what I can eat in a day.  It's a hearty lunch, or with a salad or hunk of bread, a good dinner. 

8 quart bottles, lids and rings. 

Boil bottles, lids and rings.

Bring stew to a boil.

Carefully ladle in stew until you're within 1" of the top of the jar.

Wipe the lip of the jars with a clean paper towel to ensure a good seal.

 Put the lid on and hand-tighten the lid. 

Process in a Pressure canner for 90 minutes at 15lbs pressure, or according to manufacturers instructions.  I use that particular type of pressure canner, but any commercial pressure canner will work for this.


Susan from the Pacific Northwest said...

Yum!!! Do you sell lamb?

Bruce King said...

I'm hoping to have 20 or 25 lambs for sale this july -- just expanded my sheep flock this year.

Inger Tee said...

Does cooking the food twice, once in the pot, once in the canner, make the vegetables mushy?