Autumn Lamb Stew

One of the best ways I have found to save money is look for discounted meat in the meat section of my grocery store. Usually they decrease the price of items that have an sell-by date two days away, so they reduce the prices a lot. There's nothing wrong with these cuts of meat, so I snatch up several packages of them and use some for the week immediately and then store some in the freezer. I have acquired quite a bit of lamb this way. Lamb is pretty expensive where I live, but if I buy thrift meat I can get lamb for $5/lb or less, which is really affordable compared to the original price. Most of the thrift pieces are quite small, so I have many packages of the meat so I can combine them in one recipe. On my latest venture to the thrift section, I acquired a small leg of lamb roast---about 1 lb of meat, plus the leg bone. It really was too small to cook as a roast and I didn't want to make it into kebabs because leg roast is really ideal for braising and stewing. Therefore, I chose to cut it up and use it in my first lamb stew. I haven't eaten lamb stew, though I have had my share of beef stew, which I love. One of the biggest issues with making stew without using flour is that there really isn't a you just end up with soup. One way to help give the soup more texture is to add gelatin, which can form in homemade broth. Another easy way to add gelatin is to put a bone into the soup you are making (which I did, and it did add more unctuousness to the broth). Another way I added texture to the soup was by using pureed vegetables. I had part of a can of pumpkin in the fridge, and that combined with other pureed vegetables yielded the perfect stew texture! I don't think many people would tell the difference between my vegetable-thickened sauce and a flour-based sauce. Plus it's a good way to fit in one of my favorite fall veggies, pumpkin!

Autumn Lamb Stew
Printable Recipe

1 tbsp olive oil
l lb cubed lamb stew meat (if the meat came from a leg roast, save the leg bone to add to the stew)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 large carrot, sliced
1 large white sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed dried rosemary
1 tsp dried parsley
1 bay leaf
3 cups chicken or beef broth
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Season the meat, and the bone, if using, with salt and pepper, and brown thoroughly. Remove the meat and bone from the pan and add to the crock of the slow cooker.
2. Add the tomato paste to the skillet and stir into the pan drippings to soften. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, stirring the wine and tomato paste together. Pour the mixture over the meat, then add the rest of the ingredients except the pumpkin. Cook for 6-8 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.
3. Before serving, remove about 1/2 cup each of the broth and some of the potatoes, carrots, and onions. Add them to the base of a blender or a bowl and use an immersion blender. Blend the broth and vegetables. Add the pumpkin to the puree and blend again until combined; add more broth if needed. Transfer the vegetable puree to the crockpot and stir to combine. Cover and re-warm, about 20 min. Remove the bone and bay leaf and serve immediately.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,