Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Call me Mary

Or maybe not. Because I've had more than a little lamb this week. I'll wait for you to stop groaning.

OK. It started when I read last week that fava beans are in season. That meant a trip to Berkeley Bowl.

Lamb and fava beans.

And I guess Poulet kind of had some influence because they made me remember another recipe I've been meaning to try. And what does lamb have to do with chicken? Well, for the month of April the Friday special at Poulet was a chicken tangine with apricots and pine nuts. I would have posted a photo when I had it but by the time I thought of taking a photo the food was gone.

Braised lamb with apricots and herb dumplings.

2 tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 pounds lamb, cut into 1" pieces
12 oz. pearl onions
3 cups button mushrooms
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth (Well, the recipe says one but I used a whole lot more.)
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 tbsp herbs (I used rosemary and oregano.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat oil in casserole on stovetop. Add lamb and cook until lamb is browned. Remove lamb from pan with slotted spoon and keep warm.

Add garlic, mushrooms, and onions to pan. Cook about five minutes.

Add lamb back to pan. Stir in tomato puree, apricots, wine and broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover.

Place covered casserole in oven and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Stir occasionally and add more broth as needed.

Mix shortening, flour and herbs together for dumplings. Add enough water to form dough -- about 1-2 tablespoons. Roll dough into small balls.

Increase oven temperature to 375. Remove lid from casserole and add dumplings to pan. Do not place too close together because they will need room to expand. Cook for another 20-25 minutes.


A word of warning. I don't really measure -- except for the stuff that went into the dumplings. And in the future I may not even measure exactly for those because I'm pretty good at eyeing measurements.

One of my coworkers said that it all sounds wonderful but she doesn't like lamb. I suggested that she try the recipe with beef instead. Or maybe I will. Because I once more have empty space in the freezer.

And it has been sad to read during this past week about all of the people going hungry all over the world. But like I've always said, if you show up on my doorstep, I will feed you. After all, I am the chick who will gladly buy a homeless person a meal. Like the guy at Safeway last fall (or was it summer) who was in line in front of me. Right before the cashier was going to ring up his stuff, the guy asked me if I could pay for his food. I did. And then there were all those kids who had forgotten lunch money when I was teaching ... Because I can be a soft touch like that. Because I don't think that anyone should go hungry.

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