The weather's getting cold, so of course it's some for a good, substantial, warm meal! Perhaps one of the heartiest of the warm meals is the stew: a fairly simple dish of vegetables, meats, and a fair amount of water. The trick to this stew is to use lamb cut from the bone, then to boil the bones with the rest of the ingredients for additional flavor.
- 4 1/2 lbs lamb shoulder chops (1 to 1 1/2" thick)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 medium-large onions, chopped coarse
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 lbs potatoes (Yukon Gold) cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut the meat from the bones, making sure to reserve the bones to the side. Trim the excess fat from the meat, then cut into 1 1/2" cubes. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it starts simmering. Add half of the meat to the dutch oven. Cook without moving until the sides touching the pod are well-browned. Turn each piece and continue to cook until most sides are well-browned. Transfer the meat to another medium bowl, then add another tablespoon of oil to the dutch oven and swirl it around to coat the pan. Brown the remaining lamb, then transfer the the medium bowl and set aside.
Lower the heat to medium, then add another tablespoon of oil and swirl. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon until the onions have browned (around 8 minutes). Add flour and stir until the onions are evenly coated.
Stir in 1 1/2 cups of water. Scrape the bottom and the edges of the pan with the wooden spoon to loosen anything left. Gradually add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water, making sure to stir constantly to dissolve the flour. Add the thyme and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer. Add the bones, then the meat and any accumulated juices. Return to a simmer, cover, then cook in the oven for an hour.
Remove the pot from the oven, then place the potatoes on top of the meat and bones. Cover and cook in the oven for another hour. before serving, remove from the oven then stir the potatoes into the liquid. Wait 5 minutes, and spoon off any fat that rises to the top. Stir in the parsley and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove the bones.