Friday, April 20, 2007

really meaty very easy stew

trussed for grooming

As has been noted here before, my darlin’ companion and I have different culinary priorities. I like my veggies diverse and piled high – he’d prefer they stay off the plate to make more room for the meat and roots.

Found a lovely little something of a stew that made us both happy and cooked up nice while I was working from home this week nursing a cold. You’ll definitely need a weekend to pull this one off if you’re not usually home during the day – the mix up part is quick and easy, but it wants four hours in the oven. We still have a little nip of winter left here, so this meat and potato stew slow-cooked in olive oil and lemon juice was perfectly appropriate – stick to ribs with just a hint of the warm weather to come.

Original recipe with my modifications:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup water

(This is for the adventurous souls who are going to seal their dutch oven with a lid of dough – I used tinfoil. So sue me.)

1/4 lb veal
(I hear humane veal is now available, but I was too tired to hunt so I skipped it)
¾ lb lamb, cubed for stew
¾ lb pork, cubed for stew
(I got away with ½ lb of each meat – there were only two of us eating off this pot)
2 celery ribs (don’t like celery so much, so I left it out)
3 – 4 medium carrots, cut into rounds
4 – 6 medium potatoes, cut into big stew-y cubes
3 large onions (I got away with one monster)
4 garlic cloves, minced (doubled it)
1 heaping tablespoon of oregano
Strained fresh juice of 2 ½ lemons
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
(Use good salt. Always. From the sea. Large granules. You know what I’m talking about.)

If you’re making the dough, place flour in a medium-sized bowl and make a well in the center. Add water and stir with a fork to form dough. Knead until smooth and set aside, covered.

Or just pull out the tinfoil like I did.

In a large glass or clay casserole dish or dutch oven [1] combine everything.

Yep. That easy.

Now cover it up and bake it for 3 ½ to 4 hours in an oven set to around 275 to 300 degrees. If you’re using tinfoil, don’t be tempted to lift the lid to look inside. Just leave it alone. It’ll be just fine. (If you’re using dough over the top you won’t have the same temptation.)

Then, when your nose tells you it’s ready -- somewhere between that 3.5 and 4 hr mark -- turn off the oven and let it set for 20 to 30 minutes. You can take it out of the oven if you think it’s farther gone than you’d like. But LEAVE THE LID ON.

Meanwhile, rustle up whatever you want to go with it (Green salad? Chilled bottle of Retsina? It is a Greek recipe, after all. Maybe some of that crusty white bread with the sesame seeds on top…)

Okay. 4+ hours have passed? You can lift the lid now. Be prepared to be particularly pleased with your meal.

Freely adapted from The Food and Wine of Greece by Diane Kochilas

[1] I use glazed cast iron myself.

pig in a poke


anniemcq said...

I loved reading this, but laughed out loud at the "four hours" part. As well as the dough lid part.

You are an adventurous cook, my friend! What a fun read.

enyasi said...

Especially loved the pictures of the lamb and pig. Will have to try this in the winter.. Believe it or not, it is getting too hot here in Seattle for the oven to be on four hours.

narthex said...

this sounds yummy Dayna! even in San Diego, the weather has turned dramatic and cloudy and cold so a stew is so on!

i'll let you know how it comes out... :D

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