Friday, December 27, 2013

Leftover Lamb Stew

Near the end of the year, when we're trying to find space to put all our leftovers from Christmas Eve, Christmas dinner and my stepdad's birthday (three events one day after the other!), my mom and I will go through a "freezer purge". Everything that we can't identify within a minute or so gets tossed, along with things that have lived there since last Christmas and those that we know just won't get used. Some things that would normally be chucked, like vegetables from Sunday dinners (living in both the freezer and the fridge), I consolidate into a ziploc for stock-making. Cooked meat that nobody seems to want more of goes into another "soup and stew" bag, and between those two items and combined bags of frozen berries from the summer and rhubarb from the spring we finally have the ability to see the back of the chest freezer! 

One of the items that I pounced upon during this season's clean-out was a bag of cooked lamb souvlaki cubes left over from my stepbrother's birthday dinner. I knew we had lots of leftover beer, potatoes and carrots from the holiday potluck, plus the omnipresent onions and garlic in our pantry - all the key ingredients for a killer pot of warming stew. Because the meat was a little tough from being cooked, reheated, held in warming trays and then frozen, it took a few hours of slowly simmering it until it became fall-apart tender again (the beer definitely helped that out too!). Seasoning was simple thyme and pepper, perfect for the rustic texture of the dish. The pot emanated aromas of grandma's cooking from when I was a kid, combined with some of my dad's specialties and just a whiff of the Greek diner where our souvlaki originated from, and when served up it was nothing but a bowl of sheer, bone-warming comfort - perfect for these chilly Winter nights!

Leftover Lamb Stew

Leftover Lamb Stew
Serves 6
2 tbsp camelina or olive oil (I used Karlene’s Veg-licious Camelina Oil)
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz carrots, chopped
1 1/2 lbs red skinned new potatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 lb roasted lamb meat, cubed
1 (12 oz) can or bottle India Pale Ale (I used Nickel Brook Headstock IPA)
2 cups water
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp coarse-ground black pepper
salt to taste
3 tbsp brown Veloutine (or cornstarch + water for slurry)
  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, carrots and potatoes and cook just until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the lamb, IPA, water, thyme and pepper and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3 hours, until meat begins to fall apart and vegetables are tender.
  6. Uncover, add salt to taste and bring to a boil.
  7. Add Veloutine or cornstarch slurry and cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened. 
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 345.6
Total Fat: 12.3 g
Cholesterol: 67.5 mg
Sodium: 81.2 mg
Total Carbs: 29.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.4 g
Protein: 23.5 g