Baking | Basque Lamb Stew … White Wine or Red? Surpisingly both!

“I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.”
W.C. Fields

Basque Lamb Stew Hello November. Here already? ALREADY?? With winter almost here, the Basque Lamb Stew is a good way to warm up … robust, hearty, full of flavour. It’s the time of the year when comfort food tops the list. Apple crumbles, mushroom soup, lamb and chicken curries, warm chocolate puddings, risottos, brownies, creamy cheesy pasta, ratatouille,  fresh bread, stew …

Basque Lamb Stew The lamb was meant for an Indian Lamb Stew or Gosht do Piaza, a hearty traditional Indian main. Yet some sour dough meant a loaf of fresh baked bread. The lamb thus headed for a continental makeover. Two recently gifted  bottles of wine from Four Seasons had me wanting to further my culinary skills. Google took me to Simply Recipes which had an interesting lamb stew recipe.

Basque Lamb Stew My knowledge of wine is pretty limited. A wine tasting session with a wine connoisseur some time back was enlightening. I  would like to cook with wine but am an under-confident ‘wine’ cook! I do however find wine glasses and goblets romantic, pretty too! 

Basque Lamb Stew Basque Lamb Stew was in the oven soon. Experimental cooking is always fun, and has been on the mind even more after our recent Ozzie MasterChef meeting. That rejuvenated us to think differently, creatively, out of the box, locally, internationally, responsibly … every virtual thought led to food!

Basque Lamb Stew Sangeeta’s Dark Chocolate Mousse, Parul’s Merluza en Salsa de Pinones, Ruchira’s Thai Eggplant Salad and Rekha’s Fresh Waterchestnuts, Arugula and Peach Salad reminded me of the lamb stew that was waiting in the wings! All these have the wine in common.

Basque Lamb StewThe Basque Lamb Stew was a huge step for someone like me who has always cooked traditional Indian lamb dishes. Making this dish, I thought often about the very talented Basque ex-pat Aran Goyoaga who writes on Basque country and her childhood. I heard of this beautiful region while reading her posts.

Basque Lamb StewThe stew was delicious, hearty, and an enticing red. There was something inspiring about it. Despite being cooked in a completely different manner, it still had slight undertones of my Indian stew or ‘ishtoo‘ as it is often called! Amazing! The wines gave very gentle flavour to the dish, while the roasted red peppers added most of the brilliant colour! {The sour dough bread is a tomato basil  one the recipe scraps of which I sadly misplaced!}

What keeps you warm in winter, dear reader? What is your favourite comfort food?

[print_this]Recipe: Basque Lamb Stew
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Summary: With winter almost here, this Basque Lamb Stew seems like a good way to warm up … robust, hearty, full of flavour. It’s the time of the year when comfort food tops the list. Adapted minimally from Simple Recipes. Serves 4-6.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours {plus marinating}
Ingredients:

  • 750gm lamb shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces {I used on the bone pieces}
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1 tbs dried rosemary {or sprig fresh rosemary}
  • 1/2 cup white wine {Four Seasons Pinot}
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 3 roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1 large ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry, full-bodied red wine {Four Seasons Barouque Reserve}
  • 1 cup vegetable stock 
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Combine the lamb, half of the garlic cloves, rosemary, and white wine in a medium bowl. I marinated this overnight though Elise calles for 2-3 hours.
  2. Drain the meat, discard the marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. {I reduced the remaining marinade while basting the second batch}
  3. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan with lid, over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch. Salt the meat as it browns. Remove the meat from the pan and add the onions to the pan. 
  4. Cook, scraping browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, until the onions are light brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  5. Return the meat to the pan with the onions and garlic. Stir in red chili flakes, roasted peppers, tomatoes, coriander, bay leaf, and red wine. 
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, allowing the liquids to reduce a bit. Then add the vegetable stock. {Either bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours}.
  7. OR transfer to an oven safe deep dish, cover tightly with foil and bake at 150C for 1 1/2 hours. 
  8. Add freshly ground black pepper and more salt to taste.
  9. Serve with rustic bread. 
  10. If you want, try garnishing with fresh mint leaves {as Elise says, “though I have no idea how “Basque” that is, it just tastes good.”

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