Spring for lamb!

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Spring makes me think of lamb, even though it is now available year-round. The milk-fed young lamb, however, would not be good for this dish, as it is braised (see my post “Cooked with Water”). This dish is perfect for late winter/early spring, because a warm pot of stew is still necessary with the last chill of winter in the air…

The recipe is from Patricia Wells’ Bistro Cooking:

2 tablespoons oil
2 pounds lean shoulder (or leg) of lamb cut into 2-inch cubes
salt and pepper
3/4 cup flour
2 cups dry white wine
4 onions
3 carrots
5 small tomatoes, chopped (or 3 tablespoons tomato paste)
2 bay leaves
several branches of thyme
several stems of parsley
finely chopped parsley leaves for garnish

1 pound dried lima beans or small white beans
3 carrots
2 onions
several bay leaves
several branches of thyme
several stems of parsley
2 ounces lardons (sliced slab bacon)
salt

Truc (Tip): If you don’t have time, or don’t want to take time, to cook the dried lima beans, you can use canned butter beans (which are lima beans) or some other white beans, like cannellini. Also, because the beans are added at the end, you can serve the pot of stew with something else instead, such as rice.

After soaking dried beans overnight, cover all ingredients for the beans with cold water, and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, until tender (up to a few hours).

Heat oil in a heavy pot and brown lamb in batches. Return all to pot, season, and toss in flour. Add wine and simmer for 10 minutes. Add other ingredients, and then water almost to cover. Place a lid on the pot and simmer for an hour (this can be done in the oven at 300 degrees). Combine with beans and serve.

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