If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I don’t publish many meat recipes. I believe in eating vegetables, fruits and dairy products- and cookies of course! However, I also believe if you’re smart about it, meat is good for you. Everything with moderation as they say… My work mentor told me once “I think we should eat meat, but we should make a right choice in terms of place where we buy it”. I follow a few general rules when I buy meat- by the way we eat it only during the weekends if any- and I make sure certain standards are met. First of all I eat meat from my parents farm, because I know they treat the animals with respect; and honestly I wish every animal had that kind of life as long as it lasts. I admire my mom for how she looks after the animals. The stories she told me about pigs are hilarious. Little piglets play with my mom like puppies. My dad used to bring them home so we could see how cute they were- and they are unbelievably cute, curious and fast! Did you know that pigs are very clean?? They divide the space they live on- in one corner the bedroom, in another one the bathroom. When the pig is about to deliver my mom spends the whole night with the future mom trying to help and comfort her. We had a turkey which was seating with us at the table. In the end my parents decided to spare its life, as they simply couldn’t eat it. My dad has a huge collection of pigeons. In the summer time, when it’s hot outside my mom brings our cow back to the stable- she told me once “if it’s too hot for me, I stay at home, the cow feels exactly the same so I have no heart to leave it outside”. We always had at home some hamsters, birds, dogs and cats. I remember my dad spending hours under the bed and trying to catch one of our hamsters when it escaped from the cage. He was desperate, at the same time we had fun watching him. It’s also true that we ate meat, but there was a harmony between the people and the animals. My parents feed the animals with what they eat. Apples, potatoes, wheat, and many other things which you would find on our table are shared with the pigs, cows, chickens or ducks. Most of these foods come from our fields. Everyone and everything has its own space, place and purpose. I never buy meat in supermarkets- I can only imagine where it comes from. I have two butchers where I order the meat I would like to have. I trust them. I did the same when I lived in Dublin, and I know that most of my friends do the same. Don’t get me wrong. I understand if someone has a big family and buys meat products in big chain stores. I know these are tough times we live in, and we have to feed our families. I make my personal effort in something I believe, and I can only keep doing it, and trying to encourage other people around me to eat less meat but better quality, and most of all with the conscious, that the animals we eat had a good life, were treated with respect, knew the taste of real grass and could see the sun.
As for this recipe, I admit I made this stew some time ago. It was delicious, but I didn’t like the pictures so I decided not to share the recipe. Two weeks ago I looked at the pictures once again with “a fresh eye” and thought maybe I could “save” a few of them and post it here. Some of you might wonder why I added red quinoa. Well, it looks like it’s a fancy thing these days. I didn’t know how this experiment was going to turn out, but in the end it was worth it. I’m sure I will be making it more often with addition of red quinoa. I hope you’re going to enjoy this lamb stew like we did.
Makes 4 medium size servings, preparation time- 30 min, cooking time- 2 hours, marinating time- overnight or at least 3-4 hours
- 600 g of leg of lamb- however what I do is, I usually buy two different kinds of lamb meat- one more expensive and a bit of less expensive and mix them together- it’s also for the combination of different flavors
- 4 big carrots
- 3 potatoes
- 3 onions
- 3-4 bay leaves
- half a glass of red quinoa
- glass of red wine
- 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of red pepper
- pinch of black pepper
- sea salt- half a teaspoon
- rosemary- as much as you like- remember to chop it
- 2 cloves of garlic
- half a glass of red wine
In advance prepare the marinade. Crush the garlic, and combine all ingredients in a big glass bowl. Add the meat and mix altogether for a few minutes. Add half a glass of red wine, mix again and leave it in a cold place for the whole night- or in the fridge. I made this stew in the morning- just to be able to take some pictures, but you can easily leave it in the fridge until the late afternoon.
Once the meat is marinated properly, fry it for about 25-30 min in a big sauce pan- I have an oval one Le Creuset 26 cm of diameter- add some water if you think there is not enough of the marinade. Try not to burn the meat, it should get sort of golden, nice color by the end. After 30 minutes add the wine, bay leaves, and some more water- about half a glass and let it cook for another 30 min. You can stir occasionally. While the meat is cooking on a low fire, slice the carrots, chop finely the onions and potatoes and add them to the stew. Again you can add some more water, and also some salt and black pepper if you feel like. Since the cooking time is about two hours, you will be adding the red quinoa during the last half hour. Red quinoa needs abut 20 minutes to cook, and maybe 5-10 to rest. Remember that quinoa will absorb the sauce, so add some more water and keep checking on the sauce regularly. You don’t want it to be too thick. Instead of water you can add some red wine- that’s what I did anyway- never enough wine in a stew…
After two hours the lamb should be very soft, almost melting, and the sauce is very rich in a wine flavor. Set the stew aside for another 10-15 minutes with the lid on. The quinoa needs this time to “rest”, and after that is delicious, because it absorbs the aroma of the lamb, the vegetables and red wine. I was surprised with the final result. I served this stew with homemade bread and red wine, however I’m sure you will know how you’re going to have it for your dinner 🙂