Friday, March 16, 2012

Italian Lamb and White Bean Stew with Kale

Got great Farmer's Market news last night - Leyden Glen Farm has been officially accepted into the Amherst Farmer's Market as a full-time vendor member. Why is this a big deal, you ask? You can't believe how important this is for our farm... it means we will be on The Common every Saturday beginning April 21st selling our lamb until late November. We've been sweating it out, wondering if there will be space for us and if we would be accepted (last year we were there as guest vendors). Thank you AFM!

To celebrate, I'm sharing with you a new recipe for our lamb stew meat. I worked this one up thinking about the busy lives everyone has and tried to make it a little more friendly to stressed out Moms who are just trying to get dinner on the table (that would be me).  Because I was using stew meat, which needs to be cooked low and slow to help it all fall apart, this isn't a recipe that can be made in 20 minutes. It is one you can start one day, cooking the lamb with the onions, etc. slowly, then stick in the fridge overnight and finish up quickly the next day. I cook a lot like that, working things out over a couple days. I've noticed that many magazines are talking about that way of cooking too - doing the majority of the work one day (maybe on a Sunday) and then finishing things up quickly on weeknights. It's a good plan but you really have to make it a priority in your life. So many people nowadays are looking to get their families back together at the table and this is one way to do it.

I added kale to my Italian Lamb and White Bean Stew. I grow Lacinato Kale every summer and we love it. It is a beautiful plant, very hardy and many times, I can keep harvesting it into the winter (until the deer or sheep eat it). This particular variety is very tasty and architecturally gorgeous as it grows taller and taller and you keep harvesting the lower leaves. Kale is such a buzz veggie now. I noticed just last week at the Winter Market how many people were attracted to this recipe because of the addition of kale. The Valley Locavore did a whole series of recipes and posts about kale.

Do you know the "Eat More Kale" guy from Vermont? There's a good interview with him here on our local WRSI podcast. He is fighting "Chick-Fil-A" who says he can't use his slogan "eat more kale" because theirs is "eat more chicken." There is a Kick-Starter campaign going on now to raise funds to make a documentary about it. (Looks like they are coming up short with 9 days to go.)

Italian Lamb and White Bean Stew with Kale


This recipe is a great way to introduce lamb to your kids and friends who perhaps have not tried it before. Lamb and white beans are a classic Italian combination. This stew can serve from 4 to 8 people by extending it with extra beans. I have added kale for texture and health but you could use any greens available (frozen spinach works if that is all you have available). If you leave out the potatoes, it makes a nice sauce over gnocchi or pasta. 

1 pound lamb stew meat
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken or lamb stock
    or red or white wine
1 - 14 oz. can of tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cans white beans
2 stalks celery chopped into 1/4” pieces
4 large carrots peeled and sliced
2 potatoes
1/2 bunch kale
    or 10 oz. box of frozen spinach

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Peel and mince garlic. Chop onions into small dice. Heat olive oil in a lidded dutch oven. Brown onions and garlic taking care not to burn the garlic. Add lamb stew meat and brown lamb on all sides. Drain off excess fat.  Add the can of tomatoes, the stock or wine, bay leaves, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Place in a 250 degree oven and cook covered for 2 to 3 hours or over a very low heat on top of your stove. (Alternately, use a slow cooker.) The lamb should be falling apart. Skim fat off top of liquid. (If you do this the day ahead, chill the stock and the fat can be removed easily.)

Peel and chop carrots diagonally so they remain largish. Peel and chop the potatoes into 1 inch chunks. Remove the stems from the kale. Chop the kale into slivers about 1/2” wide. Add all veggies (except for canned white beans) to lidded pot, adding extra water if it is too dry and there is danger of it burning. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are to your liking. Add the drained white beans and cook until they are warmed through.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a little grated parmesan. If you have leftovers, add a little extra stock and use as a pasta sauce.

There's a lot going on in Boston this weekend. For knitters, there's the Annual Yarn Crawl. From what I can figure, it is being hosted by the stores north of Boston. In town, it's St. Patrick's Day and that means South Boston will be wearing the green. If you haven't ever been to the Parade in Southie, it's quite an experience. You won't believe all the knitted Aran sweaters that people pull out along with many crocheted versions. Julia and I will be there visiting friends. She is so looking forward to it. 


Adaliza said...

I'm going to have a go at this over the weekend with luck. It looks delicious and I love white beans. Maybe I'll have to wait for the Farmers Market to get the kale though. Thanks for the recipe.

Auntie Shan said...

Seriously? Girlfriend! HOW could AFM *not* add You Guys on? You're probably Their most wide-spread source of FREE advertising!

BTW, Congrats on the "600" G-Followers mark! [sooo jealous!]

MicheleinMaine said...

This looks like another winner! We love your Lamb and Lentil stew and just had some last week!

Congrats on the AFM!

Jules Means said...

Yay! Congratulations on getting into the Farmer's Market :))) This recipe looks amazing. Do you think it will be okay to start it in the dutch oven on the stove and then pour it into the slow cooker crock pot? That's what I do with beef stew and things that I want to fall apart. I can't wait to try this- Jules

Kristin Nicholas said...

Yes Jules - that will work! Go for it. Yummy.

technikat said...

Congrats on your vendor position and thanks for the recipe. It looks like another win.

It's funny how vegetables have their time in style. Kale's time is now. I have to admit that I have only recently tried it while working to add more greens to our diet.

Desiree said...

I absolutely love these plates - could you tell me more about them?

zumbaqueen said...

That stew looks delicious, I hope that you blow up the photo, laminate it and hang it in the market. Imagine the lamb that you would sell!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe. It sounds wonderful and I have been trying to use more kale. Could I cook the lamb in a crockpot and then finish it up for dinner?

Caffeine Girl said...

Congratulations on getting into the Farmer's Market. We have a huge one here in Madison, so I know how important they can be. Our is so popular that I refuse to go at peak times: too crowded!

Thanks for the recipe. It looks great; I'm sure I'll give it a try!

bookagent said...

So glad you are now a permanent vendor at the Market! I can't wait to give thie recipe a try. I am cooking more and more in stages over a couple of days. Love recipes that fit that model. Thanks.


Kate/Massachusetts said...

I made your recipe today and it was a major hit with my family! I did not have any lamb so I used chicken thighs and a bit of kielbasi sausage; tossed it all in the crockpot and went about my day. When I came home, I added the beans and fresh spinach. It was really, really good! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Gwen said...

We had this for dinner last night. So Very Good! It's going right into the make-ahead-meals rotation. Thank you!

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