Lamb Stew with Root Vegetables and Dried Plums

Lamb Stew with Root Vegetables and Dried Plums

  • 1 1/2 pounds lamb for stewing, cut into chunks (or use half lamb and half beef, or substitute all beef)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small leek, sliced into rings (white and pale green parts only)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4-5 cups fat free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4-5 small parsnips, peeled or scrubbed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled or scrubbed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 small red potatoes (about 1/2 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 turnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup dried pitted plums, whole
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme

Season the meat with salt and pepper and toss with 2 tablespoons of the flour to lightly coat the meat.  In a dutch oven, or a heavy stock pot with a tightly-fitting lid, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat until it's hot enough that the meat sizzles when you place the meat in the oil.

Cook the meat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until mostly browned.  Remove the meat from the pan, place in a bowl, cover with foil and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan.  Add the leek and celery, with a pinch of salt, and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the red wine vinegar to de-glaze the pan and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon.  Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour into the pan, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add 4 cups of the chicken broth, the parsnips, carrots, potatoes, turnips, plums, bay leaves and thyme.  Return the meat to the pot.  Add a good pinch of salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to medium low to simmer steadily.  Simmer until the meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.  Add additional chicken broth if the stew is too thick for your liking, and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Serve alone, or with steamed rice.

Yields 4-6 servings.