Corabel and Martin Shofner hosted a fun Twelfth Night dinner party one cold January night. When we arrived, the aroma of rosemary and lamb wafted out of the kitchen door. A magnificent lamb stew simmered on the stove, and we gobbled it down with crusty bread. This is an entree both to serve at home—ask others to bring a green salad, some crusty bread, a good bottle of red wine, and a chocolate or cherry dessert—and to tote to another location. The stew can be made ahead and packed in quart-size glass jars to take with you.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds lean leg of lamb, cubed (about 4 cups)
2 medium-size onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
8 medium-size cloves garlic, minced
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth or beef broth
2 cups canned white beans, rinsed and drained
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, crushed in your hand
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the lamb and brown well on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes. To avoid crowding, you may need to do this in batches, adding only enough lamb to cover the bottom of the pan, then removing it and browning more. Set all of the browned lamb aside.
2. Add the onions and garlic to the saucepan and cook, stirring, until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and let it come to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the cooked bits. Add the reserved lamb, white beans, carrots, rosemary, and bay leaf. Cover the pan and reduce the heat as needed to let the stew simmer until the meat is cooked through and tender, about 1 hour.
3. Season the stew with salt and pepper to taste and remove and discard the bay leaf before serving.
BIG BATCH: You can easily double and triple the stew, using a large pot or Dutch oven.
Once the stew has cooled, transfer it to clean quart jars or plastic storage containers.
Or, tote the stew right in the cooking pot. Le Creuset pans are wonderful for both cooking and toting because the lids are heavy and secure so nothing leaks out in transit.
When you arrive, reheat the stew on site over medium-low heat, stirring it until it comes to a boil, 10 to 15 minutes.