Lambs ‘Bredie'(Stew) with Polenta and a recipe for added ‘oomph’

We are in Trondheim on our way to Sweden and the weather has turned very autumnal. I went for an early morning hike on the foot of the Bymarka , got lost and had to make my way through musty and woody forests, which reminded me why autumn is my favourite season of all!img_4307-1

I picked up some local lamb shoulder and decided to try and brew up the familiar taste of my mom’s kitchen.

I love a good fresh stock and I love making stock, I usually dedicate a day to stock making, filling the kitchen with lovely aromas. Unfortunately good old chicken oxo cubes will have to do on this occasion! This stew tastes even better the next day and that is exactly what we did when we had this for lunch after a rather unsuccessful morning of  fishing in Lapland the next day! 

And with that it is time to say goodbye to beautiful beautiful Norway! Thank you for having us, I say open some wine shops and drive faster.

 

Ingredients

Serves 4 generously

  • 1kg Lamb Shoulder cut into pieces (I like to add a few rump chops as well as they are less fatty and off course there is the marrow bone in the middle)
  • 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • 2 large onions finely sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 large potatoes peeled and diced
  • 500ml strong lamb or brown chicken stock – or 1 or 2 oxo cube of chicken stock : ( 
  • 250g polenta – quick cooking kind
  • 1 bag spinach (optional)

Spice Mix

  • 1 tspn coriander seeds
  • 1 tspn fennel seeds
  • 1 tspn paprika
  • 1/2 tspn clove
  • 1/2 tspn mixed spice (optional)
  • 2 tbspn tomato puree ( I love the Bomba brand)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise

Garnish

  • spinach leaves
  • parmesan – actually a pecorino would work better

Method

  1. Brown the meat well on all sides and set aside (browning = flavour and colour so take your time)
  2. Small pan dry fry the coriander and fennel seeds for a few minutes till fragrant, remove and crush in mortar and pestle
  3. Sautée the onions in a medium size pot till soft on a medium heat – they can take on a little colour
  4. Add the garlic cook for 2-3minutes
  5. Add the rest of the spice ingredients (paprika, tomato puree, cinnamon, star anise, fennel and coriander seeds, ground clove and mixed spice if using) stir till fragrant
  6. Add the meat back to the pot
  7. Add the tomatoes, hot stock making sure the meat is covered adding more stock if needed
  8. Gently simmer for 40minutes never allowing the mixture to boil
  9. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook until soft but not falling apart
  10. Take the meat and vegetables out
  11. Reduce the sauce
  12. Shred the meat quickly to prevent it from drying out or cover with a bit of sauce and discard any bones and sinew
  13. Add everything back into the pot
  14. Add the spinach just before serving making sure it is submerged into the sauce
  15. For the Polenta follow the cooking instructions – see kitchen notes +
  16. Test the seasoning of the polenta and the stew – see kitchen notes ++

To serve

  • Serve with a small spinach salad on the side
  • Serve with some chopped chillies on the side for guest to help themselves with
  • Serve with some grated pecorino or parmesan on the side

Kitchen Notes:

+ Polenta  – roughly start with 500ml of either stock or well seasoned water – bring up to the boil, start adding the polenta (quick cooking kind) and start whisking keeping an eye on the consistency as the polenta will start to thicken up pretty quickly after it starts to boil. WARNING: boiling polenta spit so reduce the temperature once it starts bubbling. You are aiming for a porridgy consistency. Just like risotto, polenta waits for no one, so have everyone ready by the table before you start cooking polenta. You can add 60g of finely grated parmesan/pecorino to the polenta if preferred – I find it does not really make that much of a flavour difference.

++ This is an important part just before serving, when the serious brewing starts, I like to tweek my stews with this and that and I am not ashamed to say that a little Worchester Sauce or teaspoon of Bovril sometimes do the trick when ‘oomph’ ingredients (like porcini dust) are limited.

Porcini Dust – heat the oven to 200c, place dried porcini mushrooms on a tray and roast for 3-5minutes till fragrant, place in a food processor (a thermomix works best but a spice grinder could also do the trick) and process to the finest consistency you can get. Sprinkle on most things for a kick of umami!

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