Monday, August 4, 2014

Lamb Stew with Golden Raisins

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Lamb Stew with Raisins
Ragout d’agneau aux Raisins
Serves: 4
Difficulty level: Easy

Lamb Stew with Golden Raisins

Ragout d’agneau aux Raisins, a dish served at a Benichon Feast (equivalent to Thanksgiving) in Fribourg, Switzerland, is a hearty and easy to make savory lamb stew that will have your guest swooning over the touch of sweetness from the scattering of golden raisins over tender lamb. The stew smells so good – wine aromas, fruity and meaty all at once – that it will make your mouth water.  After a single bite of tender lamb braised in red wine with garlic and golden raisins, you will be committed to add this to your weekend repertoire. Since it’s easy to make and serves a crowd, it is a favorite dinner-party dish.  I love serving it with mashed potatoes.
  • 2 Tb grapeseed oil (or canola)
  • 3 lbs boneless lamb shoulder or deboned lamb leg, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2Tb all-purpose flour
  • 2 C dry red wine
  • 1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme & 2 sprigs parsley tied with kitchen string)
  • 1 1-inch by 3-inch piece of orange zest
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, studded with 6 cloves
  • 5 ounces yellow raisins
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 3 whole star anise
  • Cooked mashed potatoes for serving

Heat grapeseed oil in a large, lidded casserole or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once warm, add half of lamb and cook until evenly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove and do the same with other half. Return original browned lamb to pan.  Season lamb with salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour over meat and stir to evenly coat pieces.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Browning the lamb

Pour off any excess cooking oil and liquid, reserving meat in pan. Add red wine and let simmer, stirring to deglaze cooking juices on bottom of pan, 5 minutes. Decrease heat to medium. Add bouquet garni, orange zest, garlic and onion and cook 2 minutes. Add raisins and spices, cover pan, lower heat and simmer evenly for 1 hour. Remove onion, cinnamon stick and star anise and serve over mashed potatoes.
Star Anise

Cloves embedded in onion
All the fixin's together for cooking the stew

You’ll love this simple and tasty meal – a departure from the usual…. Give it a try.  We loved it with a fruity Zinfandel but a Syrah or a Cabernet Sauvignon would work equally well.

Bon Appetit!


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