Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Grub It Up: Cinnamon Lamb Stew with Orange Gremolata over Paleo "Rice"

You might have noticed that it's been a while since we posted a recipe. Part of that is just because we traveled so much at the end of summer that mom didn't have a whole lot of time to cook. And part of it is because we ate indulgently all summer and mom decided she needed a reset. So, for the last few weeks she's been participating in a Paleo challenge: no processed foods, no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no soy, no sugar, no alcohol, no white potatoes, and no veggie oils. What the heck has she been eating, you ask? Beats us. She was pretty cranky in the beginning, but she's settled in now and started cooking some yummy things, including this stew. No word yet on whether or not she'll stick with it, but we're happy to have her do it if we get fab dinners like this.

We know that on the east coast, summer is stubbornly hanging on, but we're all kind of ready for fall. So when mom spotted this stew in her favorite new cookbook, "Well Fed," by Melissa Joulwan, mom knew we had to give it a try. Lamb stew meat was on sale at Whole Foods this week, so we tested out the recipe with that (we changed a few other things as well based on what was in our pantry). YUM. The whole house smelled delish and Kane and I both chowed (in full disclosure, I happen to love lamb. Kane does not, so mom told him it was steak. He gave her a few funny looks during dinner, but ate it anyway). Kane and I are not partaking in the Paleo challenge, so mom served our meat over brown rice with a side of butter/cinnamon/salted carrots -- our favorite veggie, which just so happened to go perfectly with this dish. She also knew better than to sprinkle gremolata (also known as "green stuff" to the kids) on ours. Instead, to keep the flavors similar, she served us a few clementines on the side.

Mom plans on making double the recipe next time and freezing some (although she thinks she'll make the gremolata fresh each time). She ladled hers over Joulwan's basic cauliflower rice, which, at this point, apparently tasted pretty darn close to real rice.

Cinnamon Lamb Stew with Orange Gremolata 
(slightly adapted from Melissa Joulwan's same beef stew recipe)

- 2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces (use beef stew if you/your kiddos don't like lamb)
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (olive oil would also work if you aren't into coconut oil)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 - 5 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cinnamon sticks

Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat, then add the meat in batches and sear on all sides. Remove browned pieces to a bowl to catch their juice.

In the same pot, saute the chopped carrot, onion, celery, and garlic for about 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the tomato paste and stir for about 1 minute.

Deglaze the pan by adding the broth and vinegar and scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring until the mixtures starts to thicken.

Put the meat and its drippings back into the pot. Add 3 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and cinnamon sticks.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer with the pot only partially covered for about 90 minutes. If the stew starts to get too dry, add more water, about 1/2 cup at a time (we didn't have to do that). Simmer until the meat is fall-apart tender and the liquid in the pan has been reduced to a gravy-like status.

Orange Gremolata
(slightly adapted from Melissa Joulwan's recipe)

- 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- zest and juice from 2-3 clementines (or 1 orange) (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

Directions: Mix all ingredients and set aside to be sprinkled over stew.

Paleo Rice
(Melissa Joulwan's basic rice recipe)

- 1 large head fresh cauliflower
- 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (again, you could substitute olive oil here)

Break the cauliflower into florets, removing the stems. Place the florets in a food processor and pulse until it looks like rice. About 10-15 one-second pulses.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of oil (allow to melt if necessary). Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Toss in the riced cauliflower and saute until the cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

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