Lamb stew

Very simple to prepare, yet delicious. Perfect for cold winter nights. I’ve split the ingredients into the essentials - which make a perfectly good stew - and a few optional extras, if you want to be a bit fancy.

Serve hot with crusty bread warmed in the oven, and dry stout or pinot noir.

Ingredients

Optional additions

Directions

Keep most of the lamb on the bone, but cut the meat off one bone or a chunk of one, for the stock. Boil the bone in a litre of water; cut the ends off the onion and put that in too. Simmer on a back burner.

Meanwhile, peel all the root vegetables. Heat the oil in a large pot on high heat. Brown all the pieces of lamb, all over, remove from the pot and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium and fry the onions (and the garlic, if using, finely chopped). If you’re using thyme and oregano, pluck them off their stems and add them as the onions soften.

Before the onions brown, add the carrots, chopped to discs about 1cm thick (and the parsnips, if you’re using them, cut the same way), stir and cook for a few minutes. If you’re using the white wine, this is a good time to pour it over and let it mostly evaporate. Cut the potatoes (and swedes and parsnips if you’re using them) into big chunks, about 3cm across. Kipfler potatoes are nice because you can cut them into sections.

Now put the lamb back into the pot, along with the bay leaf. Stir, then pour in enough stock so that the meat and vegetables are like islands rising to about 5cm above the level of the liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer.

Check the stew. You won’t need to stir it much. When it’s ready, the potatoes will be soft but not disintegrating (test them with a fork) and the lamb will be just about to fall off the bone (push the flesh with a knife) but not quite.