CLASSIC ROCK BANDS RECIPE #17
A TRADITIONAL, YET UNORDINARY, LAMB STEW
I’ve been saving this one for a while. The mighty Led Zeppelin. The kings of Classic Rock N Roll. Most people’s favorite all time band … and mine, too. This recipe comes from the song, Boogie With Stu, from the album, Physical Graffiti, which is really a cover of the Ritchie Valens’ tune from the fifties, Ooh My Head. So, we get to merge the name together to create our mythical land of Bougaewythe which would ever make J.R.R. Tolkien smile. Well maybe George R.R. Martin anyway.
The poetic licenses not withstanding we also have full creativity on how to construct our stew. Once again, I am very partial to lamb as the perfect stew meat especially if our beloved Bougaewythe exists somewhere in the British Isles or Ireland. I like a more rustic stew that Sam might have made for Frodo one night under the stars, yet we add a few delicacies that a king like Aragorn or a lord such as Ned Stark might have fancied. On the rustic side I include potatoes and turnips except that instead of a white turnip we use the more tasteful rutabaga. I also include cream sherry which you don’t find many chefs use in their recipes. I like the flavor it gives but you can use any type of sherry you want. And of course, the very upscale inclusion of the porcini mushroom which you find in many Italian stews that is definitely a luxury item. All in all, this is a very personalized dish perfect for a fictitious place that only exists in its creator’s imagination. If I ever do start the adult fantasy novel I’ve been planning a lot of Bougaewythe shall be revealed. Wherever it exists.
½ oz. dried Porcini Mushrooms
¼ cup Olive Oil, divided
2 lbs. Lamb shoulder, cut into pieces
Kosher or coarse Sea Salt, to taste
Fresh cracked Black Pepper, to taste
1 medium Yellow Onion, peeled and chopped
2 large Carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
12 oz. Dutch Yellow Baby Potatoes, washed, cut in half if necessary, and peeled if desired
1 medium Rutabaga, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
4 oz. sliced Cremini Mushrooms
3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and chopped
½ cup Cream Sherry. Sherry, Tawny Port, or Madeira
4 cups Lamb or Beef Stock
1 TBSP Rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1 TBSP Thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen Peas, at room temperature
Fresh Mint leaves torn for garnish,
- In a small bowl, place the dried Porcini Mushrooms and add just enough hot water to cover. Allow Mushrooms to soak for 20 minutes. Remove Mushrooms from water and squeeze out as much water as possible for each. Reserve Mushroom liquid in bowl. Slice Mushrooms if too large.
- In a 5-qt. stockpot heat 2 TBSP Olive Oil on medium high
- Add the Lamb and season with Salt and Pepper. Brown on all sides about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the Lamb from the pot and keep warm in a bowl.
- Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the remaining 2 TBSP Olive Oil to the pot. Add the Onion, Carrots, Potatoes, and Rutabaga to the pot. Season with Salt and Pepper. Cook turning often for 10 minutes.
- Add the Cremini Mushrooms and cook 4 minutes longer
- Add the Garlic and Porcini Mushrooms and cook 1 more minute
- Add the Cream Sherry and raise the heat back up to medium high. Reduce by half. About 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the Rosemary and the Thyme. Add some more Salt and Pepper to taste and stir a few times.
- Add the Stock and the reserved Porcini Mushroom liquid. Bring to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer.
- Simmer uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated and the stew has a rich thick broth. About 1 ½ hours.
- Add the Peas before turning off the heat to cook through for a minute or two
- Remove from the heat and serve into soup bowls or shallow dishes. Garnish with torn Mint leaves.
WINE PAIRING: You would expect Tyrion Lannister or Bilbo Baggins to enjoy this rustic stew with a pot of small ale as would one in Shakespeare’s time and a good Stout, Ale, or Porter from England or Ireland would work. But remember The Imp also was a connoisseur of fine wine and I think that is a better choice here. This dish is designed to marry well with a lot of red wines traditionally grown along the Mediterranean countries my top choice would be a Rioja from Spain. Lamb is more delicate than beef and lighter reds often go better especially when it’s off the bone as in this case. Tempranillo, which is the grape used often exclusively in the Rioja region, is a wine that has the character of both a big bold red yet is also medium to light bodied. It is my recommendation for this stew, but a lot of other red wines would make sense too.