Inspired by Xtin (polite way of saying “I’m a copycat”) and menu-wise by Xeni J’s tweets from Guatemala, I decided to document this evening’s eats. On the menu: lamb stew. No recipe – this one is a matter of standing back and throwing appropriate ingredients into the pot and seasoning to taste.
To start – put 4 slices of bacon into a stew pot. Cook the bacon until it’s done to your liking; set it aside to drain. Brown 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. of cubed stew lamb (in 3 – 4 batches) in the bacon grease over high heat. While you’re browning the lamb, eat the bacon. Reduce heat a bit and toss 2 chopped onions and a bunch of garlic into the pot (add oil if you need to – I did). When the onions are done – I went for somewhere between translucent and browning – put the lamb back in.
Get the heat back up a bit and pour a bottle of beer over everything.
Add seasonings and simmer uncovered until you reduce the liquid a bit, then cover. I seasoned with cumin, a tiny bay leaf, a small cinnamon stick and some canned chipotles (with some of the adobo they were canned in thrown in for good measure). I should have used lots of green chiles, but the can of smoked red ones was irresistible.
I usually let the stew rest for an hour or so at this point – a matter of scheduling and doing a little taste mingling. Today was no different. When it’s time to get moving again, dump in 1 or 2 cans of beans. I like small white ones – Great Northerns got the nod today. You can do what you like, but I am not a fan of kidney beans in a dish like this – they’re obtrusive – big, thick skins, too chewy and too much color.
Serve garnished with a handful of cilantro; sour cream and a piece of corn pudding on the side. You could put cheese on top – I’d think queso menonita would work – or cheese on the side with some fry bread. Yum.
While eating, think about milpas, Peckinpah and a shady ramada.