Weather-wise, it may feel like this is absolutely not the time of year to be eating stew. But we’d argue that regardless of the season, there’s always a good occasion to prepare a meal that doesn’t require much standing over the stove.
For chef Ryan Cook — the executive chef of Minneapolis-based projects Keep It Grand, Paris Dining Club, and Wkndr — the vegetable-studded lamb stew below is the perfect answer to the question of what to make when you want to cook but still be able to go on with your life. “I like dishes like this because you only need a little prep before a slow cook, which gives you time to do other things,” he says. You can save even more time, he adds, if you finish glazing the vegetables right before you eat.
Cook is a friend and colleague of Scarlett Carrasco Polanco, the Twin Cities-based sommelier who we tapped to select the wines in August’s Eater Wine Club boxes. You should definitely pour a glass of wine while you wait for the stew to cook. For something specific, a bottle of bubbles to cut through the fattiness of the lamb sounds ideal. But really, any glass you normally enjoy would pair nicely with this recipe while you raise a glass to low-effort cooking.
Lamb Stew Recipe
Adapted from chef Ryan Cook
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1⁄2 pound trimmed lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes (boneless preferred, substitute lamb leg if shoulder is not available)
5 medium carrots (1 chopped, 4 peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon plus 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
12 pearl onions, peeled
1⁄3 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 cup water
Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Step 1: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season lamb with 2 teaspoons salt. Working in batches, add lamb and cook until browned. Transfer lamb to a plate; set aside.
Step 2: Add the chopped carrot and yellow onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, flour, and tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste begins to brown. Stir in 6 cups chicken stock or water, add reserved lamb. Cover, bring to a boil, and transfer to oven; cook until lamb is tender (about 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours).
Step 3: Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add 2-inch carrots, butter, sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 cup water. Partially cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Add pearl onions, and continue cooking until liquid has almost evaporated and vegetables are tender. Add peas. Swirl skillet to glaze vegetables, remove from heat; set aside and keep warm.
Step 5: When stew is ready, skim off excess fat. Transfer to a large bowl or serve straight from the Dutch oven (be careful as this is hot). You may also serve individually in bowls. Top with glazed vegetables and garnish with chopped parsley.
Louiie Victa is a chef, recipe developer, food photographer, and stylist living in Las Vegas.
Recipe tested by Louiie Victa