I wrote this post for Manuela at Manusmenu.com while she and her family were traveling around the world, making memories with their children to last a lifetime. I wasn’t traveling but staying at home cooking this really wonderful South American lamb stew. Now, I’ll be honest and admit up front that it might not be South American but it could be.
Recently I went to a local South American restaurant and one of the first small plates we were served was an amazing lamb stew served with yellow rice. Normally when I go to a restaurant, I never finish anything but this dish? I could have licked it clean. I didn’t, but only because the restaurant was full and my mother taught me that it was impolite to lick plates.
I came home and scoured the net for South American lamb stew so I would have a starting point and I found one but it’s not the one from the restaurant. This stew is cooked in a refrito of red onion, green capsicum, chile, garlic and tomatoes along with beer, cloves, allspice and seasoning. To make it even more special, I made some shallot confit roasted in olive oil and tossed them into the stew near the end of the slow cooking which took 8 hours. I didn’t want to toss out that wonderful olive oil so I used some to coat root vegetables and garlic and roasted them.
The recipe called for ground achiote and I couldn’t find any up here in the sunny north so I substituted by tossing in some ground cayenne pepper. I’m sure it would be better with the real deal. I also didn’t have any panela or pilloncillo so I used dark brown sugar instead.
I served this alongside yellow rice. I sauteed an onion in a little bit of butter, added a bit of salt and a teaspoon of turmeric and the kernels from 2 small ears of corn. Then I put rice in the rice cooker and just before it was done, I poured in the onion and corn mixture and a handful of frozen peas. When it was done, I tossed in some chopped coriander (cilantro) and some sliced green onion tops.
As a garnish I peeled and sliced two bananas and fried them in a little butter. I didn’t photograph them because really, have you ever looked at a grilled banana? The taste went so well with the lamb in spite of the look. I cooked it in this wonderful cazuela that I was given by Celia from figjamandlimecordial.com.
- 1 red onion (roughly chopped)
- 2 green capsicum (bell peppers) roughly chopped
- 4 tomatoes roughly chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 serrano pepper cut lengthwise with seeds removed
- 1.5 kg (3.5 lbs) Lamb - I used a boneless leg of lamb
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 60 grams dark brown sugar (or use panela or pilloncillo if you can get it)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or ½ teaspoon anchiote powder if you can get it)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4-5 whole cloves
- 4-5 whole allspice
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 celery stalks (roughly chopped)
- 12 ounces light beer
- 3 cups cooked white rice
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- ¼ cup frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander (cilantro)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 green end of a spring onion sliced thinly
- 12 French shallots, peeled ((I cooked heaps so I'd have some for other uses)
- olive oil, enough to cover the shallots
- 2 bananas, peeled and sliced (if the bananas are large, cut them in half lengthwise as well)
- 1½ tablespoons butter
- Cut the lamb into bite size pieces, of about 2.5cm (1 inch)
- Season with salt, ground pepper and ground cumin on all sides. Set aside.
- Add all refrito ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and whiz until you have a smooth puree. Depending upon the size of your food processor, you might need to do this in batches
- Pour the refrito in a large crockpot, and season it with the salt, ground pepper, ground cumin and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.
- Add the seasoned, diced lamb meat to the refrito. Stir to combine. Add the brown sugar, whole cloves, whole allspice, oregano and celery stalks. Stir to combine. Pour the beer over the mixture and stir one last time.
- Cover the crockpot and cook on low for eight hours, or high for four hours.
- Before serving, remove the celery stalks, whole cloves and allspice.
- Serve warm with yellow rice and fried bananas
- Saute the onion in the oil and butter and once the onions begin to turn translucent, add the turmeric and the corn and cook for another minute.
- Cook the rice and just before it's finished add the onion mixture, salt and peas. When the rice is cooked add the coriander and spring onions and serve.
- Preheat oven to 135C / 275F
- Place peeled shallots in the bottom of a roasting dish and cover with olive oil. Roast for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Once cool, toss in the stew near the end of cooking.
- (Save the oil for another use)
- Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add the butter. When melted add the bananas and cook until golden brown on the bottom and flip and cook the other side the same way.
- You could sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over the top just before serving.