I have recently made the commitment to make Sunday a holy day, a family day. So far this consists of waking up late, cleaning the house, cooking a delicious meal that we can enjoy together, and spending the afternoon relaxing and enjoying each other. This has many of what, for me, are the essential elements of a holy ceremony: thoughtful preparation in ritual, purification and cleansing our home, community with those people I love most, joyful celebration…and at the center, the sharing of a meal.
There is something so lovely, and intimate, and bonding, and holy about preparing and sharing food with people. It is included in many of the old ceremonies, and stylized into many current spiritual ceremonies as well – the Catholic Mass is one such example of this. It is as if we recognize in our heart of hearts the spiritual power of sharing a meal. How much more powerful is it, then, when the food is made by our own hands, with our own laughter and love and care as an essential part of the preparation?
This is a recipe for a lamb stew that we shared on one of our recent Sundays. I like to cook by experimentation and intuition: so far these two cooking companions have served me quite well. I hope that when you try this recipe, you remember that the most important ingredient is joy; and that the love and power of sharing a meal connects my table with yours.
In our kitchen, almost all of the cooking of meat is done by Joseph – we both find this to be a much more enjoyable experience. He tells me that the stew will taste better if the lamb is seared first. So that is how we begin.
- Sear on all sides, on high heat in cast iron skillet:
- bone in leg of lamb
- Add to slow cooker, along with:
- 1 bottle red wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup uncooked kidney beans
- 1 cup uncooked white beans
- Cook on high for 4 hours.
- In lamb drippings, fry until starting to soften, about 5 min:
- 1 onion
- as many garlic cloves as you like
- Add, and fry until wilted, about 30 seconds:
- fresh oregano
- Italian parsley
- Add, and fry until softening, about 5 min:
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple, sliced
- 1/2 Braeburn apple, sliced
- 1/2 Honey crisp apple, sliced
- handful of dried prunes, chopped
- Add all of the above to slow cooker, along with:
- 4 red potates
- salt and pepper
- Heat on low for 4 hours, or until potatoes are soft.
- Serve into bowls, and top with:
- Fresh chopped Italian parsley
- Chopped cherry tomatoes
By the time all was said and done, the lamb had fallen off the bone and was delightfully tender. We served this with a side of mashed cauliflower and baked brussel sprouts. This was so heart and soul warming and absolutely delicious – a really lovely Fall meal.
Be well. Enjoy with love.