Herbed lamb stew with green garlic
Spring is the season for green garlic, fragrant shoots with tiny young bulbs. Before individual cloves are formed, the green garlic resembles large scallions or baby leeks. Combined with spring green onions they make for a delicate and aromatic stew. If you cannot find green garlic at your market, use peeled cloves from two small heads of garlic instead. With the slow cooking, the cloves will become mild and creamy. Serve with rice or roast potatoes.
Meaty Serves: 6-8
Preparation: 10 mins
Cooking: 1 hours 45 mins
● Plain flour
● Salt and freshly ground black pepper
● Olive oil
● 1½-2 kg lamb shoulder cut into 3.5cm pieces
● 2 tbsp tomato paste
● 2 tbsp vinegar
● 240ml water or meat stock
● 225g green garlic or 2 heads garlic, peeled, cloves separated
● 1kg spring onions, about 5 or 6 bunches
● 5 tbsp oil
● On a plate, combine flour with salt and pepper. Cover the base of a large heavy sauté pan with olive oil over a high heat. Dip the lamb in seasoned flour and fry in batches in oil until browned on all sides.
● Transfer the lamb to a heavy stew pot, add the tomato paste, vinegar, stock or water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook slowly over low heat for 50 to 60 minutes.
● Do not peel the green garlic but snip off the root end and slice into 5cm/two-inch lengths, using all of the green. Or peel the cloves of garlic from 2 small heads. Trim the roots off the spring onions and also cut them into 5cm/2-inch lengths. Blanch the spring onions in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then drain.
● Sauté the garlic and spring onions in a few tablespoons of olive oil over moderate heat for approximately 5 minutes, just to get a bit of colour on them, seasoning them with salt and pepper.
● After about 1 hour, when the lamb is almost cooked, add the garlic and green onions to the pot. Cover and continue to cook until lamb is tender, another 20 or 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with chopped mint, dill or parsley and serve at once.