Stews are one of those meals that make you feel downright cozy. In the winter especially, holding a warm bowl full of nutritious broth and hearty vegetables is the meal-ticket to laying under a blanket and snuggling on a couch. After I eat a bowl of stew that’s pretty much what I want to do.
I live in the Southeast where the weather can still be fairly warm in the winter time, but having grown up living in Belgium and later in Virginia, I know what damp and bitter cold feels like. Some days here, the weather is crisp in the mornings and later evening but generally we don’t see significant temperature drops until January. Last week, this was not the case.
It got so cold here that I broke out my winter coat and my fuzzy slippers. There’s nothing I hate more than cold feet!! But I’ll let you know something else, I secretly LOVED it!! Yes, I miss the cold (GASP). I know, I know and then I decided I had to make this lamb stew. And while I don’t thing lamb stew is strictly reserved for the colder months at all, I wanted something that had warming spices, healing broth and wouldn’t take much effort.
The unique flavor of the this stew comes from the cut of meat I use, lamb neck. It is such an awesome part of lamb to use in stews because it breaks down to this delicate texture that melts in your mouth as you eat it. Combine it with herbs like bay leaf, rosemary, sage and cinnamon…
Your whole house will smell as if you’ve you’d been baking all day. And you very well could have with all that extra time not having to worry about what to have for dinner. Cha ching! And all you did was stick a few things in a Crockpot. Might as well call you the next Julia Child.
But really, slow cooking meals are the best because they are low energy. I mean YOUR energy, not the electric bill. When I don’t feel like being in the kitchen a lot, slow cooking is my solution.
The finishing touches though, are what make this stew special. In the last few minutes of the cooking process you add the cranberries. The tang in every bite compliments the fatty (good fat!) parts of the lamb and the denser vegetables of the carrots.
Whenever I make this I have a huge batch of leftovers and then am always sad when I get down to my last serving. Thank goodness it’s a cinch to make!
WINTER WARMING LAMB STEW, WITH CARROTS & TURNIP ROOT
2.5 lbs lamb neck (this should include the bones)
4 medium turnip roots
5 medium-sized carrots
1 bay leaf
2 full sprigs fresh rosemary chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 ½ cups chicken or beef broth
1 ½ cups water (can use more broth instead of water, but the bones from the lamb will create much of their own broth with this water)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup fresh cranberries
1. Put olive oil, lamb necks, onion and salt into the slow cooker and turn on high for an hour.
2. After an hour turn to low, add the broth, water and bay leaf. Then add vegetables and all spices and let cook for 8-10 hours, the meat will fall off the bones.
3. Cut cranberries in half and store them in the fridge until the last hour of cooking.
4. After the final hour, turn off the heat, add the cranberries to the pot and cover for another half our.
5. Skim off any undesired fat from the broth. Serve!