Lamb Stew with Swiss Chard and Garlic-Parsley Toasts
- ACTIVE: 1 HR 35 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 45 MIN
- SERVINGS: 4
This robust, satisfying stew is made with lamb shank, a relatively lean cut with marvelous lamb flavor. The Swiss chard here adds a mild earthiness as well as vitamin K and calcium.
- 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 4 thyme sprigs
- One 3-inch strip of orange zest
- One 3-inch piece of ancho chile
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 celery rib, quartered crosswise
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Four 1-pound lamb shanks, fat trimmed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large tomato—peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 quart water
- 2 medium carrots, cut into 1-by-1/3-inch pieces
- 1/2 pound small turnips, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1/2 pound Swiss chard, stemmed
- Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices crusty whole wheat baguette
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat the oven to 275°. In the center of a double-ply 5-inch piece of dampened cheesecloth, combine the porcini, thyme, orange zest, ancho chile, bay leaf and celery. Tie into a neat package with kitchen string. Trim any excess cheesecloth and string from the bouquet garni.
- In a 12-inch, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and cook 2 shanks over moderate heat until browned, 7 minutes per side. Transfer the lamb to a bowl and repeat with the remaining lamb shanks.
- Add 2 teaspoons of the remaining olive oil, the onion and three-quarters of the minced garlic to the casserole. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 7 minutes. Add the tomato and cook over moderately high heat for 3 minutes. Stir in the wine and simmer until reduced by half. Return the lamb shanks to the casserole, nestling them in an even layer. Add the water and bouquet garni and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover the shanks with a sheet of parchment paper and the lid and bake for 1 hour. Turn the shanks, cover again with the parchment and the lid and bake for 1 hour longer, or until the meat is very tender.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the carrots until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to a bowl. Add the turnips to the saucepan and boil until tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the bowl. Add the Swiss chard to the saucepan and blanch for 1 minute. Drain, chop coarsely and transfer to the bowl.
- Transfer the shanks to a bowl and let cool slightly. Increase the oven temperature to 400°. Simmer the braising liquid over moderate heat, skimming the surface occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Squeeze the bouquet garni into the liquid, then discard it.
- Remove the meat from the shanks. Cut or tear it into bite-size pieces and return it to the casserole. Add the carrots, turnips and Swiss chard, and season the stew with salt and pepper; keep warm.
- Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush with 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil. In a bowl, combine the remaining olive oil and garlic with the parsley. Spread the garlic-parsley mixture on the slices and bake for 7 minutes, or until toasted. Halve the toasts crosswise and serve with the stew.
For a strong but not overpowering complement to this stew, pair with a CôtesduRhône made mainly with Syrah, not the Grenache grape.
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