If you dig the comfort and deliciousness of spaghetti and meatballs, you will absolutely die for this lamb stew, rich with goodness from tomatoes and garlic. In this recipe, we’ve cooked the lamb long, low, and slow in a stew of sweet onions, thinly sliced fennel, fresh herbs, garlic, tomatoes, and white wine. This dish is all about dialing in on the deliciousness, and of course serving up nourishing, healthy food, for family and friends. In other words, this lamb embodies the meaning of life!
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus optional 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge
Cook time: 2 hours and 15 minutes
3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder or stew meat, cut in 1 ½-inch cubes
extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
a few thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 small heads of garlic, peeled, trimmed, and crushed (about 36 cloves)
2 cups chicken stock
1 28-oz can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Let it season for at least 30 minutes, or overnight in the fridge.
Dry the meat thoroughly with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, and brown the lamb on all sides in batches, 15-20 minutes. Transfer the meat to a deep enamelware casserole or Dutch oven.
Spoon off excess fat from the skillet and pour in the wine. Simmer the liquid while deglazing the pan with a wooden spoon and scraping up all the tasty brown bits stuck to the bottom. Pour the deglazed juices in with the lamb.
Preheat oven to 325℉
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Cook the onions and fennel until soft and beginning to caramelize, 10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes. Incorporate this mixture with the lamb, including the thyme and bay leaves, half of the crushed garlic cloves, and enough chicken stock to almost cover the meat. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, cover tightly, and set in the bottom third of your preheated oven. Braise for 45 minutes.
Remove the casserole from the oven. Stir in the tomatoes and the other half of the crushed garlic cloves. Bring the liquid back up to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover and return to the oven for an additional hour, or until the lamb is very tender.
When the lamb is done, tilt the casserole to skim off any fat that rises to the top. Finish the sauce with butter and more salt and pepper, as needed.
Serve over spaghetti squash polenta or zucchini noodles and garnish with parsley, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese.
Note: You can use ½ lamb and ½ beef stew meat or all beef stew meat if you desire.