I was feeling a little down and unmotivated the other day and I took some time for myself to just watch a feel good movie. I chose Julie & Julia and it was just the movie I needed to give me a jump start back into cooking, and a smile when I needed one. I have seen that movie a few times, and it is one of those movies that you can watch again and again and still enjoy it.
If you haven’t seen the movie, it is about a woman named Julie that decided to make every recipe in Julia Childs’ cookbook and blog about each one. While I share some similarities with Julie in blogging about food, I have no desire to make every one of Julia’s recipes. The only recipe I have made is this recipe but with lamb instead of the beef it calls for, and it is absolutely delicious. It is a hearty stew perfect for the colder weather. I hadn’t made it in quite some time and the movie encouraged me to get some lamb and get cooking!
This is not Julia’s exact recipe. As I stated I use lamb instead of beef, and I have changed the ingredients and directions slightly.
6 oz. bacon
3-4 lbs. boneless lamb leg
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 carrot, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. flour
2 cups red wine
3 cups beef broth
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
4 -5 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp. butter
For this stew you will need a heavy dutch oven pot that can be used on top of the stove, and in the oven.
Trim the fat off of the meat and cut into bite size cubes. Pat the meat dry with papertowels so that the meat will brown. Set aside.
Chop the bacon into small pieces. Heat the olive oil in the dutch oven and add the bacon.
After the bacon has cooked for a few minutes and is starting to brown, transfer it to a bowl using a slotted spoon and set aside.
Start cooking the lamb in batches in the bacon grease until it browns.
Transfer the meat to the same bowl as the bacon and set aside.
Cook the carrot, onion, and potato in the lamb and bacon juices for a few minutes until they start to brown.
Drain the liquid from the pot and add the lamb and bacon back in with the vegetables.
Stir in the salt and pepper. Then add the 2 tbsp. of flour and stir well.
Set the oven to 450 degrees and cook for 4 minutes. Stir and continue cooking for an additional 4 minutes and remove from the oven.
Reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees.
Add the wine, beef broth (enough to just cover the meat), tomato paste garlic and herbs. Bring to a boil on top of the stove then cover and transfer to the oven.
Cook for 2 1/2 hours. Check the stew to make sure it is only cooking at a low simmer. If boiling too high lower the heat of the oven.
While the stew is cooking, saute the mushrooms and butter in a frying pan until cooked and brown. Set aside.
Once you remove the stew from the oven, drain the liquid into a saucepan.
Simmer the liquid for a few minutes while skimming the fat from the top before adding the liquid back in with the meat. Add the mushrooms at this time as well.
I have found the stew is not thick enough after doing this and I mix 1 tbsp. corn starch with 1 tbsp. water and add it to the stew and cook on the stove for a few minutes. If you prefer it thicker, use more cornstarch and water.
Looks perfect to me!
So delicious and such incredible comfort food! Here is the recipe for some homemade French Bread if you’d like to do some dipping https://stephaniessliceoflife.com/2020/10/23/french-bread/.