Incredibly tender lamb pieces stewed in an aromatic sauce.
How about trying lamb this Easter? I know lots of people like lamb, but I know really lots of other people who don’t. I don’t think I know any other kind of meat that is so controversial (well, at least here in my part of the world, I am pretty sure that people eat other kinds of meat in other parts of the world, meats I would not consider eating either).
The main reason people mention when saying that they don’t like lamb is the sheep taste of the meat. First of all, most of these people have never tasted sheep (I think few people actually did eat sheep) and some of them have never tasted lamb either, they refuse it just because it might taste of sheep (which for me it doesn’t make any sense). My dear mother-in-law has a really nice story: she would not taste lamb because her husband ate sheep about 30 years ago and he said it wasn’t good, it tasted too much like sheep… Go figure!
Anyway, I have never had this problem, I’ve always enjoyed eating lamb. It was not often that we ate lamb, just once a year at Easter, but I loved it! My grandmother was not a great lamb lover either, I am not really sure if she actually ate it herself, but she would make it for my grandfather and later on for me. Because there were not many of us eating, she would mostly buy just a few pieces of lamb leg or shoulder and fry the chunks in quite a lot of oil. We would eat that with potatoes and green beans with garlic or salad, sometimes a few days in a row.
But the best lamb I ever remember eating in Romania was a leg of lamb that was actually cooked by my mother. It is honestly one of the very few memories I have of my mother’s cooking. It’s not that she didn’t cook, but I was so seldom in her house that there are really not many food related memories that stayed with me. When she cooked, she mostly cooked what my grandmother cooked and at that time I thought my grandmother to be the best cook anyway, so I remember her dishes and not those of my mother. With the exception of that lamb! I don’t really remember eating it, but I remember that amazing smell that filled the house for hours and hours and my sister and I going nuts with anticipation, drooling and asking a thousand times when we would be able to finally eat the lamb.
Today’s recipe is not a roasted whole leg of lamb like my mother’s, if you want a similar recipe you can have a look at this Roast Leg of Lamb, but it is the recipe for the most delicious Romanian Lamb Stew I have ever had. And in case you have some of those picky eaters in your family, who will not consider eating lamb because it tastes of sheep, you could actually might convince them with this lamb stew. If you manage to get them to eat one piece of meat, they will certainly notice that lamb doesn’t taste of sheep. In fact, even the lamb taste is pretty mild in this dish, so I would say that this is a dish for (lamb) beginners. After eating this Romanian Lamb Stew, they will like it so much that they will be ready to take the next step and eat the roast leg of lamb for instance. 🙂 And talking about picky eaters, both my kids absolutely loved this stew and took seconds.
Romanian Lamb Stew – Tocanita de mielPrint This
- 800 g/ 28.2 oz lamb (from the leg)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium onions
- 1 large red bell pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 100 ml/ 3.4 fl.oz/ scant ½ cup white wine
- 200 g/ 7 oz tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- freshly ground black pepper
- a small bunch of parsley
Chop the meat into small cubes.
Heat the oil in a stewing pot and fry the meat in two or three batches until nicely browned. Transfer each batch to a bowl or plate.
In the meantime chop the onions very finely and the bell pepper into small and thin strips. After removing the meat, give the onions and the pepper to the pot, add the salt, mix well and cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until softened.
Give the meat back to the pot, add the wine and the finely chopped tomatoes, paprika and tomato paste. Mix well, cover tightly and cook for one hour. Check every 15-20 minutes and stir well. Add a bit more water if the stew threatens to catch. However, if you have a tight lid for your pot that should not be necessary, it wasn’t in my case.
Add about half of the chopped parsley, adjust the taste with salt and pepper and let simmer for another 5 minutes. The meat should be really really tender.
Serve with potatoes, rice or bread and vegetables like green beans, broccoli or green salad.
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