Old school mut­ton stew

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No mat­ter where you go in the world, you will find some or other ver­sion of it. It may be named dif­fer­ently or eaten dif­fer­ently, but a stew is a stew is a stew. Time­less, old fash­ioned, yum.

This recipe is for a mut­ton stew, but you can use lamb if you like. Just re­mem­ber that lamb will be a lot oilier and you may need to skim the layer of fat that gath­ers on the stew as it cooks, ev­ery 30 min­utes or so.

Peo­ple con­fuse mut­ton and lamb. In­dus­try stan­dards dic­tate that a sheep be­tween one and 12 months old can be la­belled lamb. Any sheep slaugh­tered af­ter it’s 12 months old must be la­belled mut­ton. When it comes to lamb cut­lets and chops, the age of an an­i­mal mat­ters more than when it comes to stew. In­gre­di­ents 1kg mut­ton, cubed and trimmed 1 can tomato purée 3 onions, sliced 4 car­rots, cut into thick slices 7 pota­toes, cut into cubes 2 leeks 2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped 1 tbsp pars­ley, rough chopped 2 tsp pa­prika 3 star anise pods 1 tsp dried sage 1 tbsp ground co­rian­der seeds 2 tbsp flour 30g but­ter 750ml beef stock 250ml red wine freshly ground pep­per sea salt Method 1. Cut the ex­cess fat off the mut­ton and dis­card. 2. Toss the mut­ton in the flour and coat it well. 3. Heat some oil in a large pot and fry the meat on a high heat un­til it is deep brown in colour. 4. Re­move about two-thirds of the meat from the pot, and then throw in all the onions and the but­ter. Stir of­ten un­til the onions are slightly browned. 5. Add the tomato purée to the mix­ture and al­low to sim­mer. Ev­ery time it is about to burn, add a lit­tle bit of the red wine and stir (this is called deglaz­ing). 6. Once all the wine is used up and the mix­ture is a dark, rich brown colour, add the rest of the meat that you had re­moved ear­lier. 7. Add your herbs and spices, and mix well. 8. Add the beef stock. If it does not cover all the meat, add wa­ter to the pot un­til ev­ery­thing is cov­ered. 9. Bring the stew to the boil and then al­low it to sim­mer, cov­ered, for two hours. 10. Re­move the lid of the pot, add the car­rots and pota­toes, and al­low the stew to sim­mer for an­other 30 min­utes. Sea­son and bal­ance the flavour with salt and pep­per. 11. Note: Only add salt to the stew in the last 30 min­utes. Salt con­cen­trates as it cooks, so the later you add it, the bet­ter. For more fool­proof and de­li­cious recipes, visit les­dachef.word­press.com and fol­low @les­dachef on Twit­ter

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