Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Irish Lamb Stew

On Saturday, I almost convinced the husband to go to Ikea with me. Mind you, this Ikea opened for the first time last Wednesday. He knew the lines would be out the waazoo and wasn’t keen on going but I managed to drag him out of the house anyway. My secret weapon? The Village Grille. Village grille is an Indian- Pakistani restaurant that makes the best goat-biryani in town. There I go again, ga-ga over goat and lamb meat; I don’t know what's gotten into me, I have been on a huge meat eating kick these days. We’d eaten at Village before for dinner, and learned of their lunch buffet through friends. This was our opportunity to eat a big lunch and then work off our lunch, right, wander around Ikea.

Lunch was good, as expected. Some of the items on the buffet were tandooori chicken, goat paaya, chicken biryani, and goat curry. I didn’t care for the white, plain, rice or chole but everything else was good. The service was fantastic, even for a buffet. The server filled our waters and removed plates without missing a beat. Even though it’s far, Village Grille is worth the drive for goat biryani or almost any other meat dish.

After finishing lunch, we took a detour to a Halal Market nearby. Halal is similar to Jewish’s kosher foods. Muslims are expected to follow rules of the Islamic laws on halal foods. An unspoken Indian belief is if it’s halal, it’s fresh. I remember when we lived in India, my family preferred to go to the halal shops over the Indian ones because they practiced good faith and sold freshly cut meats. Sometimes they even slaughtered the meat in front of you… and that’s when I stopped going to butcher shops. The halal market had dried beans, lentils, grape leaves for dolmas, natural (!) mango and passion fruit juice and other Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Asian products. In addition to lamb meat, we bought goat meat, dried garbanzo beans and some other things.

As for wandering through Ikea, it didn’t happen. The husband was so fed up with long lines in the car that we drove past the big store to head home. He was practical; if we have to wait 15-20+ minutes in the car, imagine how bad it would be inside? I understood. I’ll give the modern retail store 6 months before the lines and hype dwindle down.

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I invited close friends for dinner, made classic Irish lamb stew using lamb from the halal shop, and drank enough beer to call it a good day.

Irish Lamb Stew, adapted from two Bon Appétit recipes

1 tbsp Butter
3 tbsp Vegetable oil
1/4 cup Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black pepper
2 1/2 lbs lamb shoulder with bones, cubed

2 medium Onions, diced
2 Carrots, peeled and diced
3 medium Potatoes, peeled and diced
3 Garlic cloves, minced
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 bottle dark beer
1 tbsp Fresh thyme
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Melt butter and vegetable oil on medium high heat in large heavy-bottomed pan. Liberally season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge lamb in the flour and shake off the excess. Brown the meat on all sides in batches.

Medium dice onions, carrots and potatoes. Add onions, browned meat, garlic, chicken broth, dark beer, salt and pepper to the crockpot. Cook on low for 5 hours. I cooked mine for 9 because it was a working day. Carrots and potatoes take an hour to cook so it’s best to add them in the last hour of the cooking. Due to my faulty time management skills, I added carrots and potatoes 30 minutes before serving. Of course, they weren’t done so I pressured cooked them before serving. Add fresh thyme 30 minutes before serving.

Not only was this a fantastic recipe for St. Patrick’s Day, this is a fantastic crockpot recipe- perfect for this month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge. Lis, over at La Mia Cucina is hosting this month’s event. The requirement: cook a dish in crockpot, pressure cooker or dutch oven and follow a recipe from a cookbook. I interpret cookbooks as books in print, magazines and online recipes. Thanks Bon Appétit for posting the recipes online, otherwise I’d be in trouble!

I am pooped from the meat eating binge. Due to the high meat consumption my body’s ready for a detox. Off I go to the Indian grocer for my vegetarian favorites - okra, bottle gourd and baby eggplants. mmmmm


Lis said...

Thank you so much for participating! The stew sounds delish! :)

Ohhh.. am going to email you about the Ikea. :D


sher said...

Yummm! Lamb stew is so wonderful! I'm really hungry now.

Your husband was so smart. I nearly have a nervous breakdown at IKEA! I got lost in there once! Really.

Katie Zeller said...

We had a huge leg of lamb for Easter - followed by 'lambwiches'. shepherd's pie and leftovers....
That'll do me for awhile.
I saw a half of a kid at the market last week - I was tempted...but the lamb looked sooo good!

valereee said...

Wow, I need to check The Village Grille out! Where is that, somewhere near Ikea I take it?

liberal foodie said...

Lis- Thank you for hosting! I am excited about your roundup.

Sher- I hope you try the stew. If you do, let me know what you think.

Valaree- Yes, Village Grille is near Ikea, off of Tylersville Road. I'd love to hear your reviews.

liberal foodie said...

Katie, glad to know you went with the lamb! :) I've never bought a whole leg of lamb; I am intimidated by it. Not that it'll come back to life and beat the shit out of me (though that would make for one crazy story), rather it's too much meat all at once. Silly, I know.