We made a last-minute decision to visit Jenna’s parents for dinner tonight. Usually the house is stocked with all sorts of food in anticipation of our arrival, but not this time with such short notice. Jenna’s Mom normally goes to such great lengths to put together a wonderful meal every time we visit and I usually don’t have to cook at all, but tonight we gave her a break. While at the grocery store I spotted some lamb that I thought would make a nice stew. While picking out vegetables I was tempted by the olive bar and decided to throw in some chopped green olives for good measure. I only had about an hour to cook and was unsure if that was enough simmering time to get the meat nice and tender, but it turned out very nice. M even ate a little lamb – she has been a little sick and has had almost no appetite. When the food was brought to the table M asked, “Are you going to fill up the table?”, referring to the usual spread of little side dishes that Jenna’s Mom prepares for us. The one-pot meal that I made turned out to be more than enough, but we did add kimchi and served it all over rice, so maybe it was not too different than what we might have eaten if I had not cooked.
Lamb Stew with Green Olives
3 pounds lamb stew meat, with or without bones
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
4 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 red potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and quartered
1 small can tomato paste
1 quart beef broth
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup pitted green olives, cut into small strips
Cut the lamb into smaller pieces, if necessary. Season it with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy pot and brown the lamb in batches over high heat. Set aside. Add the onion to the pot and cook for 2 minutes on high heat until it starts to brown slightly. Add the remaining vegetables and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, then the beef broth and vinegar. Bring to a boil and add the browned lamb. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the lamb is tender, 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the lamb pieces. When it is almost finished, stir in the sliced olives, simmer for 2 more minutes and serve.