Friday, January 24, 2014

my lamb stew and whey bread


 I did not grow up eating lamb in fact, I didn't eat lamb until not that many years ago. It seems unheard of to some people because of how cute lambs are I guess..indeed they are cute. Like all animals are to me though. And if I'm not going to be vegetarian then I might as well face the facts that every piece of meat that goes into  my mouth was at one time, a cute animal. We primarily raise animals for milking but there are the few that need culling for one reason or the other and so instead of sending them off to a livestock market somewhere where their treatment and destiny is unknown, we choose to process them. So in a short amount of time, we've learned to not only appreciate our food and all the particulars of where it comes from - we have also grown to love lamb. In experimenting with different ways to cook it, this is one of our favorites.

Lamb Stew:

  • chopped onion (I used leaks today - I will add the green part of the chive when I add the potatoes)
  • 2 TBS of olive oil

  • 1lb of lamb stew meat or cut up lamb roast (you could also substitute with ground lamb)

*saute in your cast iron kettle until lamb is browned and then add:

  • 2 peeled/chopped carrots
  • 1 chopped celery stalk
  • 1/2 cup red wine (or your favorite wine - I used elderberry today. 1/4 cup of wine for your kettle and a 1/4 cup for you!)

*cook until wine is reduced and add:

  • 1 1/2 TBS dill (or more if you LOVE dill)
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp parsley (or other herbs of your choice - I add whatever I have fresh at the time too)
  • 1 gallon of water & beef stock combo

*simmer for about an hour. Then add:

  • 6 peeled/diced potatoes
  • 2 cups of lima beans (optional - I add them if I have them)
  • salt & pepper to taste

*simmer for another hour or 2, until potatoes are cooked well and the lamb is soft and shreddable.

 
bread rising while the stew is simmering

Then add:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup flour
*mix your milk & flour together in a bowl, whip well until smooth and then add to your stew. Simmer stew until thick and bubbly. YUM!
lamb stew
And if the bread has you intrigued - the recipe that I used for this batch is from the More-With-Less cookbook. I'm a whey lover, so I always save whey from my cheesemaking to put into breads - if the recipe calls for milk or water, I simply substitute with whey. Besides the added health benefits of using whey and another way to reduce waste, it also adds a tarter bite to the bread and depending on the recipe a little firmer texture..and I actually like those differences. And did you know that if your whey gets mold growing on the top, you can simply scrape it off and use it just like you would when it was fresh! I've kept it months and months in the fridge without it spoiling. Me and whey are close friends.
the smell of bread baking should be bottled and sold..
 White Bread:
4 loaves

Dissolve
  • 2 pkg of dry in yeast in 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
Combine in large mixer bowl:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 T salt
  • 1/4 cup lard
  • 3 cups water (I used whey here)
  • yeast mixture
Add
  • 5 cups flour
(It says beat with electric mixer - which I do not own - I mix all my bread by hand)
  • Stir in by hand:
  • 5-6 cups flour
Turn onto floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once, cover and let rise 1/2 hour. Punch down, turn over and let rise again until double. Knead a few minutes, then shape into laves and place in greased 9x5 loaf pans. Cover loaves with damp cloth and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Brush tops with butter. (Recipe courtesy of Louetta Hurst, Lancaster PA)
my loaves are never perfectly shaped but thankfully that doesn't make a difference in how it tastes :)