Dark days and cold winter nights call for hearty comfort food and this lazy lamb stew steps up and gives you a big cuddle when you need it most.
Lamb neck on the bone is a highly underrated and economical cut of meat, packed full of rich flavour and with enough fat to create an unctuous stew that’s silky and moreish without feeling fatty. Cooked on the bone the lamb is meltingly tender, a real treat for sure.
We are lucky to have a fab butchers just down the lane from the cottage and also a brilliant fruit and veg shop just around the corner. My butchers have come to my rescue many times over the years. They have been working so incredibly hard over the lockdowns and the queues are often long but a visit is always a joy and their dry cured smoked middle bacon is second to none. Make friends with your local butchers, they have a wealth of knowledge and will be happy to give you tips for cooking the lesser well known cuts that are usually much cheaper too.
You can pretty much chuck whatever root veg you have to hand into this stew, likewise add leeks if you fancy or if you are trying to bulk it up then a tin of chickpeas or butter beans would work really well. It makes lots of rich liquid that’s perfect mopped up with some nice crusty homemade bread.
I call this lazy as I pretty much just bung everything in the casserole pot and let the oven do the work. I do recommend that you brown the lamb first though for those lovely Maillard flavours.
Lazy lamb stew
- 4 rounds of lamb neck on the bone
- 3 tablespoons oil or fat for frying ( I used leftover goose fat)
- one onion, chopped/sliced – whatever your preference
- 3 handfuls of rainbow Chanternay carrots (or just regular carrots sliced but my veg shop sells these incredible mini rainbow carrots that just taste wonderful)
- 3 sticks celery, chopped
- 2 parsnips, peeled and sliced into rounds
- a few handfuls of baby new potatoes
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried
- 3 bay leaves – I have a bay tree so use them all the time but just leave out if you don’t have any
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1/2 bottle of full bodied red wine
- chicken stock and water to cover (I used powdered chicken bouillon that I buy in bulk from Amazon, 1.2kg for £14.99, it lasts for ages and is lovely as a drink too), I would use Lamb stock if I had it but its expensive and chicken works just fine, plus cooking the lamb on the bone creates a wonderful lamb stock anyway.
- salt and pepper
- Heat your oven to 160C.
- Pop the oil, or goose fat if you have it, into a hot casserole pot then add the lamb in batches and cook until nicely browned on each side then remove and set aside on a plate.
- Add the onions, veg, garlic and herbs and cook until the onions are starting to colour.
- Add the lamb and red wine and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the bottom of the casserole to dislodge any crusty bits and cook the wine for a few minutes then add in the stock, enough to just cover everything, it may seem like a lot of liquid but you lose a lot in the oven as it simmers away.
- Pop the casserole pot in the oven and leave to gently cook for 4 hours. Check on it after 2 hours and add more seasoning if required.