Lamb Stew with Mint Pesto
Though there are still plenty of rainy days ahead of us before summer officially arrives, stew is more of a wintery dish to many. Having said that, the complimenting mint pesto added on top of the finished stew makes for a surprisingly spring-y dinner and slow-cooking means less work in the kitchen for you too.
Season lamb cubes with salt and pepper, and coat with flour.
Heat a medium pot over medium-high heat and brown lamb cubes in batches (making sure not to add too much lamb and overcrowd the pot). Remove lamb cubes as they brown on all sides and reserve.
Once lamb cubes have been browned, add more oil to the pot if needed, and add onion, carrots, celery and mushrooms and sauté over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté 4 minutes.
Add the sage, thyme sprigs, and rosemary, and sauté 2 minutes.
Add the beer and cook 5 minutes (scraping up any good bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot).
Add the stock and reserved lamb cubes. Increase heat and let come to a boil and then reduce heat to low and let cook for 1 hour.
Add the carrots and potatoes and continue to cook another hour or until the potatoes are cooked through and the lamb meat is tender. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking and remove the remaining thyme sprigs.
Remove pot cover and increase heat slightly and let the liquid reduce for about 15 minutes.
Add peas and let warm through about 5 minutes.
Serve with your favourite side and garnish with the mint pesto (see below).
1 cup pine nuts
1 small clove garlic, peeled
¾ cup fresh mint (about 30 leaves)
12 leaves fresh flat leaf parsley
½ lemon, zested
1 Tbs (15 mL) lemon juice
4 Tbs (60mL) vegetable oil
Generous pinch of sea salt
Pulse garlic and pine nuts in a small food processor a few times, then add mint, parsley, lemon juice, zest, and pulse to combine. Add oil, and salt, and pulse until ingredients are fully combined, then tastes and adjust seasoning.
(yields approximately 1/4 cup of pesto)