This is my attempt to recreate the best thing that I ate when I visited Seville. I travelled to Spain many years ago now and I do not know why it has taken me so long to attempt to figure out how to make this stew. Seville is in the front of my mind again right now, because I am in the middle of rehearsals for a musical puppet play that is set in Andalusia. In fact, the purpose of that long ago trip to Seville was to do the visual research that would inform the puppet, costume and set design for this piece! It is beautiful (If I do say so myself) so, if you live in NYC, come see the show! For some pictures of that trip and the puppet show look at this post about gluten-free Andalusian gazpacho. To get more information about the show and to buy tickets click here.
There are quite a few versions of this kind of stew on line. It is a very old kind of recipe from the era when parts of spain were under Muslim governance. This moment and place in history is famous for the cooperation between Jews, Christians and Muslims. Scholars translated the sacred texts of the other religions into their own languages, cities with beautiful architecture and impressive infastructure were built and everyone made a lot of money doing business with each other. A cosmopolitan cuisines also emerged, and this stew is a good example!
There was one recipe in particular that I thought had really terrific seasoning, but I made a lot of changes to it the method, meat and vegetables to suit my tastes. I changed the boneless lamb for bone-in. The stew cooks for long enough that the marrow gives incredable depth of flavour to the sauce and the meat just falls of the bone. If you are reluctant to feed guests a stew full of bones, just pull them out before serving. I browned the meat before adding the vegetables to properly seal in the juices. I diced the onion and green pepper rather than leaving it in larger pieces, because I personally do nto enjoy large hunks of cooked green pepper. I change preserved lemon for the lemon, since this recipe borrows so much from the tagine’s of neighboring Morocco already. Don’t fret if you can’t get preserved lemon, but if you can you are in for a treat! I also threw in some potato becausethe dish that I enjoyed in Seville had potato in it.
adapted from group recipes
- 2 pounds of bone in leg of lamb cut 2 inch chunks
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large or 2 small yellow onions
- 2 bell peppers
- 2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 preserved lemon
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 2 medium potatoes (about 12 ounces)
- 1 Tablespoons hot paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 Tablespoon honey
- 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
- Rinse and dry the lamb and lay it in a single layer on a plate. Generously salt and pepper the meat and let it sit, uncovered, in the fridge for at least a few hours and up to 24 hours.
- When you are ready to cook, take the meat out of the fridge so that it can warm to room temperature while you seed and core the pepper and peel the onion and then dice the lot of them. Also, dice the preserved lemon. Measure the wine, brandy and spices out and set them near the stove. Set a platter or large plate near the stove also.
- Set a large heavy bottomed pot (a dutch oven would be good because you will need a lid later) over high heat. Dab any extra moisture off of the meat with paper towels. When the meat is dry and the oil is very hot, add the dry meat to the hot oil. Brown the meat on all sides, and then transfer it to the platter. If your meat will not fit in a single layer, do it in two batches.
- Immediately, turn the heat down to low. Add the onions. When the sizzling subsides add the peppers and garlic. Cook for five minutes until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Peel the potatoes and cut them into big chunks (maybe 2 and 1/2 inches) while the other vegetables cook.
- Turn the temperature back up to medium high and add the wine and brandy, scraping the bottom of the pot to deglaze any of the browned bits. Once the moisture and the browned bits seemed combined, add the spices, browned meat, preserved lemon and potato. Stir to combine. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for an hour.
- After an hour, add the honey and sherry vinegar and cook for 10 more minutes over medium high heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. This stew is better reheated the next day. In fact it continues to improve for many days. It would probably freeze very well. I like to eat it with roasted cauliflower with dukkah.
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