Spring Lamb Stew with Asparagus and Peas
This savory stew gets a burst of spring flavor and color with the addition of peas and asparagus that is cooked just until bright green and crisp-tender. A garnish of mint leaves adds even more color. Like almost any stew, this one is even better when served a day after making it, but if you prepare it in advance, omit the asparagus, peas and mint when you make the stew, and add them after you rewarm the dish for serving.
- 2 lb. (1 kg) boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 oz. (180 g) pearl onions, peeled
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) red wine
- 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 lb. (500 g) new potatoes
- 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) shelled English peas or thawed frozen peas
- 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, spears cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
- Fresh mint leaves for garnish
Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper.
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, working in batches, add the lamb and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a platter.
Add the pearl onions to the pot and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and chili powder and cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 1 minute. Stir in the garlic, balsamic vinegar and wine and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Return the lamb to the pot and add the broth and potatoes. Cover, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the lamb is very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir in the peas and asparagus and cook just until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle the stew into individual bowls and garnish each serving with mint leaves. Serves 4 to 6.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen