Lamb, Olive & Tomato stew with dumplings

Firstly, apologies for the long delay… it’s all for the best reasons. I started a new job in February and I’ve been at it all guns blazing. It’s a fab job, with great people in a cutting-edge agency.

Apologies over, I’m also recovering from a brutal winter lockdown and issues with my health. Nothing serious but it all culminated with a nasty leg injury which left me with two gaping wounds on my shin.

Couple my gammy leg with terrible Bank Holiday weather and I was feeling truly sorry for myself. So I knocked up this stew from my favourite meat, lamb. It has great umami flavours, comes with a Mediterranean twist alongside some real cold comfort British food favourites. 

It’s a long, slow cook this one which gives you time to make some dumplings I found on Nigella’s community site to round the meal off. It’s worth the wait. I hit a huge bowl of this and felt two things after… sated and ready for bed.

Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘Mr Haze’ by Texas

Ingredients

  • 8 Lamb leg steaks, cut into chunks
  • 3 Large onions roughly chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 8 sun-dried tomato halves, roughly chopped
  • 180g Kalamata olives, pitted preferably
  • Leaves from three sprigs rosemary
  • 3 bushy sprigs thyme
  • 1ltr Chicken stock
  • 1tbsp Bovril
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil

For the dumplings 

Follow this recipe from Nigella’s community site. It really does the job with minimal fuss (just remove the horseradish and add some of the fresh thyme leaves you’ll have spare).

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 160.
  2. In a large casserole pan (you know the sort… the one that goes from hob, to oven then to table) add a generous glug of olive oil and fry off the lamb chunks. You may need to do this in batches as you’ll want a bit of colour on them.
  3. Once they are seared, remove from the casserole and fry off the onions, garlic and herbs in the lamby oil mix left behind. You want to sweat them down until they are golden and translucent. Leave the thyme on the twig – you’ll maximise the flavour and you can remove the twigs when the dumplings go in. Season carefully as the olives and tomatoes pack a lot of salty goodness so you’ll need to balance carefully.
  4. Once sweated down, add the tomatoes and the olives and fry for another few minutes.
  5. Add the lamb and all the juices back in to the casserole and mix well.
  6. Add your stock and the Bovril and mix well over a medium heat. The stock should just cover the meat mix.
  7. Once you’ve reached a rolling simmer, pop the lid on and move the dish to the oven. 
  8. I like to cook this long and slow – so cook for three hours in your oven, stirring every 30 minutes to check it isn’t drying out. If it is, add a splash of stock or water.
  9. After your 3-hour check you can start to make Nigella’s dumplings. As mentioned above, remove the horseradish and add some dried herbs.
  10. At the 3.5 hour mark, pop the dumplings on top of the stew , remembering to remove the thyme twigs and adding stock if the casserole mix needs it.
  11. Pop the lid back on and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

Serve with a maximum-bodied red and the satisfaction of a job well done….. try a Señorío de Sarria 2015 Reserva Especial

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