Around this time of year, especially if it’s cold, windy, and rainy (like it’s been here lately), I start thinking about Holland.
The dashing young man you see in the foreground (hauling my ridiculously overpacked suitcases) is my husband of approximately 10 days. We spent a two week honeymoon traveling from Amsterdam to Delft to Maastricht and then back to Amsterdam.
Admittedly, the food is not what comes springing to mind when you think of the Netherlands (and what they pass off as “pizza” is a goddamned crime). It’s very… homey: sausage, potatoes, kale, bread, etc. And if you’re there — as we were — in December, when it’s rainy (it almost never snows there) and windy (which is almost always), it’s perfect.
So, last night, I made Limburgse stoofpot van lamsvlees — lamb stew Maastricht-style. What makes it “Maastricht-style”? I have no idea, but it was still good.
Recipe (adapted from GoDutch.com) is under the cut.
- 1 lb lamb in cubes
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp thyme
- salt & black pepper
- 1.5 cups chopped onion
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 cups strained tomatoes
- 2 cups red wine
- 4 bay leaves
- 24 black, pitted olives, chopped
- 1 tsp sugar
- 4 tbsp chopped parsley
Mix the flour, thyme, salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss in the meat cubes until all sides are well-coated. Put the oil and butter in a skillet and brown the lamb cubes on all sides. Add the onions and garlic.
When the onions become very light brown, pour in the wine and the tomatoes. Add hot water if necessary to just cover the meat. Put in the bay leaves.
Cover the pan and simmer for 70-ish minutes and see that the meat remains just covered with liquid. Add the chopped olives and the sugar. Simmer for 10 more minutes, uncovered, until the sauce has thickened. Take out the bay leaves and stir in parsley just before serving.
I think the olives really made this stew. I tasted it halfway through cooking and was fairly unimpressed, but after the addition of the olives, it added a salty note that it really needed. So, if you’re making this, don’t cheap out on the olives.
And for those of you still reading, here’s an additional photo with a little peek into my kitchen life: