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Lamb Spezzatino with Potatoes, Almonds and Mint Recipe

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Lamb Spezzatino with Potatoes, Almonds and Mint Recipe
Pino Messina
For people who say lamb is "gamy", this recipe might change their minds. This very flavorful stew -- spezzatino -- combines levels of flavor from the bacon, herbs and wine, and the emulsion of olive oil, lemon, mint and parsley at the end of cooking adds a bright fresh flavor.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 thick slices bacon, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 pounds leg of lamb or lamb shoulder chops
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3 leaves fresh sage, chopped
  • Pinch red chili flakes
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds

Preparation:

  1. Put the carrot, celery, onion and smashed garlic in a medium pot with four cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer 20 minutes.

  2. Cut the lamb into 1-inch pieces and season with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. (If using lamb shoulder chops, cut the meat off the bones.)

  3. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high, then add the bacon, and saute 2 or 3 minutes, until the bacon begins to brown. Add the chopped garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add the lamb and brown on all sides.

  4. Pour in the wine, and let it reduce, stirring the lamb often. Using a ladle, add 1 ladle of the vegetable broth to the lamb, and let it reduce, until almost evaporated. Add the rosemary, sage, red chili flakes, and 3 ladles of broth. Cover, lower the heat and simmer 30 minutes.

  5. Add the potatoes, and if needed, add more broth. Cover and simmer 15 more minutes until the lamb is very tender. Taste the stew for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as desired.

  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mint and parsley with a drizzle of olive oil, and pour it over the lamb. Serve the spezzatino in large bowls and sprinkle the toasted almond slices on top.
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