Patagonia has crazy weather. Sun, rain, snow, storm, no wind, hot, cold - 4 seasons in one day. And Patagonia has sheep. A lot of sheep. Try this stew. Maybe on the weekend as it needs some time to cook. It is soo good and smells incredible. Let me know what you think!
The patagonian lamb is one of the best I ever ate, probabely because it is not transported miles and miles. And similar to the lamb from Wales, Ireland or Scotland it is not that strong in taste as e.g. the lamb from New Zealand. No idea why, maybe the wind is the one to blame.
I am a bit picky with lamb. If it tastes like a barn has been cleaned out, I won't eat it. But this stew even works for me. As you don't get patagonian lamb in Europe (if I were patagonian, I wouldn't export it either and rather eat it myself ;-)), I just make sure, that I get a piece of meat from a young lamb without much fat, e.g. the saddle of lamb. The taste gets a lot stronger, if you refrigerate the meat and/or the dish. So I try to avoid that and take fresh meat.
Ingredients for 4 hungry people
1 kg lamb meat (saddle of lamb from Ireland, Wales... see above)
6 red onions, chopped
6 medium sized carrots, chopped
3-4 small stalks of celery, chopped - about the same amount or a bit less than the carrots
1 Hokkaido pumpkin, peeled and cut into pieces. Alternative: 1 medium sized sweet potato
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces (same size as pumpkin)
250g dried black beans, soaked (don't take Kidney beans please)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 Chilis, chopped
Herbs - hard stems removed and chopped: half a bunch or parsley, 4 large sprigs or rosemary, 6 large sprigs of thyme, half a bunch of cilantro
2 glasses of red wine
1 glass of broth
Spices: salt, pepper, 1 table spoon of paprika (smoked, if you have it), mace or nutmeg
Cut the meat into cubes of about 3 or 4 cm. Flour, salt and pepper them and leave them to rest for half an hour. Then take a big pot, melt a tablespoon of butter and some olive oil in it and fry the lamb - don't fry all at once. Fry in about 3 portions as the meat would loose too much liquid otherwise: put 1/3 of the meat into the hot butter/oil mix, fry until slightly brown, take the meat out and salt and pepper it slightly. Then melt again some butter and oil in the same pot, put in the second third of the meat etc. Put the meat aside for later.
Then fry in the same pot: onions, garlic, chilis, carrots, celery, HALF of the pumpkin and HALF of the potatoes. Deglaze with wine and broth. Add chopped herbs, and season the liquid to taste (salt, pepper, paprika, mace/nutmet).
Simmer at low heat with closed lid for about an hour.
Add black beans and meat and simmer for another 1-1,5 hours until the meat is almost tender.
Add the rest of the pumkin and potatoes and simmer until they are tender too, depending on the cube size between 1/4 and 1/2 hour. Don't overcook.
Season to taste and... Eat. :-)
Enjoy! And let me know what you think!