This is something I've done for a couple of dinner parties to great appreciation. This time it was by accident, as the frost covered package I pulled out of the freezer turned out not to be the expected pork shoulder, but instead had somehow, against all laws of nature, turned into a lamb shoulder. I have no idea how these things happen , but in the whole spirit of lemons to lemonade, when I'm handed a three pound hunk of lamb shoulder I'm become one braisy motherf*cker. Also this wasn't for a dinner party, as it was just wand I and our meager appetites....well, her meager appetite and my overfed one. So needless to say this was also dinner the next night and lunch at work for a couple of days.
In any event, this Spanish inflected braised lamb shoulder from the Dean and DeLuca Cookbook (a money shot of a cookbook if ever there was one!) is something you need to throw into your dutch oven at home....soon! The chorizo and smoked paprika add such intense, smoky, spicy flavor and character and that Iberian something-something that makes me dream of dark cafés and bottles of Rioja in an Andalucian village. In fact the DandD book recommended a Rioja as the perfect beverage accompaniment, and they were absolutely right. This is absolutely The only thing you may need to order ahead is the lamb shoulder, as they are sometimes hard to find. But it's worth the effort, as this is one swoon-worthy dish!
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Spanish Lamb Stew with White Beans and Chorizo
From the Dean and DeLuca Cookbook
serves six....or more
6 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound Spanish chorizo
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2-1/2 to 3 pound lamb shoulder, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 cup rich beef stock (I took 2 cups regular beef broth and boiled it down to 1 cup-bb)
14 ounce can plum tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup chopped fresh marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste
2 15 oz cans white beans
1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over moderately high heat. Add chorizo and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes. Add onions and garlic, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes more. Remove contents of pan and set aside.
Notes from DandD: "The boneless lamb in this delicious cassoulet-like stew makes for polite knife-and-fork eating. This dish tastes best when eaten right after cooking; it will not improve in the refrigerator, as many other stews do. Serve with a green salad and a good bottle of red Rioja."