Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"What Do We Have in the Fridge?" Lamb Stew

INGREDIENTS (serves 6):

1 bottle He'brew Hop Manna Test Batch #4

1 1/2 lb lamb stew meat
1 large onion, halved and sliced
1 yellow pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1/8 tsp red pepper flake
dash mace
2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp flour
1 bottle Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large turnip, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

2-3 large parsnips, peeled and chopped, hard core removed and added to stew with vegetables
3 tbsp butter
6 oz sour cream
a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper


1) Add a touch of oil in the bottom of a dutch oven; heat
and add the lamb. Cook at medium high until browned on all sides.
2) Add garlic, half of the onion and a third of the yellow pepper. Sweat for 5 minutes.
3) Add tomato puree, spices, and flour. Cook 3 or 4 minutes until fragrant.
4) Pour in beer, crushed tomatoes, and water and bring to a boil; then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hrs.
5) Stir in remaining onions and peppers, carrots, turnips and parsnip cores. Increase heat until it starts to boil, then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for about 1 - 1.5 hrs more, until vegetables are tender.
6) Finish with the sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.


1) Heat the butter in a skillet on medium high until it foams and starts to brown; add parsnips and a touch of salt.
2) Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until parsnips are tender. Stir occasionally.
3) Blend parsnips and sour cream in a food processor until smooth.
4) Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Open He'brew Hop Manna. Enjoy together.


He'brew Hop Manna Test Batch #4...tasty, tasty brew. It has a rich amber copper tone and good head (that's always fun to write, incidentally). On the nose, there is a lot more malt than you normally get from an American IPA. Has a little more of the bready fruitiness of a British IPA style. The taste follows from that exactly as expected--a medium carbonation, slightly sweet, with a late breaking grassy hop presence. They put 6 different hops in this beer, and to be honest, I'm not quite sure why. But overall a very pleasant beer, which went nicely with the richness and acidity of the lamb stew.


Beer, meet Food.

Lyndsay, meet bright red Le Creuset dutch oven.


During the cold, nipply months, one wants brazen casseroles and thick soups and hearty dishes with dripping meat chunks and cubes of roots tossed in with the tenderous fleshy sinews. (Yes, tenderous is a word. No, you can't tell me otherwise.) Never mind that NYC has been effing creepily warm this winter, I will not have my stew inclinations trod upon by temperate climes. So when Gabe scored me the incredibly natty crimson Le Crueset seen above on my stovetop, I did the Happy Happy Joy Joy dance and a couple of laps around the living room.

I wrote up a piece for Otto Penzler in his forthcoming IN PURSUIT OF SPENSER essay anthology (click here!) about Robert B. Parker's use of food and cooking in the series and mentioned my belief that there's something of a soul to certain kinds of cookware. Really old iron skillets, beautifully made knives, seasoned cutting boards...they matter when you're cooking. Making dishes with beautiful or historied tools means something, particularly when you're serving the concoction to loved ones.

So far, my Le Creuset is a baby. Only two months old, having gotten it for Christmas. But I want to make countless dishes in it, until the memory of many meals shared lives in its enamel. Thus far, it has performed admirably. There is something so bloody sexy about getting a brilliant brown sear on a chunk of meat, and for this reason I have been kissing my new dutch oven repeatedly and cuddling it in the wee hours. It needs to see decades of curries and chowders and tagines come and go.

Le Crueset dutch oven, we shall grow old together. While Gabe is gently caressing his Bob Kramer Henckel carbon steel chef's knife, I shall nuzzle your cool enamel surface, and be content.