2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 pounds American lamb shoulder, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 large fennel bulbs, quartered and thinly sliced, or chopped
3 shallots, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups dry white wine
1 (28-ounce can) crushed tomatoes
3 bay leaves
2 cups water
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
For the Croutons with Shortcut Roasted Pepper Olive Aioli (Optional)
1 anchovy, rinsed
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped roasted red pepper (storebought or homemade)
1 tablespoon chopped black olives
1 cup mayonnaise
16 slices of baguette
2 tablespoons olive oil
Thyme sprigs to serve
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy pot, such as enameled cast iron, over medium high heat. In small batches, so the meat isn’t crowded in the pan, brown the lamb, about 8 minutes per batch, seasoning with salt and pepper. Not every side has to be browned, but make sure most of them are, and that they have deep color on them. As you finish each batch, transfer it to a large plate or bowl.
2. Drain off any excess fat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and return the pot to medium-low heat. Add the fennel, shallots and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes until everything has started to soften and turn a bit golden. Stir in the flour, coriander and cumin, until everything is well blended and you can smell the spices, about 2 minutes. Return the lamb to the pot, and stir to coat the lamb with the seasoned vegetable mixture.
3. Add the wine and stir to help any browned bits to release from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves and water, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Turn the heat to medium high, and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium, low, making sure the mixture stays at a soft but steady simmer. Simmer and stir occasionally for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the sauce is quite thick and the meat is falling-apart tender – add more water if the sauce seems to be evaporating too quickly, or the stew begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.
4. If you wish to make the croutons, while the stew is cooking, preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the baguette slices with the 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle lightly with salt, and place on a baking sheet. Toast for about 4 minutes until just starting to turn golden. Remove and transfer to a place on a plate.
5. In a small food processor combine the black olives, anchovy, capers, garlic and peppers. Add the mayonnaise and process until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
6. When the stew has finished cooking, taste and add salt and pepper as needed, then stir in the orange juice and half of the zest. Serve the stew in individual bowls, with some of the aioli spooned onto the croutons and tucked alongside the stew. Sprinkle the remaining orange zest over the tops of the bowls, and lay a little sprig of thyme or two over the top if you are going for a little showy presentation.
PREP TIME: 1 Hour
COOK TIME: 2.5 Hours