Tuscan Lamb Stew
Tuscan Lamb Stew
9 pounds Lean American Lamb neck bones cut into 2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons Black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 cup, divide Olive oil
9 tablespoons, divided Butter
4-1/2 cups Sweet onions, medium dice
9 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons Fennel seeds
6 stalks Celery, peeled and diced
9 tablespoons Tomato paste
4-1/2 cups Carrots, roll cut
6 Bay leaves
6 tablespoons Candied orange peel, sliced into thin strips
3 large Fennel bulbs, cleaned and cut into slivers
1-1/2 teaspoons Ground cinnamon
3 cups Red wine
6 cups Roma tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and diced
9 Lamb demi stock
1-1/2 teaspoons Red pepper flakes
12 ounces Butter, diced
1-1/2 ounces Bitter chocolate
Salt to taste
1-1/2 pounds Pasta
3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup Toasted pine nuts
3/4 cup Reggiano, grated
Strip the fat from the lamb, rinse and dry the meat. Sprinkle with black pepper. Over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil and 4-1/2 tablespoons butter in a cast iron pan or dutch oven. Add the lamb in batches being careful not to crowd the pieces; brown on all sides. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and 4-1/2 tablespoons butter as needed. The flavor and deep reddish-brown color of the stew depends on thorough and careful browning. Remove the browned lamb and reserve. Add the onions, garlic, fennel seeds, celery, tomato paste, carrots, bay leaves, orange peel, fennel and cinnamon. Toss them well in the fat. Stir well with a wooden spoon so the vegetables are coated and the paste is mixed well.
Cook for 3 to 4 minutes then add the wine; mix and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock and pepper flakes; lower the heat to a simmer. Add the reserved lamb pieces. Cover the pan and simmer the stew for 1-1/2 hours, making sure that the meat is always covered by the liquid. Add more stock if needed.
When the stew is almost done cook the pasta al dente; drain well. In a bowl, toss the pasta with the olive oil. Shake thoroughly, cover and set aside in a warm spot.
Stir the butter and chocolate into the stew. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, tossing the stew occasionally as the sauce begins to thicken.
Discard the bay leaves. Carefully skim off and discard the fat that has risen to the surface of the pot. Remove the neck and then the meat from the bones. Place the meat and the pasta into the stew, toss well, and salt to taste.
Arrange the stew on plates and top with the pine nuts and cheese.