Look on the bright side of winter’s slow wind-down—there’s still time to cross a classic dish off your must-cook list. Chef William Kovel adds his own touch to the famed French bourguignon with American lamb taking center-stage (or, more appropriately, center-stew) from the more traditional beef. The meat is slow-roasted in aromatic red wine until tender, then paired up with its dinner partners: roasted mushrooms, pearl onions and bacon for a hearty bowl of Burgundy flavor.
- 1 bottle red wine
- 5 juniper berries
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 pound bunch of celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 white onions, thinly sliced
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 whole allspice
- Salt and pepper
- 5 pounds boneless American lamb shoulder, cubed
- Flour for dusting
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 3 quarts chicken stock
- olive oil
- 1 pound smoked lamb belly bacon or cooked pork bacon lardons
- 1 cup mushrooms
- 1 cup white pearl onions
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- The day before, place the lamb shoulder in a glass or non-reactive container and add the red wine, juniper berries, garlic, mirepoix (celery, carrots and onion), herbs and spices. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Day of, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Strain the lamb shoulder cubes from the marinade and reserve the vegetables. Discard the herbs and spices. In a pot, bring the marinade to a boil and skim off any impurities that may rise to the top. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Set aside.
- Season the lamb with salt and pepper and dust with flour. In a heavy bottomed 8-quart pot, heat olive oil and sear the lamb very well on all sides on medium heat. (Be careful not to burn the flour, it will cause bitterness.) Remove the meat from the pan and discard the oil.
- Heat new oil and add the reserved vegetables. Cook until caramelized and browned, then add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
- Deglaze the vegetables with the strained marinade and reduce by two-thirds. Add the chicken stock and bring to boil.
- Remove from heat. Add the browned lamb cubes, cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 3-4 hours or until the meat falls apart.
- In a separate pan, cook the bacon until crispy. Set aside and wipe out the pan. Add olive oil and cook the mushrooms and pearl onions on medium heat until browned. Set aside.
- Gently remove the lamb from the pot and heat the liquid on the stove until reduced by half, skimming off as much fat as possible.
- Add the lamb back to the braising liquid with the reserved bacon, mushrooms, onions and parsley. Cook until heated through.