I have my suspicions as to why, but I always feel down at the start of a New Year. My brother died of cancer a couple of weeks before Christmas, 2008 and his Birthday would have been on the 5th January. As if that isn't enough, a friend of ours lost her own battle with this cruel disease just two days ago so I'm thinking I have every right to feel slow, reflective, unexcited and generally bleh right now.
I need to confront another reason for feeling down in the dumps, and that's my incompatible relationship with sugar. I'm not talking about refined sugar, because I gave that up over a year ago. I mean the likes of honey, dates etc ... they're all sugars as I'm sure you know. But Christmas makes one reach for treats rather than liver, and as I've just said, sugars and I are not meant to be! Actually I feel another Whole30 coming my way, but I just need to get a couple of recipes under my belt first. There's an exciting project up my sleeve you see!
Our New Year has started with resolutions. A rarity as it happens, because I gave up making those years ago. Let's face it, they never get kept do they? This time, though, it's all arranged. Testing! That's what the resolution is, appointments for all four of us are booked with a Functional Practitioner, we'll have comprehensive lab work done and take it from there. Have you done this I wonder? We've had certain bits and bobs done, food sensitivities (no real surprises), hair analysis for heavy metals (riddled) for instance, but to be honest we've always prioritised the children and gone without as a result.
So whilst I ride out the January blues, I'm taking comfort in warming stews and this one is really helping out on that front. Oh, how I love lamb!
lamb stew with butternut, apples and ginger
be sure to choose firm apples for this stew or else they will turn to mush.
Print the recipe here
1 kg lamb stewing meat, cut into 1+1/2 inch chunks
1 tbsp solid fat (I use lard)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp sage leaves, finely chopped
1/2 (700g) butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 cups (750ml) beef or lamb bone broth
2 large firm apples, such as granny smith or golden delicious, cored and sliced
Preheat oven to 300F / 150C
For tips on successful browning, please refer to this post.
If you buy nicely marbled meat, there shouldn't be any need to put fat in the pan before you sear, however feel free to add a small amount of solid fat if you think it necessary.
Heat a large heavy based lidded casserole (Dutch oven). Brown the meat in batches (see above), removing with a slotted spoon onto a plate and set to one side. Once the meat is browned and removed, add the tbsp of fat and then the onion and celery to the casserole. Turn the heat right down and sweat the veggies for 5 minutes or so until softened slightly. If, at any point, your pan is a little over brown and parched, a tbsp water will help release the sediment, so quickly scrape it off and incorporate into the onions before the moisture is evaporated.
Next, stir in the ginger and cook one minute more. Add the browned meat, together with the remaining ingredients, except the apples, and mix well, making sure the meat is covered by the liquid. Turn the heat up to a simmer, put the lid on and place into the oven.
Cook for 2+1/4 hours, or until the meat is beautifully tender. Add the apples and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.
Serve with garlic cauliflower mash.