Lamb Stew with Cannellini Beans

Dutch Oven with Lamb Stew and Cannellini Beans 

For the last few years, we've bought lamb every fall from Seiben Livestock in Helena, Montana. Actually it's a whole lamb that comes perfectly butchered into several different cuts including the leg (both bone in and boneless), rack, ground, chops, shank and shoulder.  Sunday nights have become "Lamb Sunday" in our house until our lamb supply runs out.  Whether it's chops on the grill, roasted leg in the oven or my personal favorite, stew, I've enjoyed every delicious bite.  And lamb stew fits nicely into cold winter Sundays when the stew spends its time in the oven and you can spend your time enjoying the day. To print this recipe as a PDF, click here.

3/4 c. flour

2 tsp. salt, divided 

5 T. olive oil + 2-3 T.

3 lbs. lamb shoulder cut into 2" pieces

6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 c. chopped onion, about 2 medium

1 1/2 c. celery, about 4 stalks

2 c. carrots cut into 1" pieces

6 turns of the pepper mill

1 tsp. rosemary

2 c. red wine

1 T. good mustard

1 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes

1 c. beef broth

Cannellini beans - 1 1/4 c. dried beans; boil in 4 cups of water for 2 minutes then set aside for 1 hour and drain OR use 3 cups of canned beans, gently rinsed and drained.  (Note-I prefer the soaked dried beans because you don't have to worry about them getting too mushy but canned beans work fine-see note below about when to add the canned beans.)

2 T. flour

3 T. butter at room temperature

Preheat oven to 325°.  Place the flour and 1 tsp salt in gallon size plastic bag.  Heat 5 T. oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat on the stove.  Add a few pieces of lamb at a time to the bag and gently shake to lightly coat with flour.  Add several pieces of meat to the pot at a time and brown in hot oil being careful not to crowd, turning them until browned, about 2-3 minutes on each side.  Remove cooked meat from the pot and place in a bowl.  Repeat with all the pieces (depending on the size of your pot, you may need to add another tablespoon or 2 of oil). After all the lamb is removed, add 2 T. oil to the pot and quickly sauté the garlic about 30 seconds until golden.  Add onions and cook 2-3 minutes until slightly soft and golden.  Add celery and carrots, 1 tsp. salt, 6 turns of the pepper mill and rosemary and cook 3-4 minutes more until soft.  Add wine and cook about 3-5 minutes until slightly reduced.  Add mustard, tomatoes and broth. Carefully add the lamb and any juices from the bowl.  Gently combine everything.  Meat should not be completely submerged but add more broth if needed.  Mix 2 T. flour and 3 T. butter in a small bowl to make a paste like spread.  Add the flour/butter paste by spoonfuls to the pot and stir gently until melted. Bring the pot to a simmer for 3 minutes.  If using soaked dried beans, add them to the pot, gently combine, cover the pot and bake in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours until the lamb is tender. If using canned beans, add them after 1 hour and 10 minutes of cooking and then continue to bake another 20 minutes. My personal favorite is to enjoy lamb stew with garlic mashed potatoes, buttered green beans and a glass of the red wine that's already open and sitting on your counter.