© David Loftus
dark, sticky stew
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Put your lamb into a bowl and season well with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Finely chop your rosemary leaves and add to the bowl with the flour. Mix around so that the meat is completely covered. Fry the lamb in a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a hot casserole-type pan do this in batches so the pieces get a nice bit of color, then remove from the pan and put to one side.
Turn the heat down, then fry your onion, mushrooms and carrots for about 5 minutes, until softened and slightly colored. Add the lamb back to the pan along with the parsnip, Marmite, pearl barley, ale and stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes while you skewer 3 chipolatas onto each of the skewers or rosemary sticks. Just before the stew goes in the oven, add the chipolatas to the pan. Then place a lid on or make a cartouche (see page 174), wet it and tuck this over the pan. Cook for around an hour, or until the lamb falls apart. I love to eat it just as it is, almost like a thick soup, with some crusty bread.
Try this: To really get the flavors going, the Italians have something called gremolata: finely chop some flat-leaf parsley, a clove of garlic and the zest from 1 or 2 lemons (or try oranges, which are also fantastic). Mix this up, sprinkle over the top of your stew and stir in it will really give it an amazing kick.
Or this: You can play around with different root vegetables, or even use different cuts of meat beef works really well in this stew. Just be aware that you may have to adjust the cooking time. Its ready when the meat is tender and falls apart.
1 3/4 lb stewing lamb, roughly diced sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small handful of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
2 heaping tablespoons flour extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
8 flat mushrooms, torn in half
1 handful of baby carrots, scrubbed
1 parsnip, peeled and grated
1 dessert spoon Marmite, optional
2 heaping tablespoons pearl barley
1/2 pint rich ale (Guinness, Caffreys, John Smiths)
1 pint stock
6 skewers or sticks of fresh rosemary, leaves removed
18 chipolata sausages