Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Weird Winter Fare

It's not the fare that's weird, it's the winter.

We are officially having the driest winter on record in our neck of the California woods. Day after day of clear skies and bright sunshine has also made the weather warmer than normal. Last fall, Cora was shedding like crazy, huge handfuls of fur when I brushed her every other day. Her coat has never been this thin, even in summer. She's a very hairy dog but, even so, I began to worry that something was wrong despite her shiny coat, bright eyes and wet nose. Turns out, she somehow knew that she wouldn't need all that fuzzy stuff this winter, so she just offed it early on. 

I'm having a tough time following her lead. I still want cold weather foods - stews and braises rather than salads - even though they are all wrong for the weather. It seems my appetite still lives in Rochester, NY where it's cold and snowy at this time of year.

The other day, I was in the mood for lamb stew and the market had lamb on sale. It seemed like kismet.

I built the stew like a house - each part got its own treatment. I browned the meat in bacon fat in my Dutch oven, then removed it to a plate while I browned whole mushrooms and small whole onions in the same pan. Removed them when they were browned but still firm. Then added red wine to deglaze the pot, about two teaspoons of thyme, a small tub of lamb goozle from a previous stew that I found in the freezer, the browned lamb chunks, and enough beef stock to cover the meat, then slid it into a 300 degree F oven for about four hours. When the meat was as tender as possible, I added back in the browned veggies and some small Yukon Gold potatoes, and cooked them all together for about an hour to blend the flavors and soften the spuds. 

With the windows open and our short sleeved tee shirts on, we sat down to a perfect winter stew. Cora was under the table panting in the weird winter warmth.

3 Comments:

Blogger Greg said...

My animals are doing the same. I admit I like the warm but am not ready for the drought drama. Come on rain!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014  
Blogger Namastenancy said...

They have lamb stew all the time, in all weather, in the middle east. I think that summer stews have more vegs and fruit while winter stews are heavy on the meat and pilaf.

And boo for no rain. I finished up all my pre-prep today by 10:30 and am glad to be inside. It's warm out there.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, official declaration today from Governor Moonbeam - we are in a drought. Well, duh!

Nancy, I've done all I can to bring the rain - washed windows, washed the car, left out the cushions on the deck chairs - wish I had a rain dance but sadly I have no First Nations blood.

Friday, January 17, 2014  

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