Lamb (and Tofu) Barley Stew

I love making clients and friends happy. Very often I have to make a vegetarian version of a dish at the same time that I’m making the meat version. At a dinner party, vegetarians shouldn’t be ignored when it comes to the entree. It certainly isn’t fair to force them to pick at sides without a main course. Sometimes, I’ll just make one entree that will satisfy everyone. Easy, peasy. But there are other times when an animal-based protein is specifically requested. For those times, I make a companion entree for vegetarians.

Lamb & Barley Stew
Tofu & Barley Stew


Tofu & Barley Stew                 Lamb & Barley Stew

Lamb (and Tofu) Barley Stew

Adapted from Alton Brown


Serves 6 Lamb Stews and 2 Tofu Stews

Ingredients

1 pound extra firm tofu

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon all purpose, unbleached flour
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

3 cups water
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
3 stalks celery, finely diced
10 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
8.8 ounces Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Barley
8 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons freshly chopped oregano

Directions

1. Turn broiler on Low.
2. Drain tofu. Cut into bite size pieces. Evenly lay out pieces on a foil lined broiler pan that has been lightly oiled. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. 

3. Broil for 15-20 minutes, until slightly browned and a nice crust has formed. Remove from broiler and set aside.

4.In a medium mixing bowl, toss the lamb with the salt, pepper and flour.
5. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a 4 to 5-quart Dutch oven set over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add half of the lamb, and brown on all sides, approximately 7 to 8 minutes total. Remove the lamb to a bowl and repeat with the remaining oil and lamb. 
6. Return first batch of lamb to pot and add 3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer approximately 40 minutes, until water has mostly evaporated and lamb is very tender.

7. In a 4-5 quart Dutch oven, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. 
8. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring often. 
9. Add the carrots and celery to the pot. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
10. Add mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
11. Add barley and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
12. Add vegetable broth and stir to incorporate all flavors. 
13. Remove 1/4 of the broth, vegetables and barley and add to smaller pot. 
14. Add lamb to the large pot. Bring stew to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes, until liquid has reduced by at least half.
15. Bring the smaller pot to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until liquid has reduced by at least half.
16. Sprinkle both pots with oregano. Taste and add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.
17. Divide tofu squares among two plates. Divide stew from small pot between two plates.
18. Divide lamb stew among 6 bowls.

Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!

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