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Author Notes: This dish came about one day when I was determined to cook Daube de boeuf provençale (here's a typical recipe: http://frenchfood.about.com/od/maindishes/r/daubeprov.htm ). However, since the lamb that was on offer in the supermarket that day looked excellent, I came home with lamb rather than beef. I then decided to swap carrots and celery for eggplant and bell peppers, as these vegetables go very well with lamb. I also did quite a lot of other changes and adjustments, adding flavors that in my experience work with lamb, as well as working together. I thus ended up with an entirely different and completely new dish. —Tonemid
- Olive oil
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1.5 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed with a knife blade, then minced
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 strip orange zest, 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide
- 1/2 bottle unoaked red wine
- 3/4 cup lamb broth (or beef broth)
- 1 28 oz can tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- 2 small/medium red bell peppers, chopped into thin strips
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon finely minced fresh red chili pepper (serrano, for example)
- 1 cup small black olives (niçoise for example)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4-1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (ie the juice from 1/2-1 orange)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy-based pot, fry the eggplant in a little olive oil over high heat. Remove from pot and set aside.
- In the same pot that was used for the eggplant, working in batches, brown the lamb on all sides. Transfer to a dish as each batch is finished. If there are now a lot of brown bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, boil it out with a little water, scraping well with a spatula to loosen all the sediments. Pour into a container, and reserve.
- Still in the same pot, gently fry onions in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add bay leaves, garlic and thyme, and fry for a few seconds more. Add tomato paste, stir well, and throw in orange zest.
- Pour in wine, and boil over a medium/high heat until almost reduced by half. Then add browned lamb, broth, canned tomatoes, and the reserved liquid from boiling out the pan (or a little water if you didn't deglaze). Simmer gently under a lid for one hour.
- Add bell pepper . Simmer without the lid for one hour, or until the meat is almost tender. Add a splash of water if the stew is becoming too dry.
- Stir in eggplant, rosemary and chopped chili, and cook until the meat is nearly starting to fall apart, half an hour or so.
- Remove bay leaves and orange zest . Add olives, and simmer for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and add orange juice to taste. Bring back to the boil. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with parsley.
- Serve with garlicky mashed potatoes.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Stew with Olives