12.05.10: dinner (braised lamb with tomatoes and peppers over toasted fideos)

Braised Lamb with Tomatoes and Peppers with Toasted Fideos

I saw the first flecks of snow while in Stamford, waiting for the 6:57 clutching a box of penne alla puttanesca and a little bottle of Cabernet Sauvingnon, all the while cold and thankful for the real pashmina that my best friend had gifted her bridesmaids back in July. Though winter is still officially eight days away, the weather would have us believe that it is here now, and just in time for Christmas festivities. These past years, though, haven’t felt quite so festive–and so they continue to be. While we’re OK (for now, at least) it doesn’t mean that we can’t empathize with what others must endure, what we endured in the past.

Snow usually makes me feel elated, especially when I’m in the city:  it sparkles against the streetlights and twists about in the artificial wind tunnels that skyscrapers create. Last night it merely made me feel cold and desperate for a taxi. Giving a dollar to the guy who was running out in traffic to secure a yellow cab for me feel almost good in a way, because he was doing something absolutely crazy and I could show my appreciation in a tangible way.

In that spirit, I offer this rich, succulent, and comforting dish: tender lamb chunks mixed with tomatoes and peppers meld together to make a fantastic braise, and the toasted noodles definitely provide something different to eat; lighter than pasta (if you ask me) and they take to the fideuà method well. It’s an unexpected side dish that adds depth of flavor to an already comforting bowl of food, and it’s one that is perfect for an unreasonably cold day.

Braised Lamb with Tomatoes and Peppers

Adapted from Spanish Country Kitchen

Serves 2 with generous leftovers

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 dried chile negro, soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes
  • 3 pounds lamb (we used lamb shanks that were trimmed), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 small red, orange and yellow  peppers, roasted and chopped
  • 1 14.5oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4  cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Sea salt

In a generously-sized Dutch/French oven, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and garlic, sauteing until they are golden (or until about 7 minutes), then add in the chile and mix it into the onion-garlic mixture. After a minute or two, remove the vegetables and wipe the saute pan.’

The rest of the olive oil will then go into the pan, and you’ll saute those morsels until browned and then add in the onion/garlic/pepper mixture, then the roasted peppers, and then the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes uncovered on the stove, stirring from time to time to make sure that the sauce isn’t sticking to the pan.

Then cover the mess and cook for another 30 minutes, remove from heat and let rest for a good five minutes. The meat should be very tender at this point. Spoon over toasted fideos (below), sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Toasted Fideos

Serves 2 with generous leftovers

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 generous pinches of safflower stamen (aka “American saffron”)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 lb fine egg noodles/fideos
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1 1/2 cups water
  • Sea salt

In a small saucepan, bring three cups of chicken broth to boil, reduce to simmer, and then add two pinches of safflower stamen (it’s the American version of saffron, and it’s significantly cheaper than saffron. Use saffron if it’s more readily available). Let steep for at least 5 minutes and remove from heat.

In a saute pan, add the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. When shimmering, add the noodles and toast for a good five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute; then add the broth and a cup of water. Cover the pan and cook for a good 5 minutes. Remove the cover and if the noodles seem dry, add the reamining water. Cover for another minute or so if necessary, then remove and let remaining liquid evaporate. Spoon into bowls and then add lamb stew over noodles and serve immediately.


One Comment Add yours

  1. I love the idea of toasting the noodles before cooking them. I feel like I’ve seen the technique with rice but never noodles. This looks like the perfect meal for winter time. Or really, any time 🙂

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