The calendar says Fall is here. The weather agrees: we’re experiencing cool nights and the turning of the leaves beginning in the Northeast.Â Here in the mountains of North Carolina, our precious gardens are starting to die back.Â There is a crisp bite in the morning air and the trace of fireplace smoke adrift.
This is a season of changes.Â Bountiful fruits and vegetables turn into rows of gleaming mason jars full of bounty put up forÂ our winter health and enjoyment.
Warm, luscious suppers are taking the place of salads and cold food.Â This is still a busy time, and making meals easier to prepare makes them that much easier to enjoy. Cooking nice, warm, hearty suppers doesnâ€™t mean extra work.Â Look for recipes that you can cook once and make a second meal of from your hard work.
2 pounds lamb cubes* (inexpensive cut works best)
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons oil
Salt and pepper to taste
6 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed
6 carrots peeled, cubed
3 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced fine
4 white turnips, peeled and cubed
1 cup frozen peas
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
In a medium mixing bowl, dredge lamb* pieces with flour. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet and brown well in oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with water, cover skillet and simmer meat until nearly tender, 1 to 1 Â½ hours.Â Add peeled vegetables (except tomato paste and peas) and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.Â Stir in tomato paste and simmer 10 more minutes. In a small dish, add 1 Tablespoon flour to 1 Tablespoon ?? and make a slurry.Â Stir slurry into stew, add peas and bring to a gentle boil for 10 minutes to thicken.
Before serving, set aside 2 cups of stew for Shepherdâ€™s Pie.
*Substitute beef if desired
6 potatoes, peeled, cubed, cooked and mashed
2 cups leftover lamb stew
Spray or grease a 9X9 baking dish. Pre-heat oven to 425Â°F.
Microwave stew and potatoes or warm them to a workable consistency. Line baking dish with half the warm mashed potatoes; be sure to come up the sides. Fill the center with warmed stew, cover with remaining mashed potatoes and place in oven for 15 minutes or until potatoes are browned. Variation: Add 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar on top and bake until cheese is bubbly.