Archive | February, 2012

Spanish-style Lamb Stew with Roasted Red Peppers

6 Feb

I made this for my daughter last week…and then again yesterday. We slurped and argued over pieces of “soppin’ bread” the first time. The second time there were leftovers. Recipe adaptations & advice:

I bought some really lamby lamb–shoulder cut bone-in, left the bones in, added twice the garlic (my rule of thumb), additional wine and really let each addition of liquid cook down. I didn’t cut off enough of the lamb fat the second time and ended up doing a lot of skimming-beware. I think I simmered the stew for at least 2 hours which really concentrated the flavors. Use really good beef stock or some sort of beef stock concentrate to supplement a good-quality box brand if you can’t make your own. UNFORTUNATELY, the second time I tried out the Kitchen Basics beef stock (no alternative at the store) and it was completely flavorless. The company didn’t even bother salting it. I tried to save it by adding some concentrated chicken stock but that and the Trader Joe’s- completely-worthless-organic-tomato paste didn’t give the recipe the ‘umph’ it needed to compete with my first round of deliciousness. I used Amore Concentrated Tomato Paste (the one in the tube) the first time–really great flavor.

Overall, this recipe rocks—just don’t insult it’s Spanish-like heritage by skimping on ingredients.


  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder, fat trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-in. chunks, or other lamb stew meat
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 cup Syrah or other dry red wine
  • About 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 red bell peppers, halved, stemmed, and seeded
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 3 tablespoons chopped drained capers


  1. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Pour 1 tbsp. olive oil into a large pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add lamb in a single layer; cook, turning as needed, until browned all over, 12 minutes per batch. Transfer to a bowl and add more oil between batches if necessary.
  2. Reduce heat to medium; if pan is dry, add a little more oil. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, and cumin and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add wine, 1 1/2 cups broth, and the tomato paste; bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Add lamb and juices; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lamb is very tender when pierced, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Add more broth if mixture gets too dry.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Set pepper halves skin side up on a baking sheet. Broil 4 to 6 in. from heat until blackened all over, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand at least 10 minutes, then peel and thinly slice lengthwise. In a small bowl, mix parsley, olives, and capers.
  4. Stir roasted peppers into lamb mixture. If stew is too thick, add a little more broth. Cook, uncovered, until heated through. Season to taste with more salt and pepper and top with parsley mixture.



Blog Introduction: Alimentación…grato!

4 Feb

Consume de Barbacoa, Ciudad de Oaxaca, 2008

Loosely translated in Spanish, “alimentación” means “feeding” and “grato” means something like “pleasing”.

My closest friends and family have known me to proclaim “I’d rather not eat if it doesn’t taste good.” I think back to all those years of corporate business lunches at Chili’s, Chevy’s and–I can’t believe I survived–Applebee’s. I usually ordered, teeth clenched, the most neutral meal on the menu: side salad with vinegar and oil (praying the oil wasn’t rancid, hoping for more than ice berg and leaving the slimy pieces on the edge of the plate). A side salad usually saves you about 3,000 calories at those places by the way.

But enough about my food-related trauma. The intention of this blog is to share the pleasure I take in eating well and to express the joy I take in every facet of food preparation, serving, eating and photography. I’d like to share with you my everyday fixation with food from that extra lambie tasting lamb I found at X market (and what I did with it) to recipes that make it to my “standards” or “win him over” list.

I also plan to include the occasional restaurant review–or at least a Yelp link. And just to mix it up, reflections on places I’ve eaten oversees that I just can’t get out of my mind/heart: Tortas ahogadas in Guadalajara, smoked fish street tacos in Lahaina, a 5-hour la merienda in the Spanish countryside and the menu that forced me to plan my entire vacation around lunch & dinner at Cafe El Punto in touristy Old San Juan–are just a few.

Before I had a child, at least 1/3 of my photos consisted of pictures of food and food-related gatherings. I’ll be sure to share some of my favorite images with you.

Until next time: Bon appetit! Bon profit! On egin! Приятного аппетита بالهنا و الشفاء! ¡Buen provecho!食飯 En guete! Verði þér að góðu Buon appetito! どうぞめしあがれ Bonum appetitionem! Сайхан хооллоорой  Bom apetite! Смачного! Ăn ngon nhé! (Yes, I had to look most of these up!)

-Mrs. Paddington

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