Welcome to my whole foods cooking blog. I believe that food and eating are essential to our life as human beings and in forming a strong social connection to the world around us. This blog is a way to experiment with recipes and educate myself and anyone else who stumbles by on the history and benefits of eating slow, whole foods.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Braised Lamb with Kalamata Olives and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Fall, as you may or may not be aware, represents to unofficial opening of braising season.

That's right, break out your glazed ceramic La Creuset roasting pots and slow cookers because it is time to tackle those tougher cuts that get left out of the grilling line up. Soups, stocks, fragrant stews teeming with layer upon layer of intricate flavors that only 4-8 hours of slow cooking can illicit are back on the menu my friends and I couldn't be happier. There is nothing more comforting on a crisp, fall evening than curling up to a bowl of my favorite slow cooked concoction and watching the sunlight fade through the vines that are still clinging to both summer and the screens over my windows.

For my first braise of the season I've decided to expand on my new found, and might I add long overdue, love of olives in a Medditeranean flavored lamb braise. The sun-dried tomatoes, which I prefer not packed in oil, hold up wonderfully and the quick tapenade from the roasted garlic and olives adds just enough of a briney, earthy bite to counter the grassy, unique flavor of the lamb.

Braised Lamb with Kalamata Olives and Sun Dried Tomatoes
Serves 6 people


2 tbsp EVOO
1.75# lamb stew meat
sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
27 Kalamata olives
8 roasted garlic cloves, or 6 raw
1.5c canned organic whole tomatoes
1/3 cup organic tomato paste
4 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 c organic beef broth
1 package Sun-Dried tomatoes, julienned
1 12 oz can Artichoke Hearts packed in brine, quartered
2 cups cremini mushroom, sliced 1/4 thick
1 medium yellow onion, sliced 1/4" thick
1.5 red bell peppers, sliced 1/4" thick
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed from stem
1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled


1. Heat oil on high heat in a large saute pan
2. Pat lamb dry and season with salt and pepper
3. Brown the lamb pieces, working in two batches and careful not to crowd the pan
4. Remove lamb to a slow cooker
5. Deglaze the pan with beef broth and pour over lamb
6. In a food processor, pulse olives and garlic until it it resembles a rough chop then add to slow cooker
7. Blend tomatoes, tomato paste, and balsamic vinegar with either an immersion (stick) blender or in a blender and pour into slow cooker
8. Set slow cooker for 8 hours
9. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining vegetables and set aside in fridge
10. At 4 hours, add the remaining vegetables and rosemary to the slow cooker fully incorporating them into the braise
11. Ladle the braise into bowls and garnish with feta cheese

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