Folks, I’ve discovered another game changer.
After reading John “Doc” Willoughby’s article “Deep Flavor, No Browning Required” in the NYT, I’ve decided to forgo pre-searing meat when I cook stews. According to the article, the way to “cold start” a stew is to skip the normal searing of meat in hot oil and replace it with a gentle warming of the protein in some fat, aromatics, and spices. No sputtering oil or grease burns AND you still get a delicious, flavorful dish? Awesome.
The other day, I decided to test out this method with my Rogan Josh recipe. How’d it turn out? The final dish was yummy and flavorful and nobody missed the browned bits (or the greasy mess).
Here’s what I gathered to feed 6 adults:
- 2.5 pounds of boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons ghee (or coconut oil)
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2 heaping tablespoons of Rogan Josh seasoning
- ½ cup full fat Greek yogurt (or coconut milk)
- 2/3 cup water Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Here’s how I made it:
I preheated the oven to 300 F, prepped the lamb…
…chopped the veggies…
…and melted the ghee in a large Dutch oven over medium low heat.
Once the fat melted, I dumped in the lamb, onions, carrots, spices, salt, and pepper.
I stirred the mixture constantly for 5-8 minutes until the spices were fragrant.
Next, I added the water and yogurt and increased the heat to high to bring the contents to a simmer.
I put on the lid and placed the stew in the oven for around two hours or until the lamb was very tender. I removed the stew from the oven and adjusted the seasoning with salt and pepper.
I transferred the finished dish to a storage container with the intent of reheating it in a few days.
Stews always taste better when they’ve been allowed to mellow out in the fridge for a day and this was no exception. My parents kept on remarking that the lamb was super tender and delicious. I think they’re just surprised that my food is edible these days. Practice makes perfect…2