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Braised Lila’s lamb

December 22, 2010

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Serves 8

Chef Brian Alberg uses lamb from Lila Berle, who has been raising sheep in the Berkshires for many, many years. He makes sausages from the scraps. Serve over polenta and garnish each dish with a thin slice of toasted multigrain bread.

2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces (about 4 slices) bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 cup dried porcini, broken
1 can (about 15 ounces) diced plum tomatoes
1 bunch fresh kale, stemmed, leaves cut into strips
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 cup Madeira wine
1 quart chicken stock

1. Sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper.

2. In a large flameproof casserole, heat the oil over high heat. Add the butter and when it melts, brown the lamb, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

3. Lower the heat to medium-high. Add the bacon, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables start to brown.

4. Add the porcini, tomatoes, kale, and rosemary. Return the lamb and any juices on the plate to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the mixture starts to dry.

5. Add the wine and stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender and the sauce begins to thicken. Remove the lid and simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce is thick.

Note: This can be made ahead and cooled in the cooking liquid, then reheated the next day.

Adapted from the Red Lion Inn