Growing up I used to spend Thursdays after school over my nanny and granddads house, this was a day when food was cooked for the family once a week. One of the meals was a chicken stew and that was my favorite dish as a child, you know besides fish and chips!
My nan’s stew was of course chicken and what I make today is lamb but this is after years and years of experimenting different flavors and tastes to create something that’s inspired by my nan and her cooking but made into something I added my own spin to it.
F R E S H I S B E S T
The best ingredients are almost always fresh, and whenever I make this dish I go out of my way to make sure I get the fresh products to add into the pot, usually I buy all my ingredients in my local supermarkets but wherever you source your food is down to you.
With the meat, once again its all dependent on what kind of meat you wish to have in your stew, this one is a lamb stew and I make sure to get diced shoulder. However if this isn’t available then any leg cut will do, I once made this out of leg steaks purely because I couldn’t find diced and didn’t want to go get frozen meat. But you can make this with whatever choice of meat you want, I once made it with sausages which was a fun little treat.
Carrots, the bigger the better In my opinion, for a perfect chunky mouthful, Once again I recommend getting fresh carrots but frozen will of course do, when I was short on cash at one time I would cut up, boil and freeze fresh carrot. It surprisingly worked well and the carrots didn’t loose their fresh taste that frozen veggies normally do.
Now Leeks aren’t something many people would agree goes well in stew, but I adore leeks in general and adding them in purely as a test one day made something that was perfect. I prefer the smaller leeks for my stews but sadly I did my order online and got what was given, Leeks I feel add more of a earthy taste to the meal and truly bulk it out a little more.
My Nans stew originally called for white onions, however possibly the middle class wannabe in me decided to use the more prettier shallots, I find them so much sweeter to eat and enjoy and sometimes using the smaller shallots as apposed to the larger ones gives more of the aesthetically pleasing look that you can find on fancy restaurants.
My Nans Stew
- You'll need a large iron pot that is able to be placed into the oven, however a crockpot or slow cooker will do, you will just need to cook for longer
- 500 g Diced Lamb
- 3 Large Carrots
- 2 Leeks
- 2 tbsp Gravy Granules
- 1 Garlic Glove (minced)
- 4 Shallots
- 1 Stock Cube of Choice.
- Salt and Pepper
- Dash of Worcester Sauce for taste
- Preheat oven to gas mark 5 (375 Fahrenheit or 191 Celsius) Fry the lamb off in the casserole dish in some oil of choice, add in a pinch of salt and pepper, the garlic, Worcester sauce and the stock cube (I used chicken)
- Once the lamb is browned off, cut up into large chunks and add the leek and carrots.
- Add water enough to cover the carrots, lamb and leeks.
- Peel and cut the ends off the shallots, add them to the pot
- Place the casserole dish into the oven and leave to cook slowly.
- After 3 hours, take out, stir and add in the gravy granules, place back into oven and prepare the mash potatoes and dumplings to your taste.
- Half hour before serving make up your dumplings and add them, placing back into the oven, make sure the liquid is boiling or they wont plump up!
I really hope that if you do make this that you enjoy it too, its wonderful to be able to create something so similar to what my Nan used to make me as a child and I hope that if I made it for her today she would like my little additions, as I have said the true beauty of stew or casseroles in general is that you can add and experiment with whatever you want to include.
And the fact that you can shove it into the oven and go about your day is also a big plus!