I know lamb is not everyone’s favourite meat, but when it’s done right, it’s one of my favourite. It’s definitely not something I eat on a regular basis given its cost, but I was determined to make lamb stew for St. Patrick’s Day. One of the local Irish type pubs around here makes a stew in a bread bowl – I’ve obviously never tried it, but the idea of it seems quite interesting to me. I unfortunately didn’t have enough time to try making a whole loaf of bread, let alone two – one for both Mr. Bean and I. So, I thought I would try to make buns using the easiest bread recipe in the Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal – gluten free beer bread.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from beer bread as I think I’ve had gluten free beer twice before this. It was really tasty with a bit of margarine and dipped in stew! Yum. I was actually really impressed with their texture and how much they rose in the oven. I almost wished I added more water to the stew so that we’d have more stew to mop up at the end.
A few notes:
- The cut of lamb I used was very fatty, but that’s okay because lamb fat generally stays in strips that are easy enough to cut out with a knife and a bit of patience. You can probably use a different cut if you find it and your budget allows for it. I didn’t feel like paying $28/kg for a leaner cut of lamb, so I got the fattier one for $11/kg. Since the meat is being stewed for an extended period of time, you can use a tougher and fattier cut of meat and it will still turnout to be incredibly tender.
- You can add pretty much any spices or vegetables you feel like. Don’t feel restricted by the ones I have listed here!
- Make sure that the beer is at room temperature so that the yeast actually gets to do what it’s supposed to. I think fresh from the cooler beer doesn’t quite work as well.
- Feel free to use any kind of gluten free beer – I just used one of the kinds Mr. Bean found at our local liquor store.
Slow Cooker Lamb Stew
Between 0.5 – 1 kg lamb shoulder chops or other stewing meat (I used three >200g chops)
1 onion, chopped
4 – 6 medium carrots, sliced
4 celery stalks, slices
6 fairly large mushrooms, sliced
2 – 3 potatoes, cubed
Spices – thyme, garlic, parsley, etc.
Salt and Pepper
- Cut off as much fat as you can from the lamb shoulder chops. Be wary as this can be very time consuming! Cut into 1″ – 1 1/2″ pieces. Don’t bother trying to cut the meat off the bone as it comes off way easier once it is cooked.
- Place meat in slow cooker. Add vegetables, potatoes and spices on top of meat.
- Cover meat and most of the vegetables with water. Stir to mix spices and to mostly cover everything with liquid.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or on medium for 6 hours.
- About 15 minutes before you want to eat the stew, mix a fair amount of cornstarch with some cold water. Mix to combine. Pour into slow cooker and stir. Wait until it thickens and add more if necessary to get the desired thickness.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Gluten Free Beer Bread
1 1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. quinoa flour
1/4 c. sorghum flour
1/3 c. millet flour
2/3 c. tapioca starch
1 tsp. each of guar and xathan gum (could use only one gum if desired – I just wanted to use up some of the guar gum I have)
355 mL bottle of gluten free beer at room temperature
Squeeze of agave nectar or honey
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
- Whisk together flours and gums in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together beer and sweetener.
- Pour liquid into flour mixture. Mix together with a wooden spoon until well mixed for about a minute.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Let dough sit until oven is heated.
- Mix in the salt and baking powder.
- Divide dough into six evenly sized flattened balls. Place on a non-stick baking sheet that has been covered liberally with olive oil.
- Brush olive oil over each bun.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and buns sound slightly hollow when tapped.
- Remove from oven and cool slightly before eating.
- Enjoy! It’s especially good with a bit of margarine or butter if you can eat that kind of thing.
What’s your favourite kind of Irish inspired food?