Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January Spice Rack Challenge: Rosemary

My, my, my it has been a while since I posted here, hasn't it? I find the lack of attention paid to this blog rather shameful, considering how much I cook. Fortunately, I have an excuse to resuscitate my food blog: a monthly cooking challenge put together by my fellow Michigan Lady Food Blogger Mother's Kitchen: the Spice Rack Challenge. The focus for January was on rosemary.

Rosemary. It grew wild and untended in my childhood home of northern California. There was a particularly lush, fragrant patch in a grassy area on my walking route home from my elementary school. I forgot about the rich piney smell of rosemary bushes warmed by the sun until I went back to California for vacation in 2009. I discovered rosemary being used as landscaping near the house in which I was staying.

It's...a shrubbery! Of rosemary!

It smelled fantastic!

I hosted a large gathering at my house at the beginning of the month which necessitated the cooking of several different crowd-pleasing dishes. Along with the black bean chili and the beef chili and baked ham I made this lamb stew, one of my cold-weather favorites.

Savory Lamb Stew (adapted from Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook, 2006, p. 203)

  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb boneless lamb leg meat, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh sage, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 medium red-skinned potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups cut green beans
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Saute the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic until the onion is translucent, 8-10 minutes. Add the lamb and saute until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the hot water, stir, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes, green beans, and the remaining 1/2 cup of water, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender and the liquid has reduced, about 20 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.

I quadrupled this recipe for my party because I was expecting about 20 people at my house. This meant I used almost all of the little container of fresh rosemary I had purchased. It was a huge success and I had several people tell me it was absolutely delicious. You'd never guess it was a Weight Watchers recipe!

I hope the coming months of the Spice Rack Challenge will motivate me to resume regular posting. I have a food blog for a reason: I love to cook and I love to eat, and at one time I wanted to share that with whoever was interested. I can't wait to see what next month's challenge is!


Tricia said...

One of my husband's aunts had a giant rosemary plant outside their house in El Paso - you're right, it does smell fantastic! We usually visited there around Christmas, so it was a nice break from the smell of Michigan winter.

Cynthia said...

Yay! Glad to see this post.

sauvageblue said...

My honey loves lamb I really want to try this out...

Nicole Pearce said...

I really wish we could get lamb here. I don't get to cook with it nearly enough. I bet it smelled good.

Shayne said...

yum yum

mla said...

I love the smell of rosemary too--sticking herbs in amongst the regular landscaping instead of segregating them in a corner of the garden sounds like a great idea.