When we altered our meat program this past spring from in-house butchery to prepackaged local meat, it was a top priority of ours to make sure lamb from Stoneheart Farm continued to be available to our customers. John and Doreen Simmons, sustainable farmers in Paris, Maine, have maintained the most beautiful lambs with their herd of Katahdin and Dorper Sheep. This breed of sheep yields lean, tasty meat, among other things. All of their meat is sustainably raised and grass fed. They also have a line of delicious fresh pastas that we carry in our markets.
At Rosemont, we recognize that lamb can be a daunting meat to prepare. This is why our head chef, Cecelia Bye, has prepared a simple recipe for you to make at home.
Lamb Ragu with Parmesan Polenta
1 lb lamb stew meat
1 cup Maine Grains polenta
1 lg yellow onion – diced
4 cloves of garlic- minced
1 bunch swiss chard – thinly sliced
2 carrots- julienned
1 (28 oz)can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp ground clove
3 tbsp salt
3 tsp black pepper
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano – grated
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup parsley- thinly sliced
¼ cup mint- thinly sliced
¼ cup sliced almonds- garnish
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and carrot and season with 1 tsp of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have become translucent and have totally softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add spices and cook for a minute or two, just to toast the spices.
2. Add tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring occasionally so it has a chance to stick to the bottom of the pot and caramelize a bit, 2 or 3 minutes.
3. Add lamb and season with 1 tsp salt and pepper. Stir to combine and coat the lamb. Continue to cook, stirring frequently until the meat starts to brown about 5 to 8 minutes.
4. Add crushed tomatoes, stirring to scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pot. Fill the tomato can halfway with water and swirl around to get all the remaining tomato, then add to the pot. Add chicken stock and swiss chard and season with 1 tsp salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until sauce is thickened and the meat is tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
5. While the ragu is simmering, 4 cups water and 1 tbsp salt to a boil in a large saucepan; pour polenta slowly into boiling water, whisking constantly until all polenta is stirred in and there are no lumps.
6. Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Polenta mixture should still be slightly loose. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 to 6 minutes. When polenta is too thick to whisk, stir with a wooden spoon. Polenta is done when texture is creamy and the individual grains are tender.
7. Turn off heat and gently stir 3 tablespoons butter into polenta until butter partially melts; mix Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into polenta until cheese has melted. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to thicken; stir and taste for salt, add 1 tsp black pepper.
8. Serve ragu over polenta and garnish with parsley, mint and almonds.