About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Lamb Stew with Vinegar and Green Beans | Main | Pork Loin Braised in Milk, Bolognese Style »

Lamb Stew with Ham and Red Bell Pepper


The recipe I've made for today is Lamb Stew with Ham and Red Bell Pepper. Marcella says this recipe is different than most Italian stews in that it starts out a crudo-the meat and the oil is heated up together along with garlic, rosemary and sage. The temperature is kept very hot until the meat is well-browned, about 15 minutes. You then add white wine, salt and pepper. The pan is mostly covered, the heat turned down, and the stew simmers for about 1 1/2 hours until the lamb is tender.

You next skin a red bell pepper, and cut it into strips. This, along with strips of boiled unsmoked ham, are added to the stew, and cooked briefly. The pepper softens, but still keeps it fresh taste.

I have to admit I had to use a different cut of meat than Marcella called for. The recipe calls for lamb shoulder. I waited too long to have the butcher order it for me, so I had to have them recommend the closest substitution. They suggested leg of lamb. I don't know my meats very well, so I don't know if this was a close proximation or not. They cut me off 3 pounds, and used their saw to cut it into 2" cubes with the bone in as called for. The stew was very flavorful, and the addition of the ham, and especially the red pepper, is what really made this taste special. The brightness of the pepper made a difference in the overall flavor. I'm not a huge lamb fan, as it is often too gamey-tasting for me. But this way of cooking it made a nice stew for a cold Alaskan evening.

Comments (1)

Marcella Hazan:

D'you know, Cindy, I have the same problem with a lot of the lamb the supermarkets sell. It is gamey, while in Italy we are used to very sweet-tasting young lamb. I think the recipe with juniper berries that Beth made is the one that best tempers that taste. Evidently, there must be people who like it otherwise they wouldn't be selling so much of it. The cut of meat they gave you is not very close to what the dish really calls for, shoulder, which I find better-tasting than the leg. But you obviously did a good job with it nonetheless. Lamb makes a great dish against cold weather, particularly if you open a bottle of good red to go with it.

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