Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Momma's Lamb Stew

There are lots of ways to make lamb stew (and you can google all of those if you like), but I have made a simple lamb stew a few times over the last month that has been perfect for my little guy to feed himself (and for his momma to eat alongside of him). Or more accurately I should say, my boy will want to eat anything I put in my mouth, even if I offered it to him hours before and I wasn't eating it and he will refuse. I could literally eat anything, and he would want it. So I had to come up with a good meal option for the whole family, with lots of nutrients, protein and iron. Lamb meat was my babe's first option for animal protein because it is the easiest meat to digest and the amount of good fats to feed his growing body was another plus plus.
This stew is full of flavor, and not to mention lots of healthy vitamins and minerals. Especially pasture, grass-fed lamb that has amazing amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are crucial for the brain and other organs to run smoothly. Also, lamb meat contains amazing amounts of B vitamins which are very helpful for the central nervous system and promote a healthy metabolism. Some of the minerals high in lamb meat are selenium and zinc which help with the absorption of nutrients and also allow the cardiovascular system to run smoothly.

Lamb has been eaten by people for thousands of years. Some of the most ancient cultures valued the nutrients found in lamb, especially in the Mediterranean region. Even the popular 'Mediterranean Diet' today has lamb meat as a main source of protein because of all of the cardiovascular health benefits and Omega-3 fats. Having a balance of mostly plants, whole grains and some fish and lamb is the basis of the diet, and has been given credit for being one of the healthiest regional diets in the world.
Basically, lamb is a very healthy option for the meat eater (or flexitarian like me), and especially if you can buy it from a local farmer that pastures his lambs. Seriously, this meat option has all of the same benefits that are found in wild salmon, but the best part is that you can buy it more locally (that is unless you live in Alaska!)

I have been buying lamb from a local Michigan farm at my local farmer's market. If you have a local farmer's market then I would suggest looking there first for a lamb or organic meat farmer. If you can't find any options there, then I would suggest googling local organic meat farms in your area and you may just find out that you have a farmer closer than you think. I love supporting the local farmer, and I can guarantee the local farmer cares about you too. He cares for his crops, and his animals so that you can eat a nourishing meal that comes straight from the farm.

I love how simple and flavorful this meal is. Perfect one pot meal that has all you need in it...with lots of protein to carry you through the day and root veggies to ground you this fall season. I leave my veggies chopped in big chunks so to make it easy for my babe to pick up and eat. So here is my take on a traditional lamb stew... enjoy!
Momma's Lamb Stew Recipe
1 large yellow or sweet onion
3-4 garlic cloves minced or finely chopped
1-2 TB of olive oil
1- 1 1/2 pounds of pre-cut lamb stew meat-with bits of fat is best (fresh or thawed from frozen)
2 cups of pealed, sliced, roughly chopped carrots circles
2 cups of chopped chunks of potatoes (I used organic local white, and leave my unpeeled for extra potassium in the broth and skins to eat, but you can peel if you like)
1 cup of chopped curly kale
2-3 cups of vegetable broth (more or less depending on how watery you want it)
1 ts. of sea salt
black pepper to your liking
sprigs of fresh or dried rosemary to flavor during cooking, or add a TB of fresh thinly chopped
fresh chopped parsley for last minute flavor or serving

In a large stock pot, saute the chopped onion and minced garlic for a few minutes until soft. Then add the raw lamb stew meat and brown up and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Then add the chopped veggies and broth. You can also add the herbs for added cooking flavor. Then cover and cook for 30-40 minutes and you can even cook longer on low if you really want soft soft meat. When potatoes, carrots and meat is soft and perfectly ready to melt in your mouth... it is complete. If you put a rosemary spring in, don't forget to pull it out...and serve with fresh parsley if you desire. This stew will feed 8-12 people, or a family of four plus leftovers for lunches or dinner during the week. Perfect comfort food if you ask me. Just as good as any homemade chicken noodle soup option if you are feeling under the weather. And with all the B vitamins you will be feeling happy and tip top in no time!
Feeding your children good nourishing food is one of the most important things you can do with your life. It is worth the effort, the challenge and the time and money. Really, you are giving them a gift of the quality of a good life (and probably quantity of many years as well). If you feel like giving up today because your babe is giving you troubles... I would encourage you to try again. Try something new, or add a new twist... but for their sake, don't give up. It is worth it. You are a good momma and your hard work in the kitchen is not in vain.

I hope you have a warm and cozy Wednesday.

Much love to you as always!

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