Categories
Cookbook Lamb Soups and stews

HOPI STEW, RE-IMAGINED

This is a memory from 1987, when I pulled off the highway on the Hopi reservation and felt the meal was authentic: I saw sheep in the landscape, and some small gardens with corn, beans, peppers. — Eleanor

 

Ingredients:

Lamb for stew, preferably with a bone. Neck bones are good. Leftover lamb is good too. Goat would be excellent.

Onion (or leek or shallot or whatever you have) Anasazi Beans (or whatever dry bean you have on hand) Hominy (I had a can hiding in the pantry; dry posole might be better, prepared according to directions) Spicy pepper–fresh, dry, or canned–to taste A few tender celery leaves if you have them Sage (standing in for sagebrush–shrug) Salt Something leafy & green (I used young nettles)

Put about 3/4 cup of Anasazi beans in a smallish pot, cover with enough water to an inch or two above the beans. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer immediately, put the lid on, and cook slowly for an hour and a half or so, checking to be sure the beans don’t boil dry. When they are tender, remove from heat.

Meanwhile, Melt some fat in a deep cast iron pan or a kettle; brown the lamb on all sides; add chopped onion toward the end of browning.

Cover the lamb pieces with water or stock, add chopped celery leaves, salt, sage, and hot or not so hot peppers. Add a dash of vinegar, preferably balsamic (I’ve read vinegar helps draw the calcium out of the bones, plus it deepens the flavor of the broth). Bring to a simmer and cover, adding water as needed to make it soupy; cook for a couple of hours or more till the meat is very tender. Remove meat from bones and return to pot. Remove from heat. Add the beans and the hominy or posole. Add chopped greens. But wait!

Thinking everything tastes better the next day, I moved the meat and broth to a bowl, dumped in the beans and hominy, and put it in the fridge for the next day’s supper. Twenty minutes before it’s time to eat, put the stew in a pot, add a handful of chopped greens and warm it all up. If you want it soupy, add more broth.

Enjoy!