An ancient pastoral recipe from Apulia, this stew takes its name from a cooking pot, the caldaio. Sometimes the lamb is cooked in sheep’s milk and later smothered in greens (for a Sardinian version of the milk-braised stew). In this version, the process is reversed: the lamb is first braised with greens, and sheep’s milk in the form of pecorino cheese is added at the end of cooking. This dish is typically prepared with curly endive (chicory), but you can mix the endive with other greens as well. Accompany with roast potatoes or grilled bread.
Place a large sauté pan over high heat and film the bottom with olive oil. Working in batches, add the lamb and brown on all sides, adding oil as needed and seasoning with salt and black pepper as you turn the meat. Each batch should take 8 to 10 minutes. As each batch is ready, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a Dutch oven or other heavy pot.
Return the sauté pan to medium heat and add the
While the lamb is cooking, bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Salt lightly, add the greens, and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the greens and the parsley to the lamb during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Season the pan sauce with salt and black pepper. Spoon the stew into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the cheese. Serve at once.
Pour a local Primitivo or Negro amaro from Felline, Sinfarossa, Santa Lucia, or A Mano, or a Zinfandel from California.
© 2004 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.