Chanfana

Portuguese Lamb Ragout

The original Portuguese recipe calls for leg of lamb, but we have adapted it for a ragout. Hot cooked rice combined with fresh mint makes a nice accompaniment.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (or as needed) olive oil
  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed well and cut into 1½-inch cubes
  • 2 large onions, cut into medium dice
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon (or to taste) freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • cups dry red wine
  • 1 cup Lamb or Chicken Stock
  • cups slivered almonds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 36 Niçoise olives

Method

Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a heavy sauté pan over high heat. Add as many lamb cubes as will comfortably fit in the pan (overcrowding will cause the lamb to steam rather than brown) and brown on all sides; transfer to a deep casserole. Repeat with the remaining lamb cubes, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons oil to the pan as needed for each batch.

Heat the remaining ¼ cup oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the paprika and nutmeg and cook 5 minutes more. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes. Transfer the onion mixture to the casserole with the lamb. Pour ¼ cup red wine into the sauté pan and boil a minute or two, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom; transfer to the casserole. Add the remaining wine and the stock to the casserole and heat to boiling. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1½ hours. Skim well.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet until lightly browned and fragrant, about 7 minutes; chop and add to the stew for the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper. Add a pinch more nutmeg, if you’d like a stronger nutmeg flavor. Stir in the parsley and olives and serve.