This dish is a classic of the Portuguese kitchen. It is from Portugal's Alentejo region, in the south. Lamb is popular all over Portugal, but this comfort dish is made by stewing pieces of lamb until fall apart tender. It is then served atop fried rustic country bread. Mint leaves are the garnish of choice. Traditionally it also contains potatoes, stewed along with the lamb. I added sweet potato instead. Feel free to add regular white potatoes if you prefer. It won't alter the recipe in any way, or change the cooking time.
This is the quintessential fall dish. if you love lamb you will adore this dish. Here is a little secret, I am not a fan of lamb, but I totally loved this dish. The marinating helps rid the lamb of that very strong "lamb" taste. I usually marinate the lamb for a minimum of 6 hours and up to overnight. This step is crucial and I wouln't recommend making it if you are short on time. You can use any cut of lamb you like, but I prefer leg. Lard is traditionally used, but I prefer to use olive oil. Yes that says 100 ml. of vinegar, it is not a typo. It will balnce out in the end. Trust me.
In Portugal it is made in a clay pot that is hob/ stovetop safe.
I have an induction hob so I use a heavy cast iron casserole pot with lid. Works perfectly.
Portuguese Lamb Stew with Sweet Potato ❦ Ensopado de Borrego com Batata Doce
800 g. Leg of lamb, boneless trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
1 Sweet potato or 1 large white potato, peeled and cubed
120 g. Bacon
180 ml. Dry white wine
120 ml. Water
100 ml. White or red wine vinegar
100 ml. Extra virgin olive oil, 50 ml. for marinade and 50 ml. to cook with later
1 Large onion, thinly sliced
4 Cloves of garlic, peeled whole and smashed
2 Bay leaves, torn in half
1 tbsp. Course sea salt
2 tsp. Sweet paprika, pimentón dulce
1 tsp. Dry marjoram
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Small red chilli, thinly sliced (optional)
4 Whole cloves
1 Can/tin peeled plum tomatoes undrained and cut into pieces
1 bunch/handful flat leaf parsley chopped
Fresh mint leaves to garnish
4 Thin slices of rustic sourdough bread, lightly toasted
1. In a large non-metalic bowl, add lamb, salt, cloves, garlic, parsley, paprika, half of olive oil, vinegar, bay leaves, marjoram, chilli, black pepper to taste. Stir to combine well.
Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours and up to overnight.
2. When ready to cook, place a large pot on high heat. Add the 50 ml. extra virgin olive oil and sauté bacon. Add onion. Stir and let sauté for a few minutes. Do not let it brown.
Add lamb and marinade to pot. Stir, add wine, water and tomatoes. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and let stew for 45 minutes.
3. After 20 minutes, stir and add sweet potatoes. Cover and continue cooking.
Meat should be tender and sweet potatoes cooked through.
4. Place one slice of bread in each shallow bowl. Spoon lamb stew on top. Garnish with fresh mint and serve immediately.
If you prefer, you can also arrange the bread slices around the bowl as my husband prefers.
I made some white buttered rice to accompany this for the hubby. It is not usually served with any other accompaniment.
Gorgeous mint from my garden.