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Lamb Stew with Pesto and Arugula

Lamb Stew with Pesto and Arugula

From: Chef John Bubala, Thyme (which in March changed its name to Timo, with a new menu and interior), Chicago. Yield: 4 servings.

2 lb. lamb stew meat, 1⁄2” cubes
1 bottle dry red wine
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 fresh thyme sprigs
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 whole bay leaf
10 whole black peppercorns
6 cups beef, chicken or lamb stock
2 medium carrots, split lengthwise, 1⁄2” cut
1 large Spanish onion, 1⁄2” diced
2 celery stalks, split lengthwise, 1⁄2” cut
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Idaho potatoes, baked and hot
1⁄2 lb. fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄2 lb. fresh arugula
1⁄4 cup prepared salad dressing of choice
to taste, salt and pepper

Combine the first 11 ingredients in a bowl or pot for four to six hours. Lightly season with salt before cooking in a 300°F preheated oven for 21⁄2 to 3 hours. The vessel you are cooking in should be covered with foil or a lid. Combine the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts and oil in your food processor, or chop by hand until a medium smooth paste is achieved. When the lamb stew is soft and tender, strain the liquid. Reduce the liquid by 1⁄2 to 3⁄4, depending on the flavor you like. Season and finish the liquid with 1 Tbsp. of unsalted butter. Scoop the flesh out of the baked potato and lightly season with salt and pepper, add 2 Tbsp. of butter with a fork, and gently mix together. Combine the stew and liquid back together, then evenly scoop the mashed potatoes into four bowls and with a slotted spoon, add the lamb stew on top of the potatoes. Spoon the pesto over the top of the stew, dress arugula and put it on top of the stew for garnish.