In the predominantly Catholic nation of Italy, it is tradition to cook a stew with the season’s freshest peas and lamb on Easter Sunday. Known as Agnello Con Piselli Freschi, this traditional Italian lamb stew is flavoured with anchovies, white wine, white wine vinegar, garlic and thyme. The addition of potatoes and carrots to this lamb stew makes it even more festive and filling. Here’s the recipe.
A traditional Easter feast is a truly joyful experience, a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. While Christians all over the world fast during Lent and Good Friday, Easter Sunday is when abstinence is let go of in favour of a massive celebration with family, friends and loved ones. A dish of rich, festive and delicious lamb is a must during this Easter feast. And if there’s a lamb dish you must include in your Easter feast, it’s this traditional Italian lamb stew.
In Italy, which is predominantly Catholic and takes Easter Sunday as one of the most important religious feasts of the year—it is the first major Christian festival of the year after all—but cooking lamb with fresh peas. This is usually done in the form of a lamb stew called Agnello con Piselli Freschi, which literally translates into Lamb and Fresh Peas. The stew is seasoned with white wine and white wine vinegar and the lamb is left to cook on a low heat either on a stove top or an oven.
Video courtesy: YouTube/Jamie Oliver
This process of slow cooking the lamb stew allows the fat, juices and marrow from the lamb bones to flavour the dish brilliantly. This traditional Italian lamb stew, unlike Middle Eastern lamb stews, is very mildly spiced. The flavour of garlic and thyme resonate the most throughout this simple, nutritious yet festive stew, but so does the flavour of anchovies. The small fish variety, which dissolves easily in the slow-cooked lamb stew, adds to the allure of the dish. While peas are a necessary part of this stew, carrots, onions and celery are also added.
If you are looking for the easiest way to cook up a traditional Italian lamb stew, then the recipe below and the simplest of ingredients listed below are all you need. Check out the recipe and prepare to feast on the yummiest, juiciest lamb stew this Easter Sunday.
Image used for representative purpose only. Image courtesy: Facebook/Andy Rudd
500 g lamb shoulder pieces
2 onions, sliced
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 large potatoes, quartered
½ cup tomatoes, chopped
½ cup peas
5-6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp anchovies
1 red chilli, sliced
½ cup olive oil
Salt, to taste
Black pepper powder, to taste
½ cup white wine
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 cup broth
1 tbsp thyme
1. Wash and clean the lamb pieces. Pat them dry with a kitchen towel.
2. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the lamb pieces and mix well. Set aside until needed.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot.
4. Add the onions and cook until they start sweating and turn translucent.
5. Now, add the carrot, potatoes, peas, tomatoes, celery and garlic and cook until they turn brown.
6. Add the anchovies, lamb chunks, chilli and thyme.
7. Let the meat brown a bit and the anchovies dissolve.
8. Now, stir in the wine and keep stirring until it reduces to half the amount.
9. Add in the vinegar and broth, and add salt and pepper to taste.
10. Cover and cook the lamb on a low heat for 20-30 minutes.
11. You can also let the lamb stew cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
12. Check the stew to see if the lamb is tender and juicy.
13. Serve the lamb stew hot with bread rolls or toasted bread.