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Lamb Stew in Intense Yellow Sauce

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Amazing traditional shepherds' stew from Abruzzo with a sauce thickened with lemon, egg yolks and pecorino.

The shepherds in Abruzzo, in the mountainous ridge down the Italian peninsula, found their mutton stew too lean to their taste. They use a few local products to thicken and enrich the sauce, turning it into an intriguing and very tasty yellow stew.

Start by crushing 2 garlic cloves with a knife held flat and fry them gently in olive oil.

Add cubed lamb and sauté until browned all over.

Pour in a glass of white wine and scratch the bottom of the pan with a wooden or plastic paddle to remove any bits of meat and let them dissolve in the wine.

Add a glass of water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer until the lamb is cooked through.

You can also add potatoes for a true one-pot-meal. You'll need 3 egg yolks, 1 lemon and 100gr soft pecorino cheese.

Now for the sauce that makes this dish unique.

Beat the egg yolks ...

...and add the lemon juice.

Add some crushed pepper...

Remove the stew from the fire and let it rest for a while so that it will not be too hot and coagulate the egg yolks too soon. Mix the yellow paste into the stew.

Add the grated pecorino cheese and mix so more until you get a really smooth sauce.

Serve. This is one easy but very tasty stew. Spectacular too, with its intense lemon smell and yellow color. Here our friends the Irish have no excuse for not having come up with a similar dish!



  • #1
  • Comment by Ari
That looked like an orange not an lemon? Which one did you intend to use.
  • #2
  • Comment by ariun
Looks like a lemon to me!
  • #3
  • Answered by fx
This dish is made with lemons, not oranges.
  • #4
  • Comment by parshu.narayanan
Looks delicious. Are there any restaurants in Italy-Switzerland that serve this, particularly in the larger towns?
  • #5
  • Comment by Raoul
We love your website. Each of us in our office intently await the arrival of your next recipe. Keep up the great work!-Raoul
  • #6
  • Answered by fx
Raoul thank you for your comment and check the blog in December, I have saved a few really exceptional posts for the last month of 2007!
  • #7
  • Comment by Assissotom
This is one of the best sites I have ever found. Thanks!!! Very nice and informal. I enjoy being here.
  • #8
  • Comment by HeatherL
This sounds interesting.. do you cook the stew w/the egg yolks at all?
  • #9
  • Answered by fx
Heather, the egg yolks don't cook much, only a minute or so until they have coagulated enough for the sauce to thicken. Good luck!
  • #10
  • Comment by Tony
"Here our friends the Irish have no excuse for not having come up with a similar dish!"Ummm what? I am constantly astounded that people who consider themselves to be well informed make ridiculous assumptions about cuisines from different countries based on what I can only assume to be ignorance or acceptance of stereotyping.  Irish traditional cuisine is a rich cuisine and there are many ongoing debates as to what constitutes "classic" dishes. Remarks like this smack of being ill informed and badly researched.... or perhaps deliberately insulting....and please don't refer to Mr Paul Rankin as an exponent of Irish Cuisine, without a doubt responsible for huge travesties in mangling traditional recipies. See Rachel Allen, Darina Allen et al for some great traditional Irish cuisine.
  • #11
  • Answered by fx
Tony, I understand if Irish readers would not like my remark, but I was in Dublin a few months ago and came back with more than a dozen books about Irish cooking, which I read dutifully cover to cover. And yes, my conclusion is that with the same ingredients, Italians just turn up better dishes.
  • #12
  • Comment by Tony
The same ingredients? I don't think Irish cuisine has lemons(?). We also do not have Tomatoes or Garlic as native ingredients. We also do not have olive oil. We have great root vegetables, smoked goods, meats, bakery and dairy. I would be *very* interested to hear what you would class as being "the same" ingredients! The point with a lot of traditional Irish food is to taste the basic ingredients, hence the quality of these is paramount. Don't get me wrong I love Italian and French cuisine (though have been veering towards cantonese food lately) - Indeed when I make stew I do use garlic and red wine (which my mother thinks is heresy!). You can not make statements such as you have when the comparison is not valid. The reason for no lemons in traditional Irish cuisine is that we didn't have lemons :O). A cuisine must be viewed in context. What cookbooks did you buy? I'd be interested to hear. There are many, many abominable books, and very few good ones. Most pander to the touristy perception of the Irish, and of traditional "Irish fare". You should also realise that by reading a recipe you have not tasted it! some things sound much worse than they taste ;O)
  • #13
  • Answered by fx
Thanks Tony, well in the case of this recipe I think you could use a fine Irish vinegar instead of the lemon juice and any other oil would work equally fine for sautéeing the meat. I had great artisan Irish sheep cheeses from a guy at a local market in Dublin so the pecorino is no issue. Are you telling me that garlic does not grow in Ireland? Or that its botanical origin is in Asia? As for tomatoes, I just can't see any in my recipe. No my friend, I think this dish could have been done equally well by our friends the Irish!
If it's any consolation, Italians are not particularly good at making beer, and they had all the ingredients available too.
  • #14
  • Comment by Tony
No no, you misunderstand me. The point I was making was that Irish Stews have been around for a long, long time. As such the truly traditional stews do not contain lemon, or Garlic (at least not in the traditional sense of farmed Garlic, wild garlic is native - but as I'm sure you know that is a tad different from the bulb Garlic we all know and love, chives and parsley are native and also sometimes used) as they predate the introduction of these ingredients as food staples. The basic traditional stew was even viewed good enough to be included in Escoffier's Guide Culinaire.Of course these recipes have evolved, stout being added, ale being added, garlic (bulb) etc. As I mentioned I use red wine and Garlic in addition to lamb stock. I also flour and brown the meat (though it has to be said browning and flouring etc is in some old recipes). You are correct insofar as good vinegar though.... potted herrings being a favourite of mine :o) Herrings from Ardglass of course ;)You mention cheeses, and I have to say in the last few years cheese making as a cottage industry has really taken off. It is great to be able to buy good local cheese on a regular basis, as opposed to having to seek it out on days out. Old skills are being relearned as more and more people realise what is available in terms of source ingredients. Beer making here is taking off too. We have a few good local  breweries (ales and stouts mostly), but my preference is for wheat beer - so for the moment I'm still drinking my belgian/dutch beers (Korenwolf, Weinstephaner, Ayinger and Paulander. Hoegaarden at a push...) Anyhow, do keep the recipes coming :o)
  • #15
  • Comment by NN
Hi! The sauce sounds a whole lot like Greek "avgolemono", which my mother and granma make a wonderful soup from (as well as a terrific tart sauce for dolmades!)
  • #16
  • Answered by fx
Nathan, thanks for your insight. Indeed my dish is an Italian version of Avgolemono and I didn't even know it! The Greeks settled and then traded with the Italian peninsula for almost two millenia, it is not surprising that try also traded recipes!
  • #17
  • Comment by Soraya Johnson
Hi! I absolutely LOVE this website, and the pictures are amazing! I am going to make this stew for 7 people, and I was wondering how much of each ingredient I should buy and in what proportions I should use them. Thanks!
  • #18
  • Comment by ian
I made this myself, with a few modifications - shallots with the garlic and parsley at the end - but I didn't get the same intense yellow color. I think it was because I let the braising liquid reduce before adding the egg and lemon, or because I cooked it in a cast iron pot. Any ideas?
  • #19
  • Comment by Jan
Hi FX,
I made this today but the sauce was very runny. It tasted great though, so I'd like to make it again. I wasn't really sure how long to cook it once the wine and water were in there, because the lamb was ready pretty quickly. (I guess I should use bigger chunks of meat, less liquid?) Thanks for all the awesome recipes.
  • FX's answer→ Jan, the runniness might come because your yolks did not coagulate. You need to simmer it gently for a bit longer and they should coagulate and make your sauce less runny. Same process as making ice cream or creme anglaise!

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