It poured rain, and got quite chilly in that raw, put-extra-layers-on way that is so inappropriate for the very end of May. So my vague idea for garden-stuffed summer rolls went right out the window (or would have, if there had been an open window.) Instead, I thought that some hearty beans would be about right, so I soaked some of the local black beans and went back to work. When I came in, wheels had turned, and what was going to be very humble got a tetch less so.
The freezer really put out this time; a bag of frozen mirepoix, a pint of lamb pho, and a lamb shank from the Easter leg all tumbled forth. A quick foray into the garden gave me a pile of herbs and our first turnip. My impatience with winter has really paid off- putting all this stuff in so early was a little risky, but the turnips (among other things) laughed at the cold and grew like crazy. Radishes are great, because they offer the first non-green color, but they’re small. The beets are a way off yet, so we’ll be contenting ourselves with these in the mean time.
So I took some of yesterday’s smoked duck fat and browned the shank in it, then added the mirepoix, garlic, turnip, herbs (fresh oregano, rosemary, chives, parsley, cilantro) red wine, beans, spices and broth and clamped the lid on the pressure cooker. Man, do I love this appliance. In 40 minutes flat the beans were tender, and the lamb fell off the bone when I looked at it. The flavors were rich and deep like it had sat in a 200˚ oven for six hours. While it was hissing quietly to itself, I steamed and mashed some sweet potatoes, then put the stew on top. There are so many other ways I could have spun this by using different pantry staples- Moroccan, Indian, Southeast Asian- but right down the middle worked pretty perfectly this time around.