Basque Chard, Lamb and Bean Stew

A wonderfully hearty, but not too rich dish that shows off the traditional ingredient combinations of Basque cooking.

4 T olive oil
2 pounds lean boneless lamb, cut into 1 1/2 in. cubes rolled in 2-3 T seasoned flour
4-5 large cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions, finely chopped
6 carrots, sliced 1/2 in. thick
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups white beans (soaked overnight in water to cover by 3 in.)
4 cups chicken stock
1 large bay leaf or 2 small
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 T chopped fresh thyme or 1 T dry
1 T chopped fresh oregano or 1 1/2 tsp. dry
2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
1 large bunch chard (about 1 lb.) cut into 1/2 in. strips, stems chopped fine
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnish: Grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese, olive oil to drizzle

In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat 1 T olive oil until very hot, add 1/2 lamb cubes and brown on all sides and remove. Add another tablespoon of oil and brown remaining meat and reserve. Add the final two tablespoons of oil to the pot then add garlic and onions and saut√© over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. Add reserved lamb and carrots, celery, drained soaked beans, chicken stock, bay leaf, parsley, thyme, oregano and sage. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for about 1 hour or until the beans and lamb are almost tender. Remove bay leaf and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in chard and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Taste again for seasoning. Serve in soup bowls and garnish with cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. 
 

For more great garden-inspired recipes, see Renee's cookbooks,
Recipes from a Kitchen Garden
More Recipes from a Kitchen Garden