Monday, February 25, 2008

Seco de Chivo (Peruvian Lamb Stew)

Two weeks ago my boyfriend and I went to our favorite Peruvian restaurant for dinner. As we looked over the menu we decided that we wanted to try something different from our usual grilled fish. We settled on lamb stew. The stew arrived, and was quite tasty. Since we always share our meal, I didn't eat to much of it, we had beans, rice, and salad as well. By the time we got home, my skin was starting to feel a little funny. His mother asked us what we had, and when we told her "seco" she told us that, in Ecuador, they use beer in seco. Now, what with the language barrier and all, I don't know how much she understands about my celiac disease, but she does know that I can't eat anything prepared with beer.

Now, she's a good cook, as far as the things she knows how to cook goes, but she said she didn't know how to make seco and I managed to ascertain that she wanted me to make seco if I could. Feverish internet research ensued. I discovered that all the seco recipes did indeed use beer. Not to be deterred I set about finding gluten free beer. The Whole Foods in the Bowery happens to have a beer room which carries several brands on gluten free beer, including at least one that can be purchased individually.

This recipe is tasty, great for cold winter days, and I'm sure can be made with any type of meat of your choice. It got rave reviews from my future in-laws, so it's authentic. It's also fairly fool-proof as far as I can tell.

8 large Garlic cloves
2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp ground Cumin
1 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
5-7 lbs lamb, cut in 2 1/2 inch chunks
3 tbsp Olive Oil
4 med Onions finely chopped
1 1/2 cup gluten free Beer
4-6 cup gluten free Beef stock or broth
1 bunch Cilantro, leaves only chopped

Mix the garlic, salt, cumin and black pepper with the vinegar in a large non-reactive dish. Place the lamb in the marinade, evenly coating the chunks. Marinate at room temperature for at least 3 hours, overnight if possible.

Remove the lamb from the marinade with a slotted spoon, reserving marinade. In a large heavy casserole, heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil over high heat. Brown the lamb, turning with tongs to sear all sides evenly. This will take about 20 minutes (if the lamb does not fit all in one layer, brown in 2 batches, otherwise the meat will steam rather than sear). Transfer the lamb to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and add onions and salt. Saute, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are golden. Add the beer and lower the heat so that the liquid is simmering. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until all of the beer has evaporated. Return the browned lamb, along with the accumulated juices from the plate, to the pan. Add the stock and stir to mix. Bring up to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the dish, covered, for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the meat is tender.

Add the reserved marinade and the cilantro, stir to mix, and cook for 1 minute more. Serve from the casserole.

To serve in a traditional manner have rice or boiled potatoes on the side. You could also add precooked peas or carrots at the end.

This is really tasty!

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