Serves 4 with leftovers
|3¼||pounds boneless lamb stew meat from shoulder or leg, cut into 1½-inch chunks|
|Salt and black pepper, to taste|
|4||tablespoons olive oil|
|3||medium onions, chopped|
|1||large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into strips|
|3||medium carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths|
|8||ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered|
|3||cloves garlic, finely chopped|
|2||tablespoons tomato paste|
|1||cup red wine|
|1||can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, crushed in a bowl|
|3||cups chicken stock|
|2||sprigs fresh rosemary|
|2||cans (about 15 ounces each) small white beans, drained|
|4||ounces fresh baby spinach, tough stems removed|
|Extra fresh rosemary, leaves chopped (for garnish)|
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees.
2. Sprinkle the lamb with salt and black pepper. In a large flameproof casserole over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Working in batches, brown the lamb, turning occasionally, for about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a plate. Repeat with the remaining lamb, adding more oil to the pan, as necessary.
3. When all the lamb is browned, add enough oil to the pan so there is about 2 tablespoons of fat. Add the onions, bell pepper, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes or until softened. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste. Turn the heat to high and add the wine, tomatoes, stock, and rosemary. Return the lamb to the pan and bring to a boil.
4. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1½ to 2 hours, stirring once or twice, or until the lamb is very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Let sit, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes. Skim the fat from the top of the cooking liquid. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper, if you like. Reserve 5 cups of stew for the shepherd's pie.
5. Remove about 1 cup of liquid from the remaining stew and pour it into a large saucepan. Add the beans, salt, and black pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the spinach by the handful and stir to combine; heat for 2 minutes, or until just wilted. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.
6. Stir the bean mixture into the remaining stew and let it return to a boil. Ladle into shallow bowls and sprinkle with rosemary.