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Recipe for lamb stew with white beans and spinach

(Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe)

Serves 4 with leftovers

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.

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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.

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6. Stir the bean mixture into the remaining stew and let it return to a boil. Ladle into shallow bowls and sprinkle with rosemary. Lisa Zwirn