Friday, October 8

Solar Lamb Stew w/Butternut Squash-Apple Casserole

Solar Lamb Stew w/Squash-Apple Casserole
I love the Fall.  It's time for all those yummy serious vegetables and entrees like Lamb Stew with Butternut Squash casserole. Can you smell the leaf fires? Ah... This is one of those recipes that surprise you with how good they taste. I knew it was a winner when all I could hear was my sister's 'drinking' the juices from her plate! The Butternut Squash Casserole is very easy to make, while the lamb stew requires some prep work before final cooking. I wanted to use some of my dehydrated tomatoes, too, so I put 2 Tablespoons in a dish and added 4 Tablespoons water to rehydrate them.  Then, went out to preheat the solar oven, which reached 325F in fifteen minutes.
Rehydrating Tomatoes
Butternut Squash-Apple-Raisin Casserole:
Pare squash, cut in half and remove seeds and strands, cut each half into 1" pieces. Put in large mixing bowl, add 1 Tablespoon olive oil and mix well enough to cover all surfaces. Arrange over bottom of casserole pan.
Chop apples into 1" pieces, place in large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup dark raisins and 1 Tablespoon of Sunflower Seeds (optional). Thoroughly mix together and place over squash in casserole dish.
In small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp.mace, 1/4 tsp. anise, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg. Cut in 1/4 cup butter, then evenly spread over squash and apple casserole. Cover and bake in solar oven for approximately an hour.

Solar Lamb Stew:
Cut up Lamb Stew Meat in 1" cubes, dry thorougly, then sear on all sides in 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
Remove lamb from pan, placing in bowl until needed. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup of red wine, pour liquid over lamb. Add 1 Tablespoon oil to pan, then sweat 1/2 medium chopped onion. When onions are soft, add 1 stalk chopped celery, 1/2 each medium red, yellow, and orange sweet peppers, two Jalapeno peppers cut in lengthwise strips, 1 finely chopped medium carrot, 1/4 cup raisins; stir and mix thoroughly.
When all vegetables have softened, return seared lamb to pan, add 1 can chicken stock, rehydrated tomatoes, 1 Tablespoons chopped fresh celery leaves, 1/4 tsp. each cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. mint leaves, 1/8 tsp. Paprika, 1 pinch Cayenne pepper. (Big pieces are lamb bones, to add richness to broth.) Bring to boil, then pour into roasting pan, cover, and solar cook for approximately 1 - 1-1/2 hours.
Conventional oven = 8500 BTUs; solar oven = FREE!
With a half of Butternut Squash left over, I decided to fast cook it in the microwave and use it to "fence" the casserole in place. I  used a lettuce leaf for a bowl on the plate and celery sticks to cool the palate while eating the lamb stew.
Served the Lamb Stew over white rice cooked similar to Risotto.
Isn't this pretty? I was gonna save you some but practically had to arm-wrestle my sister just for my plate!
The squash 'fence' adds just the right amount of color, don't you think.

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