If you’re in the mood for long stewing and simmering, try the “Mediterranean Braised Lamb and Couscous,” from Jamie Oliver. Gamey lamb smells like a barnyard as it cooks, but it was very popular at my table. Ninety minutes of slow cooking, until the meat fell off the bones.

The recipe asks for lamb shoulder or leg, but the pieces I found were shanks and chops. Because the shanks included big femur bones, I figured I’d use more than twice the lamb than the recipe asked for (there was no harm in that). My magnificent Dutch oven was the shining star on the stove top, once again. Instead of cooking diced lamb in my pot, I first seared the bones with salt, pepper, and olive oil, then removed them from the pot to cook the onion, etc.

I then returned the lamb bones to the pot, with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Make sure to use tomato paste for the “tomato purée,” and fill the emptied tomato can for the “water.” This is where the 90 minutes of low simmering happens. Cover that Dutch oven and let it do its thing. I added another 1 tsp. kosher salt at the end, and at that point scraped all the meat off those bones. This stew was perfect with the couscous.

I also fussed with the “Escarole Gratin,” from the March 2012 of Everyday Food, knowing full well that escarole requires no special attention to be fabulous. But the thought of the crumbs and the creaminess appealed to me. In fact, I took a piggy step and used half-and-half instead of the whole milk! The shallot was sweet, the garlic was nice. For my crumbs, I used whole wheat slices and dared not remove the crusts (why on earth do that?). Indeed, this gratin was lovely, thoughtful, and appreciated.

Onion (1) = .42¢
Lamb Shanks & Loin Chops (2.5 lbs.) = $21.50
Red Bell Pepper (1) = .68¢
Canned Plum Tomatoes (15 oz.) = $1.46
Shallot (1) = .16¢

RECIPES: a tomatoey lamb stew is worthwhile, and escarole is dressed up to be creamy and lovely
lamb stew needs at least two hours of prep and cooking; escarole gratin needs more than an hour of fussing (but is worth it!)
lamb braises into deliciousness with tomatoes and served atop couscous; escarole transforms into a creamy gratin

Next time, I want to cook Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Miso Chicken with Asian Slaw” (where we must understand that a “mangetout” is a “snow pea”), along with “Baked Lemon Cilantro Pakoras” (where chickpea flour shines). See what happens with this cooking exercise, when you return to my site soon.