Spanish Lamb Neck Stew (Caldereta de Cordero)

If you’re looking for a delicious, rich, aromatic, garlicky dish made with a piece of lamb neck to make for dinner tonight, look no further than this simple Spanish Lamb Neck Stew (Caldereta de Cordero) thickened with almonds, stale bread and sherry vinegar, with wonderfully plump ribbons of jarred roasted read pepper stirred through.

There are cuts of meat and things I like to cook loads of different things with, like chicken thighs and stewing steak, but there are a few things I have one way of cooking which I like to stick to. For example, if I have diced venison in the freezer, I won’t bother looking any further than the delicious Mulled Venison Stew in local food writer Rosie Birkett’s latest book The Joyful Home Cook (ad), or if I have beef shin available, I’m usually making my Slow Cooked Beef Shin Ragu.

Lamb neck is something my Mum always buys to make her lamb and kidney hot pot, but something I did not have a recipe for until I subbed a piece of (reduced to clear of course) it I randomly picked up and froze for later for the diced lamb shoulder in a Spanish lamb stew recipe I found as a subscriber special in my old collection of BBC Good Food magazines. The result was rich, delicious and unctuous, it was the perfect preparation for this rather fatty, too tough for roasting cut. And besides, slow cooked lamb stews with a tomato base like this are common across Southern Spain, so I did not feel too guilty for switching up the meat for whatever I had to hand, because the Spanish certainly will!

This now is the recipe I’ll make whenever I have a piece of lamb neck to hand (all the ingredients otherwise are store cupboard staples), loosely adapted and scaled down from the original.

Can I make this lamb stew in advance?

Yes! I often make the stew and then set it aside cooled in the fridge for a day or two. Just warm it back up, thicken it with the breadcrumb paste and you’re ready to go!

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Spanish Lamb Neck Stew (Caldereta de Cordero)

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 23 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooking
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Description

This easy Spanish Lamb Neck Stew is tender, rich, aromatic and pungent with garlic, thickened with a paste of stale bread, almonds and sherry vinegar. Serve it with potatoes, rice or crusty bread for the ultimate cosy meal.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Lamb Neck Stew

  • 1 tbsp light oil
  • 300g (10.5 oz) piece lamb neck, diced
  • freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 x 400g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml (1/3 cup) red wine
  • 200ml (2/3 cups) chicken stock
  • 70g (2.5 oz) jarred red peppers (approximately 1 pepper)
  • roughly chopped flat leaf parsley, for serving

For the Breadcrumb Paste

  • 25g almonds
  • 1 tbsp light oil
  • 40g (1.5 oz) stale bread
  • 1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar

Instructions

  1. Soak the almonds for the breadcrumb paste in a small bowl of cold water. Heat the oil over a medium high heat in the bottom of a large lidded frying pan or shallow casserole. Season the lamb pieces well and fry them until very brown, making sure you don’t let the bits on the bottom of the pan burn, dropping the temperature and taking more time if necessary, and working in batches if you need to.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion, and peel and slice the garlic clove. Once the lamb is browned add the onions and turn the heat down to medium (in a regular frying pan) or low (in a cast iron casserole – they hold and conduct heat a lot better!), cooking with a good pinch of salt for 5 minutes ago until the onions are starting to soften and colour.
  3. Add the sliced garlic and cook for a further minute until aromatic. Stir in the thyme, bay leaf, tomato puree, and stir until everything is coated in the tomato.
  4. Add the tinned tomatoes and the wine, measuring the wine into the empty tomato can so you don’t leave any tomato juices behind. Turn the heat back up to high again and allow to bubble away for about 5 minutes until the sauce has noticeably reduced.
  5. Add the stock, and season well with salt and pepper. Reduce to low, clap on the lid and allow to simmer for 2 hours.
  6. Towards the end of the cooking time, make the breadcrumb paste to thicken the stew. Heat the oil in a small saucepan set over a medium high heat and tear over the bread. Cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring regularly, until the pieces are golden. Transfer to a mini chopper or bullet blender along with the soaked almonds, the garlic clove, peeled and minced, and the sherry vinegar. Blitz until you’ve created a smooth-ish paste.
  7. Turn the heat back up to medium high and stir the breadcrumb paste into the stew. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened.
  8. Meanwhile, cut the roasted peppers into slithers. Stir them into the sauce, and allow to warm though while you taste to check the seasoning.
  9. Serve with potatoes, rice or crusty bread, and sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Notes

If the lamb fond (the brown bits stuck to the pan) burn start the onions in a new pan with the cooked lamb and an additional 1/2 tbsp of oil, otherwise the sauce will have a burnt flavour.

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