Recipe: Hearty Lamb Casserole

June 25th, 2021

Whether you call it stew, potjiekos or casserole, slowly braised lamb meat and bountiful root veg make for a comforting winter meal packed with flavour.

“The success of a casserole lies in making sure the optimum cooking time for each ingredient is correct,” says Babylonstoren food director Maranda Engelbrecht. “You don’t want to end up with a mash. We eat first with our eyes and then the delicious taste and texture perfect the dish.”


Ingredients for the lamb casserole

◗ 1,2 kg stewing lamb (shanks, neck, potjiekos packet or a combination)
Babylonstoren extra virgin olive oil
◗ salt and freshly ground black pepper
◗ 2 onions, quartered (or 6 leeks white parts only, cut into chunks)
◗ 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
◗ 2 large celeriac roots, peeled and cut into wedges (or 6 medium potatoes, quartered)
◗ 1 large bunch of celery, cut into sticks
◗ 6 medium carrots, sliced in half lengthwise
◗ 3 cups vegetable stock
◗ 2 cups Babylonstoren Chenin Blanc
◗ 1 sprig fresh rosemary
◗ 5 sprigs fresh thyme
◗ 1 cup additional vegetable stock
◗ 2 Tbsp flour


◗ Preheat the oven to 160°C. Use a heavy, cast-iron casserole and heat on the stove. Add a few pieces of meat and brown on all sides in a bit of olive oil. Remove as you go and keep on the side. Season with salt and black pepper.

◗ Add more oil if necessary and sauté onions and garlic, then celeriac until golden brown, turning only once to keep wedges intact. You want the vegetables to brown, not cook through. Remove to a separate dish. Repeat with celery and carrots.

◗ Pour the stock into the casserole and add lamb. Top with wine and simmer slowly for 45–50 minutes. The lamb should be soft on the bone.

◗ Add an additional cup of stock combined with flour, and stir through. Top with onions, garlic, celeriac, rosemary and thyme and cook for another 10 minutes. Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes, then celery and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and use a large spoon and carefully stir the vegetables and meat through.

◗ Serve warm from the casserole or transfer to another serving dish. Drizzle generously with olive oil and serve with brown rice, lentils or polenta.

Serves 6–10

Maranda’s tips for making the best stew

◗ Slow cooking makes for a delicious stew.
◗ After you’ve added all the veggies, no stirring is necessary.
◗ A light sauce is important. If it’s too thick, it will burn at the bottom.
◗ You can make a pesto to serve on the side by using leftover carrot tops and celery leaves, plus parmesan cheese, olive oil and lemon juice.
◗ Adding a squeeze of lemon juice and some lemon zest just before serving gives any dish additional freshness.

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