Perfect to pair with 1989 Vajra Freisa.
2.5 lbs lamb stew meat (preferably from shoulder or leg)
1 cup canned whole tomatoes drained (Muir Glen brand or San Manzano are best)
1 medium white onion medium dice
2 small carrots or 1 large small dice
1 small fennel bulb small dice
1 cup dry white wine
3 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 lbs pancetta medium dice
3/4 cup of olives pitted and very coarsely chopped (kalamata olives)
2 cups beef stock (preferably homemade or low-sodium store bought stock)
1)Place the 2 table spoons of olive oil in dutch oven or a thick bottomed pot with lid over medium high heat. Pat lamb dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. When pot is sufficiently hot, add lamb being careful not to crowd the pan. Brown lamb on both side and then, remove from pan with slotted spoon. Lower heat to medium. If necessary, add another tablespoon of olive oil. Add pancetta and let some of its fat be rendered. Add onion, carrots, and fennel stirring to dislodge any brown bits stuck to the pot. Cook until they've softened (5-7 mins.) Slowly add the tablespoon of flour stirring to incorporate the flour with the vegetables.
2)Return lamb and any juices that have seeped out to the pot. Add thyme and bayleaf. Add white wine and dislodge any remaining brown bits stuck to bottom of the pot. Reduce wine by half. Add tomatoes squeezing them with you hand to break them apart. Stir and cook for another 3 mins. Add beef stock to cover. Turn heat to low so that the stew barely simmers.
3)Simmer 2.5 -3hrs until meat is meltingly tender but not falling apart. After about 2 hrs add olives and cook for an additional half hour. Remove thyme sprigs and bayleaf.
Serve with fresh pasta, polenta, or mashed potatoes.
Enough for 4 hungry Freisa lovers.