Preparation time: 90 min.
Ragoût d’Agneau aux Endives is a favorite from Southern France. The dish gets its special kick from the Endives (aka Chicory or Belgian Endives).
The Sisteron region in the Provence is famous for its production of yearling lamb. The Alpine meadows give its meat a special taste.
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 slice, about 3 oz (85 g) of bacon, cut into cubes
- 3 lb (1 kg 350 g) lamb shoulder, cut into 2 inches (5 cm) cubes
- 1 large tomato about 1 cup (225 g), peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic crushed
- 1 cup (240 ml) dry white wine
- 1 Bouquet Garni: 1 bay leaf, 2 twigs of thyme, parsley, winter savory (Sariette), tied together with a string or in a cheese cloth/tea bag
- 4 large endives (chicory/Belgian endives/witloof), quartered
- 1/2 lb (225 g) pickled onions
- salt and pepper
Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy pot and sauté over medium heat. Add the bacon and sauté it until it is colored on all sides. Remove the bacon to a sheet of towel paper to soak up the excess fat. Add the lamb cubes to the pot, sprinkle with salt and pepper and brown them gently on all sides. This will take about 15 – 20 minutes. Add the chopped tomato, garlic, and white wine and raise the heat to high. Stir and scrape the pan’s bottom with a wooden spoon to dissolve any brown particles. This will produce a tasty brown sauce. Add the Bouquet Garni, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, covered, for about 35 – 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a casserole over low heat. Add the pickled onions and the endives. Sweat them over gentle heat, shaking the pan now and then. The endives should be only slightly wilted as they will continue to cook when added to the stew.
When the lamb stew is almost done, add the reserved bacon and the pickled onions and endives mixture. Let simmer for a little bit to combine the flavors but make sure that the endives don’t get too soft. Remove the Bouquet Garni. Check that the lamb is tender and – voilà – ready to serve!
This dish is often accompanied by new boiled or roasted potatoes. But you can serve it also with fresh noodles or simply with a crusty baguette.