Agnello o vitello in fricassea Tuscany
Preparation - Medium
Serves 6 - 8
Another very old-fashioned recipe that also uses eggs to give more body to the dish. The egg-lemon sauce is reminiscent of Greek avgolemono. The recipe can be adapted to veal, or to chicken.
2 pounds lean lamb shoulder or leg, cut in small stewing pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
I medium yellow onion, chopped
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
I sprig rosemary, leaves only, chopped
2 TBSP finely minced flat-leaf parsley
1 TBSP unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup light veal or chicken broth
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
Heavy saucepan, stewpot or casserole with cover.
Pat the lamb pieces dry with paper towels, sprinkle with an abundance of salt and pepper, and set aside.
In a heavy saucepan or casserole, gently sweat the garlic and onion in the oil over medium-low heat until the vegetables are very soft but not brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the pieces of lamb and continue cooking over medium-low, turning the lamb frequently until all of the pieces have lost their rosy color.
Add the rosemary and parsley and stir to mix well, then stir in the flour and cook, stirring continuously, until the flour has lost its raw aroma and blended into the sauce.
Stir in the wine and raise the heat to medium. Let bubble and reduce by about half, then add the broth and stir once more.
Cover the pan, lower the heat again, and barely simmer the lamb in its sauce until the meat is very tender, about 1 hour, checking from time to time and adding a little more broth or wine if it seems necessary.
When the lamb is done, remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs very well with the lemon juice. Add the sauce from the stew to the egg-lemon mixture, beating well. Then, stirring constantly, mix it into the juices remaining in the pan... KEEP THE MIXTURE MOVING so the eggs don't have a chance to scramble. The heat of the lamb should be sufficient to thicken the eggs slightly to make a velvety sauce that envelops the pieces of lamb.
If it's still too liquid, return the pan to very low heat, or set in a pan of simmering water, and cook, stirring without cease until the sauce has reached the desired consistency.
Note: If fresh wild mushrooms are available, a little handful may be added to the stew with the herbs. Chanterelles are particularly good with lamb, or, if you're making a fricassea of veal, morels are delightful. Neither of these mushrooms is much used in traditional Tuscan cooking, which relies instead on porcini, but the flavors in this dish should he kept soft and gentle, rather nurserylike, and porcini are just too aggressive for the job.