Recipe by Laura Fitzgerald
This dish honors all of Allagash Dubbel Ale's spiritual ancestors, updating the classic Belgian dish, carbonnade or beef cooked in beer, with Maine's finest spring offerings: young lamb, newly sprouted chives, fresh green peas and even maple syrup. The beer's New England roots are remembered by pairing the lamb with its traditional English accompaniments: parsnips and mint.
- Allagash Dubbel, 18 ounces
- Canola oil, 2 tablespoons
- Lamb shoulder, (cut into 1 inch cubes) 2 lbs.
- Sugar, 2 tablespoons
- Real maple syrup, 1 tablespoon
- Large onion, (medium diced) 1
- All-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons
- Shallots, 15
- Beef stock, 24 ounces
- Red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons
- Large bay leaf, 1
- Cracked black peppercorns, 6
- Butter, 1 tablespoon
- Medium parsnips, (cut into coins) 3
- Fresh green peas, 1 cup
- Fresh mint, (minced) 1½ tablespoons
- Chives, (minced) 1½ tablespoons
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven over moderately high heat. Season and brown the lamb. Remove to a side plate.
- Turn down heat, add sugar and maple syrup to the pot. Cook until deep brown. While stirring, scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen caramelized meat drippings.
- Add onion, flour and shallots. Mix to coat in sugar and thoroughly blend in flour.
- Add stock and Allagash Dubbel Ale. Bring to a boil and let cook through for one minute.
- Add vinegar, bay leaf and peppercorn. Add lamb along with any juices on the side plate. Mix well.
- Cover the Dutch oven and simmer gently on the stovetop for one and a half to two hours. Check periodically to ensure the sugars in the stew do not scorch.
- While simmering, sauté parsnips in butter in a saucepan for five minutes. Set aside to be added to the stew 30 minutes before serving.
- Add peas five minutes before serving.
- Check consistency of stew. If liquid is too thin, remove solids and reduce to the desired gravy-like consistency.
- A minute or so before serving, add mint and chives. Adjust seasonings.
Serve in a shallow soup bowl alongside a simple whole-grain bread or on plates with mashed potatoes, with a hearty red wine or tart Lambic drink. Crisp Maine apple slices dipped in baked Camembert would make an appropriately simple dessert.