Lamb in Cotes-Du-Rhone for Cook the Books

 I have enjoyed all of the books by Martin Walker, in his series featuring Bruno, Chief of Police.  The Patriarch, is our current selection for Cook the Books Club.  However, a disclaimer here - many of us, myself included, like to start reading books written in a series at the beginning, as further along, the returning characters have undergone some previous development.  I suppose authors don't like to repeat themselves too much.  So, you may want to go back and read the first first.

In this novel Bruno is invited to the chateau of a boyhood hero, a popular leader in the French Resistance, for a lavish birthday celebration.  Of course a murder ensues and our village police chief gets involved.  It looks to be an accident, but Bruno thinks otherwise.  Family secrets and tragedy are exposed.  Also causing trouble in the region, an animal rights activist is protecting deer without any means of keeping them safe, outraging local hunters. 

For this, as in his earlier novels, the food and wine descriptions were plentiful and tempting, however the only difficulty was in narrowing it down to what might be available, or in tune with the season.  I decided to go with a take-off from one of Chief Bruno's very first mentions, a roast of lamb marinated in wine with herbs.  Not being able to secure the Monbazillac, I went with a nice, earthy red Cotes-Du-Rhone from Saint Cosme instead, and made a braise of  lamb shoulder stew chunks.

                                        Lamb Braised in Cotes-Du-Rhone
                        Inspired by the directions in The Patriarch, by Martin Walker, Pages 47-49

  • 1/3 cup Burgundy wine or a nice dry red wine like the Cotes-du-Rhone I used
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced and 5-6 whole cloves for the braise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced, and 3 whole sprigs for the braise
  • 1 lb lamb, cut in 1 1/2 inch chunks (he used a shoulder of lamb and roasted it; mine was purchased cut up with some bones - "stew meat" and braised
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil or duck fat
  • 2 cups beef broth, undiluted, or homemade stock
  • 1/2 teas. cumin
  • cinnamon sticks (optional)
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Anaheim chili, sliced (be careful - it might be hotter than you think
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in chunks
  • 1 carrot, cut in 1/4" slices
  • 3 or 4 small potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  1. Combine first 6 ingredients.
  2. Pour over meat in a shallow dish.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours.
  4. Drain meat, reserving marinade.
  5. Discard bay leaf and pat lamb dry with paper towel
  6. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat; brown meat in oil.  Remove meat and lay down the reserved sprigs of rosemary and sticks of cinnamon, if using.
  7. Put the lamb back and surround with cloves of garlic.  Add cumin, consomme and reserved marinade; bring to a boil.
  8. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours.
Add vegetables; cover and cook another 30 minutes.  You may thicken the sauce with 2 tablespoons flour blended with 1/4 cup of the wine if desired.  Note that I added Worcestershire sauce, as per Pamela's advice to Bruno :)

We had this delicious stew over rice (as I did not add potatoes) with a salad on the side.  We definitely are having the weather for soups, braises and roasts, quite rainy and chilly here.  I'll share this post over at Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking event, with the November Foodies Read as well as with our Cook The Books Round-up.


Unknown said...

I haven't eaten Lamb in ages and I Love it so much! I think it's because I have never venture to cook lamb. I think I'll try your recipe Claudia. It looks SO GOOD!

Debra Eliotseats said...

I knew someone would make this dish. The Worcestershire was the most intriguing ingredient (besides the wine, that is). Thanks for hosting, Claudia.

A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

There certainly was a lot of food choices in this novel. I was drooling throughout the story.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I was hoping someone would make this dish so I could live vicariously through them! ;-) It looks delicious. Thanks for a good pick with some excellent food descriptions--it certainly made me hungry and introduced me to a great character.

Beth F said...

OMG this looks amazing. I love lamb and this dish is so perfect for winter. And I can't believe I've never read a Bruno book. Must correct that!

Mae Travels said...

I just read the same book -- I'm quite a fan of Walker, his idyllic town (with murders), and his food-loving policeman Bruno. Lamb stew does capture the spirit.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

jama said...

In general I'm not a lamb eater but this stew looks delicious -- rich and hearty. Tis indeed the season for stews and braises and this dish looks so satisfying.

Molly said...

I am unfamiliar with the book series - but now know I must check it out!
The Lamb dish looks fabulous! I may try it when (or if...) the weather ever turns cold.

Carole said...

I tried a Bruno but it just wasn't for me. Have a great week. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

Thanks for introducing this book series as it is new to me. Must look into it!

Delaware Girl Eats said...

I just love lamb and when paired with a hearty red like cotes du rhone- wonerful!

Simona Carini said...

Lovely dish, Claudia! I think the book captures well the fact that good food in France (as in Italy) is normal but not taken for granted. Thank you for introducing me to the series.