Total Calories: 527
1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and brown lightly on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper and all the flour, and continue to cook, stirring constantly. The flour will start to brown on the bottom of the pan, but don’t let it burn. Let it become very dark brown, as it is the browning flour that will eventually give the stew its rich, dark color. This will take 6 to 8 minutes. Stirring the meat and scraping the bottom, add the stock or broth, a little at a time, until all the bits of browned flour are freed from the pan bottom and mixed into the liquid. Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer until the lamb is very tender and separates with a fork, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The cooking time will very because the age of meat sold as lamb ranges considerably from very young to almost a yearling.
2. While the lamb is cooking, boil the potatoes in water to cover until tender, about 30 minutes. At the same time, in a separate pan, boil the celery root in water to cover until tender. The celery root will take a little less time to cook--only 15 to 20 minutes--than the potatoes.
3. Drain the potatoes, reserving 1/4 cup of their cooking water, and place them in a bowl. Drain the celery root and set aside 1 cup of the cubes to add to the stew. Add the remaining cubes to the potatoes and mash them together. Add the reserved potato cooking water, the milk, 2 tablespoons of the butter, the egg, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and the thyme. Whisk until well blended and fairly smooth.
4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. To assemble the pie, put the stew in an ovenproof casserole and stir in the reserved celery root cubes. Spoon the potato mixture evenly over the top to cover completely. Cut the remaining 1 tablespoon butter into bits and dot the potato topping with the bits.
5. Bake until the topping is lightly browned and the stew is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.
NOTE: Once it is exposed to the air, cut celery root discolors. If you are not going to use the celery root immediately, put the cubes into a bowl of cold water to cover and add 1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. This dish does not freeze well.
TO REHEAT: Dot with 2 teaspoons of butter, cover with aluminum foil, and reheat in a preheated 350°F oven until heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.
From From Our House To Yours. Compilation copyright © 2002 by Chronicle Books LLC. Foreword copyright © 2002 by Joyce Goldstein. Photographs copyright © 2002 by E.J. Armstrong. All rights reserved. First published by Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, California.
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