Beer Braised Lamb and Leeks

beer braised lamb and leeks

When I get cold in the winter, I go for a walk. Then again, if I want to remain fully endorphin entertained, I go for a walk. If I miss my daily walk, something feels amiss. That said, I’m going to let you in on two secrets. Part of what I anticipate on these daily walks apart from seeing the changing foliage and colorful people that make up San Francisco is a delightful podcast called Eat Feed. A friend introduced me to it and I haven’t stopped listening since. If you like your food in the guise of playful information and history as well as succulent interviews with others equally as food passionate, you don’t want to miss Eat Feed hosted by the lovely Anne Bramley. The first secret is out of the bag and the second one is probably no secret to many of you.

Your oven probably works as hard as mine does in the winter months. After being inspired by Eat Feed’s braising episode, I’ve toyed with braising combinations in which to continue christening the Le Creuset French Oven, easily our most unexpected wedding gift. We tried our hand at braising beef and more recently concocted this gem of a recipe of Beer Braised Lamb and Leeks. Braising it on the stove top lets me tinker and check in on the process occasionally while it’s happening, and I sure do like to tinker. What is so wonderful about braising is that apart from the initial prep work and browning of the meat, you let the method of low and slow cooking do its work while you are left time to do your work and I like meals that let me multi-task, don’t you?

For those of you that see the word lamb and get turned off, pull up a seat. This lamb dish is not gamey in the way lamb is sometimes heralded. No, the beer gives a slight nuttiness and wheat-like tinge as an after-taste while the carrots and parsnips provide some sweetness and the celeriac gives a flavor of just enough celery. The melted consistency of the vegetables lend a very sensual element to this rustic dish, they’re that soft. If you would like the veggies to retain a bit more of their shape, add them in after the lamb, leeks, spices, beer and stock have cooked for an hour.  Lamb is often over-looked in American kitchens, but it’s a staple in ours. We think of it as the other brown meat. So this weekend, when you’re thinking about cleaning the house or writing several thank you cards, why not put on a pot of Beer Braised Lamb and Leeks first? You’ll tackle dinner, check off a few to do boxes and leftovers for lunch.

LAMB RECIPES- beer-braised-lamb-and-leeks


YIELD: 6 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Anchor Steam beer
  • 2 leeks
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • ½ celeriac
  • 1 pound lamb stew meat
  • 2 cups mushroom stock
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut the white portion away from the leek fronds. Cut the white portion in half and rinse under water, taking care to make sure the water has a chance to clean off any dirt in between leaves. Coarsely chop leeks.
  2. With a peeler, remove the skins on the carrots and parsnips. Take a paring knife and begin carefully cutting off the skin of the celeriac. Coarsely chop all the vegetables.
  3. On the stovetop, place the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the leeks for 2 minutes. Remove them and place in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. In the French oven, brown the lamb, turning the chunks so that all sides have a chance to get browned. Once browned, pour in the beer, mushroom stock. leeks and spices. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir until combined and then add in the carrots, celeriac and parsnip chunks. Turn the heat to low.
  5. Cover the French oven and let simmer for two hours. Check on the meat and stir the pot occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.





Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki

LAMB RECIPES- Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki

Summertime in San Francisco is not summertime in Texas. Let’s be clear about that.

If you’re planning a vacation and thinking a trip to California and more specifically San Francisco is the place to go for warmer climes, I regret to inform you that our weathermen would be shaking their heads, “no.” Come to think of it, that might account for the booming business that is selling sweatshirts and fleece pullovers emblazoned with “San Francisco” on the front- good marketing and good reminders for future packing lists.

Sure, we have beaches here and they are beauties! Flanking the Pacific Ocean for miles, Ocean Beach looks out into the vast blue waters extending to the Pacific Rim. In fact, a handful of years ago, I lived two blocks away from that beach where the air is pure… and had a bit of a bite. Years later, I lived by Baker Beach with its picturesque and oft-photographed backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge. Take note though, if you walk too far out, you might stumble into the nude section of the beach. And maybe that’s your intent or maybe not.

Summers in San Francisco are dismal in the most majestic of ways: grey skies lighting everything in recessive tones and a gentle fog or mist that settles on everything in its path. Beach visits involve blankets, fleece and quite possibly steaming mobile mugs of hot tea. You get used to it, unless you don’t and end up wiling your way down to sunny SOUTHERN California. Seeing as my hide and tail come from Texas where summers are a gentle 107 degrees, I open my arms to our San Francisco summers. Arms wide open.

But sometimes you need a burger.

They’re a food equivalent to the throes of a summer well in season. The very smells and flavors call to mind a grill fired up, flames licking the charcoal briquets just like the sweat is licking the back of your neck. And in a San Francisco summer, all you need is a bit of that fairy dust to transform your kitchen stovetop into a grill out back. Maybe that and a Greek-inspired burger.

This recipe below has become a staple in Casa Annelies and Beck. Ted Allen‘s combination of goodies grilled into the burger and the sauce on top is finger-licking good in a way even the colonel could appreciate. We use pain au Levain bread slices rather than buns and in season, I like to add minced padron peppers to the meat, lending a bit of their depth and swagger.



Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki

Adapted from Ted Allen’s “Mini Lamb Burgers with Yogurt Cucumber Sauce”

YIELD: Serves 4


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 4 padron peppers, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pepper, to taste


  • 1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed sea salt
  • 2 cups yogurt, preferably thick, Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

1. Add minced cucumber to a medium sized mixing bowl. Go ahead and add yogurt, mint, cumin, sea salt and pepper. Sprinkle the olive oil into the sauce and mix. Then spoon some of your sauce into a ramekin.

3. Heat a grill pan over high heat.

4. Mix together ground lamb, capers, parsley, zest, mustard, padrons, salt and pepper. Form lamb mixture into 2 similar sized mounds in the bowl. Divide lamb mixture in half, then half again. Form into 4 medium sized burger patties.

5. Oil the grill pan with oiled paper towel held in tongs. Turn heat down to medium. You want to brown the burgers for about 4 minutes on each side for burgers cooked medium.

6. Slice several thick cuts of bread and then cut in half. Toast.

7. Lay down a few leaves of spinach on one of your toasted bread slices and then place one of the burgers. Add a dollop of the tzatziki and seal the deal with another slice of your toasted bread. Serve and enjoy!

8. I like to serve this with the ramekin of tzatziki in the middle of the table because you or your guests might want more of the sauce as you eat your way through the burger.