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Spanish Lamb Stew with White Beans and Chorizo
The boneless lamb in this delicious cassoulet-like stew makes for polite knife-and-fork eating

6 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound chorizo, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 medium onions, sliced thinly
6 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
2 1/2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 cup rich beef stock
14-ounce can plum tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1/4 cup chopped fresh marjoram (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups cooked white beans

1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over moderately high heat. Add chorizo and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes. Add onions and garlic, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes more. Remove contents of pan and set aside.
2. Add remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to pan and heat until hot but not smoking. Add lamb cubes and cook until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. (Make sure the pan is not overcrowded; if it is, brown the lamb in batches.)
3. When all the lamb is browned, place chorizo-onion-garlic mixture back in pan. Increase heat to high, and add red wine and sherry vinegar. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any caramelized bits. Then, add beef stock and plum tomatoes with their juice. Stir, breaking up the tomatoes with the wooden spoon. Add bay leaves and paprika. If using marjoram, add half of it now. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Bring the liquid slowly to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and partially cover. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove the lid, and simmer another 45 minutes, or until lamb is extremely tender. Remove bay leaves.
5. Add white beans to stew, and stir to combine. Cook over low heat until beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve. If using marjoram, stir in remaining 2 tablespoons just before serving.

The boneless lamb in this delicious cassoulet-like stew makes for polite knife-and-fork eating. This dish tastes best when eaten right after cooking; it will not improve in the refrigerator, as many other stews do. Serve with a green salad and a good bottle of red Rioja. Serves 6