Lamb and tomato stew

Lamb and tomato stew

Buglione

By
From
Acquacotta
Serves
4
Photographer
Emiko Davies; Lauren Bamford

The unusual name of this dish makes even Tuscans from outside Maremma respond with an inflective ‘Eh?’ when they hear it. It seems related to the French word bouillon, which means broth, and comes in turn from the word bouillir (to boil), both of which could refer to the cooking method of this southern Tuscan dish. But an explanation I like better is that buglione (pronounced with a silent g) is also a forgotten Italian word that means a ‘confusing mixture’ or ‘a muddle’ – you could use it to describe a dish made with too many unnecessary ingredients or a chaotic situation that involves too many people, for example. From the same root, you have the word ingarbuglione, which describes a person who is something of a blunderer. This makes me wonder if the name came about because this dish was a mixture of whatever was at hand (much like Scottiglia). In the case of buglione, this is particularly about the herbs and spices added – some like to add at least three different herbs, plus a bit of heat from some chilli. Or was it named for the fact that it’s so easy that even the clumsiest person can fumble their way through the recipe? Perhaps it’s a bit of both.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1kg lamb leg or shoulder, chopped into large chunks
extra-virgin olive oil
3 whole garlic cloves, plus 1 extra garlic clove for rubbing bread (optional)
chilli flakes or sliced fresh red chilli, (optional)
2 fresh bay leaves
2 rosemary sprigs
250g dry red wine
400g tinned whole tomatoes
thick slices tuscan bread, grilled, for serving, (or other crusty white loaf)

Method

  1. In a deep casserole dish, brown the lamb (in batches if necessary) in the olive oil over high heat until evenly coloured. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Brown for approximately 5–10 minutes for each batch.
  2. Add the garlic, chilli and herbs to the meat, and turn the heat to medium. Continue cooking for 1–2 minutes, then add the wine. Let it simmer for about 5–7 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the tomato. Season with salt and pour over enough water to cover, about 1 litre. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low. Cook, covered, for 1 hour. Uncover and cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone and the liquid has reduced slightly – it is meant to be quite soupy.
  3. Serve with grilled bread (rubbed with garlic, if you wish) to soak up the sauce.

Note

  • In Tuscany, it’s uncommon to find conveniently packaged, diced lamb; it’s easier to get a leg or shoulder of young lamb. If you don’t have a heavy cleaver at home to chop this into large chunks, ask your butcher to do this for you. Alternatively, you can use diced lamb without bones, but as the bone will add f lavour to the dish, you could try lamb shanks (1 per person), which is perfect for this type of long, slow cooking.
Tags:
Italian
Tuscany
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