I read a few days ago that this is supposed to be the most depressing week of the year with the upcoming Monday being the worst day, “Blue Monday”.  In addition, it will be a frigid 2 °F with wind chills getting to negative 20.  A leftover from our holiday celebrations was a bottle of Serendipity from New Glarus.  Because of the low yield of cherries in the past season the company was not able to make a lot of the cherry ale ( Belgian Red).  With a little improvisation they mixed what amount of cherries they could get along with Wisconsin apples and cranberries.  The result is a delightful drink and my new favorite.  One of the most satisfying ways to warm-up on a cold winter’s night is  to prepare  a hearty meat and potato dish.  Add a few glugs of booze for a little cheer.

The lamb was from Richard and Linda Enloe of Oak-Del Dairy and Beef Farm in Cobb.  Just my luck, their talented daughter Grace is one of my music students.  Once in awhile I ask her to pay my fee in meat so I don’t have to go to the Cobb Farmer’s Market to make a purchase.  Oak-Del meats are also available at the Driftless Market in Platteville.



  • 3 and 1/2 lbs. of lamb (Oak-Del)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • a couple sprigs of rosemary (from my indoor herb garden)
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 t. crushed black cardamom
  • a little salt
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 bottle Serendipity (New Glarus Brewing Co.)
  • potatoes

Sear the meat, fry (all in the same pan) the garlic, rosemary, black cardamom, and roughly chopped celery and carrots until you can smell all of the flavors.  Add a little salt and 1/2 bottle of the Serendipity.  Cover and roast for about 4 hours in a 300 °F oven.  Add the whole potatoes during the second half of cooking.  When it is ready, the meat will be fork tender, the potatoes done, and you’ll get a beautiful caramelized sauce.

Slow roasting meat, vegetables, and a little alcohol is a very easy and fun process where one can improvise with what is available.  With the addition of the ale and black cardamom, it was doubly serendipitous!

*Black Cardamom  is unlike the more well know green cardamom used more as a cinnamon substitute.  The flavor is strongly earthy, smoky, and minty.  It has been dubbed the bacon of spices.  Use this spice to give a dish that special je ne sais quoi.



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