Celebrate Ignatius of Loyola with This Basque Stew

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When Saint Ignatius of Loyola was thirty years old, his promising military career came to a crashing halt. After taking a cannonball to the leg in 1521, he spent his recovery time reading through books on the life of Christ and the saints.

Inspired by the witness of Saint Francis of Assisi, Ignatius made a pilgrimage and repented of all his sins. He spent the next year attending daily Mass and spending hours in prayer. His reflections in this season of his life became the beloved Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.

Together with Saint Francis Xavier and Saint Peter Faber, Ignatius went on to found the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits.

Ignatius’ feast day is July 31. Want to celebrate his life in an extra tasty way? Honor the Spanish Basque Catholic priest with a pot of Basque lamb stew.

The Basque Country, where Ignatius was born, is a region of Norther Spain. Many who live there are either fishers or farmers. Food dishes from this area are often infused with ideas and ingredients from around Spain and the world.

Here’s how to make Basque lamb stew to celebrate Ignatius of Loyola’s feast day. The recipe serves eight.

Shopping list:

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 3 1/2 pounds of cubed lamb leg or shoulder meat
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch long pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 3 to 4 cups of lamb or beef stock
  • 1 1/2 cups of white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika, ground
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup or more fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the lamb, without crowding, until all pieces are brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside in a large stockpot.
  2. Combine the bell peppers, celery, tomatoes, potatoes, onion, and garlic in a large bowl. Cook in batches over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often; the cooking may require more olive oil. Combine the cooked vegetables with the lamb, and scrape the bottom of the skillet to add lamb bits to the stew for flavor.
  3. Add 3 cup of stock (or more as needed), the wine, tomato paste, paprika, and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the lamb is tender, about 1 hour; add the remaining stock, if necessary.
  4. Remove the lid, and increase the heat to medium. Discard the bay leaves. Stir in the salt and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until the sauce reduces, about 15 minutes. Adjust the seasonings. Place the stew in a serving dish, and garnish with the chopped parsley. Serve hot.

Do you want to learn more about liturgical living and incredible food inspired by the lives of the saints? Make sure to get a copy of Cooking with the Saints by Alexandra Greeley and Fernando Flores.

The book is full of meal recipes, stories of lives of the saints, and an entire section dedicated to celebratory cookies. Pick up a copy at your local Catholic book store or online!

Whether you’re just starting to live liturgically or you’re a seasoned pro, this book is a must-add to your recipe book collection.

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