Chrom, one of the three protagonists of Fire Emblem: Awakening, is the leader of a militia group known as the "Shepherds" - so, I thought it would be appropriate to make a dish out of mutton! A simple meat stew seemed like a fitting dish for the medieval-era setting of the Fire Emblem franchise.
Of course, I just had to include a nod to one of the most popular memes relating to Chrom! In one infamous line of support dialogue between Gaius and Olivia, it is revealed he once ate an unpeeled orange, which has become a pretty popular joke among Fire Emblem fans!
In honor of Chrom's bizarre eating habit, I included a splash of orange juice into this stew - and of course, garnished it with a twist of orange peel! The juice gives the stew a subtle tang, which marries nicely with the savory meat and the sweetness of the vegetables.
½ lb thick-sliced bacon, chopped into small pieces
4 lbs mutton or lamb (shoulder or leg would work), trimmed and cut into bite-sized chunks
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ cup butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed from stem and finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp tomato paste
5 cups stock (vegetable or beef broth would work well)
1 bay leaf
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 oranges, for juicing and zesting
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
2-3 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup button mushrooms
2 cups frozen green peas
Fresh mint, for garnish
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, fry chopped bacon until crisp. Transfer into a bowl and set aside.
Drain excess bacon fat, leaving about 3 tablespoons in the pot. Add mutton to the pot, season with salt and pepper. Cook in bacon fat, turning the pieces until nicely browned on all sides. Transfer to the bowl with the bacon and set aside.
Melt butter in the pot. Add onion and celery and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in rosemary, thyme, and garlic, and cook for a few more minutes until fragrant.
Add flour and mix together until a thick roux forms. Cook, stirring frequently, until roux takes on a golden brown color. Add tomato paste and stir, cooking for a few more minutes until further deepened in color.
Add stock and deglaze the pot by scraping the browned bits off from the bottom. Add bacon and mutton back to the broth. Toss in diced potatoes and carrots.
Add vinegar, Worcestershire, and the juice of both oranges. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender and meat is fully cooked through.
Toss in button mushrooms and frozen peas. Cook for a few more minutes until peas are fully thawed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove bay leaf. Serve topped with fresh mint leaves and orange zest.