Small Rappahannock oysters are good in this stew, but you can use your favorite oysters.
For the sofrito
3 dried chiles de arbol
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups finely chopped sweet onion
2 cups finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. piment d’Espelette (ground Espelette pepper) or red pepper flakes
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
6 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup dry sherry
For the stew
1 lb. ground lamb
1/4 cup finely chopped jarred piquillo peppers or jarred roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs. red wine vinegar; more as needed
2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp. piment d’Espelette (ground Espelette pepper) or red pepper flakes
2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry sherry
3 dozen small oysters, shucked, plus their liquor (about 3/4 cup)
1-1/2 cups canned black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
Make the sofrito
In a small skillet, toast the chiles in a dry pan over medium heat, turning occasionally until charred in spots, about 2 minutes. When cool, stem and seed.
Bring about 2 cups of water to a boil in a 1-quart pot. remove from the heat, add the chiles, cover, and soak until softened, about 20 minutes. remove the chiles from the water, halve them lengthwise, and scrape out and reserve the inside flesh, discarding any remaining seeds.
Heat the oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. add the chile flesh, onion, bell pepper, rosemary, 1 tsp. salt, and espelette pepper, and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. reduce the heat to low, add the tomatoes and their juice, garlic, and sherry. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to develop the flavors.
Make the stew
In a large bowl, combine the lamb, piquillo peppers, garlic, vinegar, oregano, Espelette pepper, and 2 tsp. salt. mix gently with your hands to combine.
Heat the oil in a 5-quart heavy-duty pot over high heat. add the lamb mixture, press it into an even layer, and cook, undisturbed, until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, breaking the lamb into smaller pieces while stirring occasionally, until browned, about 2 minutes. add the sherry and continue to cook until the liquid reduces slightly, about 3 minutes. add the sofrito, bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. add the oysters with their liquor and the black-eyed peas, and simmer until the oysters are tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and vinegar, transfer to bowls, and serve.
nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 340, Fat Calories (kcal): 150, Fat (g): 16, Saturated Fat (g): 4, Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10, Cholesterol (mg): 45, Sodium (mg): 690, Carbohydrates (g): 21, Fiber (g): 3, Sugar (g): 6, Protein (g): 18