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Archive for the ‘Lamb’ Category

Pomegranate & slow cooked lamb couscous

This makes such a lovely weekend dish and looks really attractive served on a large platter in the middle of the table. It requires a few hours in the oven but is hardly any work at all and uses just a few ingredients.

Wine Suggestion: this dish cries out for a Moorish influenced wine and nothing quite achieves this more than a Spanish Tempranillo. Our choice of the evening was the Carmelo Rodero Ribera del Duero Crianza which is juicy, powerful and also manages to achieve a perfumed elegance with exotic eastern spice hints.

Pomegranate & slow cooked lamb couscous – serves 6

  • 2kg lamb shoulder (or get your butcher to give you a forequarter if the lambs are small)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses, plus extra to serve
  • 300g couscous
  • butter
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • a small bunch of mint, leaves roughly chopped
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate

Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

Put the lamb into a roasting tin with the fatty side facing up. Scatter the onion around the lamb. Score the lamb with a sharp knife and rub in the pomegranate molasses with your hands. Season well. Add 2 mugs of water to the tin, then cover with foil and roast for 4 hours. Rest for 15 minutes before pulling chunks of the lamb off the bone with 2 forks.

While the lamb is resting, put the couscous into a large bowl with a large knob of butter, the harissa and seasoning, then add enough boiling water to just cover. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 5 minutes before fluffing the grains gently with a fork. Put the couscous onto a platter and arrange the shredded lamb on top. Pour off any fat from the roasting tin and pour the juices over the lamb and couscous plus a little more molasses. Scatter with the mint and pomegranate seeds.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes IN: BBC Olive Magazine, February 2014.)

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Howrah Express

Brown food is just not photogenic but this really is a delicious lamb curry. Lamb neck is one of our favourite cuts; cheap and meltingly tender when cooked slowly.

Wine Suggestion: We’ve yet to find a wine that we think works with the intense flavours in this dish. Try an Indian beer such as Singah.

Cinnamon Lamb Curry – serves 8

  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 1¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1.2kg lamb neck fillet, chopped into chunks
  • 150ml full-fat yoghurt, whisked

Heat the oil in a large, heavy casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the onions when the oil is hot and fry until golden, about 8-10 minutes, then add the garlic and stir-fry for another couple of minutes.

Pour the tinned tomatoes into a bowl and crush a little with your hands before adding to the casserole. Cook for about 6 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Add the garam masala, chilli powder, cumin, cinnamon and salt, and mix. Add the lamb and cook until sealed all over. Add the yoghurt one spoon at a time while slowly stirring (to prevent splitting) and then add 200ml of warm water – you want it to just cover the lamb.

Bring the mixture to the boil, then cover and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 1½ hours or until the lamb is soft and falling apart. Take the lid off the pan and reduce the sauce to a consistency you like, then remove from the heat. Season to taste and serve with naan breads or steamed rice.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Penguin, 2014.)

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Lamb, beer & black bean chilli

We are forever trying new chilli recipes in an effort to find the best one. Most of them end up fairly similar to be honest but this one was deliciously different and therefore a suitable dish to serve up to friends who also cook their own versions.

Wine Suggestion: we often think the wine used to cook a dish is a good match and in this case the beer used would work, especially if you’ve used one with character and a bit of body. Alternately a good Languedoc or Roussillon (southern French) wine makes a good match. If you prefer white wine there are some great Grenache blanc or Grenache gris wines – try the Roc des Anges “Llum” for an amazing textured and savoury white or the Domaine Gayda’s Grenache Gris Selection which is richer and full of round, seductive fruit. If you prefer red then seek out a bottle of Chateau Saint Jacques d’Alba Minervois for a velvety, deep and satisfying drop.

Lamb, beer & black bean chilli – serves 6

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 750g shoulder of lamb, cubed
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • ½ tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 x 400g tins tomatoes
  • 600ml lager
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 x 400g tins black beans, drained and rinsed
  • juice of ½ – 1 lime
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • sour cream/Greek yoghurt
  • avocado
  • grated Lancashire/Wensleydale/Cheddar cheese

Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole and brown the lamb in batches until well coloured on all sides, then remove and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook until golden, then add the garlic and chillies and cook for a couple of minutes more. Add the cumin and cook for a further minute. Return the lamb to the pot along with the tomatoes, lager, tomato purée, sugar, oregano and lamb, season well and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat immediately to a very gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1½ – 2 hours or until the lamb is tender. Stir in the beans halfway through.

Taste, then add the lime juice, scallions and coriander, then taste again. Season as needed and serve with soured cream, slices of avocado and grated cheese.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Lamb, squash and apricot tagine

This dish couldn’t be easier and the sauce is delicious. It can be made in an authentic tagine if you have one, or alternately in a large casserole dish like we used here, both work well. Serve with couscous and natural yogurt.

Wine suggestion: With all the spice and richness in this dish the best wines to match the tagine are medium to full-bodied reds with a juicier fruit like a Ribera del Duero. Our pick of the moment is the Condado de Haza Crianza  2011 which has a lovely, open and approachable nature whilst hiding a core of real depth, texture and personality. We’re sure this wine will age really well if you like but suspect most will be consumed soon after purchase; very moreish!

Lamb, squash & apricot tagine – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ras el hanout
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 600g-800g lamb leg, diced into 2cm cubes, excess fat removed
  • 200g butternut squash
  • 200g soft dried apricots
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml lamb or beef stock
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • small bunch of coriander

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole, add the onion & cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and spices, and cook, stirring, for another couple of minutes.

Stir in the lamb, squash and apricots, then add the tomatoes and stock and season well. Bring to the boil, put the lid on and transfer to the oven.

Stir after 1 hr and return to the oven, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.

Check the seasoning and sprinkle over the lemon zest and coriander to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Aubergine & Lamb Stew

This is not the best looking dish but who cares when it tastes this good. To quote Itamar Srulovich (of Honey & Co. and the author of this recipe):

“Do not cook it to impress. Cook it for the ones you love the most, or just for you; it is that good.”

We concur Itamar!!

Wine Suggestion: Try a Mediterranean-style wine, a Primitivo or something similarly juicy from the south of Italy. We paired this with a lovely organic wine by Michele Biancardi, his Uno Piu Uno which is a cracking blend of Primitive and Nero di Troia. Only 12.5% abv but juicy and delicious so it didn’t overwhelm the lamb and aubergine and had enough depth to compliment it perfectly.

Patlican – Lamb & aubergine stew – serves 2

  • 450g lamb neck, cut into large dice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 aubergine, cut into large cubes (about 350g)
  • 1 large tomato, cut into large cubes
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 6 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • ½ small red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

Season the lamb cubes with the salt and pepper.

Heat a large pan over a medium-high heat, add the oil and the diced lamb, and sear the meat all over. When the meat has browned (about 5-6 minutes), add the aubergine, tomato, onion & garlic. Cover and leave to steam for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and stir in the chilli and thyme. Reduce the heat to low and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, then pour in the water and pomegranate molasses.

Keep cooking on a low heat for 50-60 minutes or until the veg have broken down and the meat is soft enough to tear with a fork.

Serve with bread so you waste no sauce!

(Original recipe from Honey & Co.: Food From the Middle East by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Saltyard Books, 2014.)

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Kofte kebab

This Turkish kebab dish, from Claudia Roden’s wonderful book Arabesque, is very simple to make but you need to be organised and assemble the dish at the last minute so the layer of crunchy pitta bread at the bottom of the dish stays crisp. Claudia’s tips are to serve the tomato sauce and meat very hot but the yoghurt at room temperature.

Yogurtlu Köfte Kebabi or Turkish Kofte Kebab with Tomato Sauce & Yoghurt – serves 4

  • 2 pitta breads
  • 750g minced beef or lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 50g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sumac plus an extra pinch
  • 500g full-fat natural yogurt
  • 2 tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp pine nuts

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 chilli pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 750g tomatoes, peeled and chopped (if it’s not tomato season use the equivalent of good quality tinned tomatoes instead)
  • 1-2 tsp sugar

Start with the tomato sauce. Fry the onion in the oil until soft. Add the garlic and chilli pepper, and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and sugar, and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until they soften.

Open out the pitta breads, toast until crisp, then break into small pieces with your hands.

Next make the kofte kebabs. Season the mince with salt and pepper, and use your hands to work into a soft dough. Add the onion and parsley and work into the meat. Shape into sausages, about 2cm thick and 7cm long. Arrange on an oiled sheet of foil on a baking sheet and cook for about 8 minutes under a pre-heated grill, turning once, until well browned but still pink and moist on the inside. Or if you prefer (as we do) you can grill on a barbecue.

Spread the toasted pitta pieces over the bottom of your serving dish and sprinkle over a pinch of sumac. Pour the hot tomato sauce all over and top with a layer of yoghurt beaten with a fork.

Heat the butter or oil with the pine nuts and stir in the teaspoon of sumac. When the butter or oil sizzles, sprinkle all over the yoghurt, arrange the meat on top and serve immediately.

(Original recipe from Claudia Roden’s Arabesque, Michael Joseph, 2005.)

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Meatballs with Broad Beans & Lemon

Delicious meatballs with a real summery feel. Use fresh broad beans if you can get them but frozen will work just as well. You can prepare this dish in advance and just reheat before serving.

Wine Suggestion: The trick with this dish is to make sure the wine is medium bodied so a lighter red with ripe (not dry) tannins would work a treat. An easy and uncomplicated shiraz cabernet blend from Australia or a nice Pinot Noir would work a treat. Alternately a medium bodied white like a good Verdicchio is a great option too. We drank the Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio which matched the dish perfectly with good depth of fruit and a great minerality which  allowed the food and wine to shine equally.

Beef Meatballs with Broad Beans & Lemon – serves 4

  • 4½ tbsp olive oil
  • 350g broad beans, fresh or frozen
  • 4 whole thyme sprigs
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 8 spring onions, cut at an angle into 2cm lengths
  • 2½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • salt and black pepper

MEATBALLS:

  • 300g minced beef
  • 150g minced lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 120g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp each chopped flat-leaf parsley, mint, dill and coriander; plus ½ tbsp extra of each to finish
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp baharat spice mix (apparently you can buy this or you can use the recipe below*)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp capers, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten

Put all the meatball ingredients into a large bowl. Add ¾ tsp of salt and lots of black pepper and mix well with your hands. Form into ping-pong sized balls (you should get about 20).

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a very large frying pan with a lid. Sear half the meatballs over a medium heat, turning until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Remove, add another ½ tbsp olive oil to the pan and cook the other batch of meatballs. Remove from the pan and wipe clean.

While the meatballs are cooking, put the broad beans into a pot of salted boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Remove the skins from half the broad beans.

Heat the rest of the olive oil in the pan you seared the meatballs in. Add the thyme, garlic and spring onion and sauté over a medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the unshelled broad beans, 1½ tbsp of the lemon juice, 80ml of the stock, ¼ tsp of salt and lots of black pepper. The beans should be almost covered with liquid. Cover the pan and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.

Return the meatballs to the pan. Add the rest of the stock, cover the pan and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If the sauce is very runny you can remove the lid and reduce a bit. The meatballs will soak up a lot of the juice so make sure you have plenty of sauce left. You can leave the meatballs off the heat now until ready to serve.

Just before serving, reheat the meatballs and add a little water, if needed, to get enough sauce. Add the rest of the herbs and tablespoon of lemon juice, the shelled broad beans and stir very gently.

Serve with basmati rice.

*Baharat Spice Mix – 1 tsp black peppercorns, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 small cinnamon stick – roughly chopped, ½ tsp whole cloves, ½ tsp ground allspice, 2 tsp cumin seeds, 1tsp cardamom pods, ½ a whole nutmeg grated. Blend all the spices in a grinder or pestle and mortar until you have a fine powder. Store in an airtight jar.

(Original recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2012.)

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