Archive for the ‘Lamb’ Category

Lamb Tagine

An easy casserole with North African spices and fruit. Suitable for cold nights in as well as entertaining good friends –  which we have been doing lots of due to snow days. Serve with plain couscous or with Golden Couscous and Shirazi salad.

Wine Suggestion: A guest brought over a Roda Sela from Rioja, which had juicy red fruit flavours to complement the spices and a polished, refined finish.

Lamb Tagine – serves 6

  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1-2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1.1kg cubed boneless lamb
  • 450g onions
  • 3 big cloves of garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 175g ready-to-eat dried apricots
  • 50g sultanas
  • 85g toasted flaked almonds
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 300ml tomato juice
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml hot lamb stock
  • fresh coriander, to serve
  • couscous, to serve

Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan 150C/Gas 3.

Mix the spices together in a small bowl.

Put the lamb into a large mixing bowl, then tip in the spices and mix well with your hands.

Peel and grate the onions (you might like to use a food processor if you have one to save your eyes). Peel and chop the garlic, then crush with the salt using the back of your knife.

Put a large frying pan over a high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add a quarter of the lamb cubes and cook until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon into a large casserole dish. Brown the rest of the lamb in batches, adding another tablespoon of the oil each time.

When the meat is all browned, turn the heat down to low and add the last tablespoon of oil, then stir in the onions and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes or until softened but not browned.

Add the lamb stock to the onions and stir to scrape any crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the onions and stock over the lamb, then add the remaining ingredients. Bring the casserole to the boil, then cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours or until the lamb is completely tender.

(Original recipe by Antony Worrall Thompson in BBC Good Food Magazine, January 2001.)


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Easy lamb kebabs

These definitely taste best off a barbecue but if you’re not up for that in February then you could cook them on a griddle pan instead. Marinade the lamb up to a day in advance if you can.

Wine Suggestion: A juicy Californian Zinfandel or Italian Primitivo; cheers!

Easiest ever lamb kebabs – serves 4

  • 600g lamb neck fillet, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 red onions, cut into small wedges

Heat the barbecue or griddle pan.

Put the lamb into a large bowl and toss with the oil and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside for as long as you can (overnight ideally).

Thread alternate pieces of lamb and onions onto metal skewers (you can use wooden skewers either but you need to soak them in cold water for about 20 minutes so they don’t catch fire).

Cook the skewers for about 8 minutes, turning regularly.



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Shepherds Pie

Everyone needs a good recipe for Shepherd’s pie; and here is ours.

Wine Suggestion: We usually fall for a red wine with a Shepherd’s pie and tonight it was a Château Farcies du Pech Pécharmant from our last travels in France.

Shepherd’s Pie – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bouquet garni (use whatever herbs you have but a good mix is thyme, parsley and a bay leaf tied together with string)
  • 700g floury potatoes, peeled weight, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp full-fat milk

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large casserole and fry the onion, celery and carrots for 5 minutes or until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then scoop the vegetables out of the pot and set aside.

Heat the remaining tbsp of oil in the same pot and add the lamb mince. Break it up with a wooden spoon and stir until it is browned and no pink bits remain. Stir in the flour, then add the stock, tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, and bouquet garni, and season to taste. Return the vegetables and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 90 minutes. The liquid should have almost completely evaporated. You can remove and discard the bouquet garni at this point.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a large pan of salted water for 20-25 minutes or until completely tender. Drain well and return to the hot pan to dry out before adding the butter and milk and mashing well. Season and cover to keep warm while the meat cooks.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Put the lamb into a ovenproof dish around 20 x 20cm. Top with the potato and fork it over. Cook in the top of the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

(Original recipe from Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, DK, 2013.)


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This is really tasty and aromatic and much quicker to prepare than most tagine. You can serve with some plain buttered couscous but the Golden Couscous below is particularly good and the two brightly coloured dishes look fab when served in a bowl and scattered with fresh herbs.

Wine Suggestion: we love the wines from Lebanon as they tend to go well with the cuisine of the Middle East and North Africa. For this dish we opened the Massaya Terrasses de Baalbeck, a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah from the slopes of Mount Lebanon, above the Temple of Baalbeck. Earthy spice and pure, it provided a nice lift to the drizzly days we’ve had recently.

Lamb kofta tagine – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 15g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp finely chopped root ginger
  • ½ red chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint


  • 500g lamb mince
  • 125g very finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp cardamom seeds (crush some green cardamom pods with a pestle & mortar or the end of a rolling pin to get the seeds)
  • ½ tsp paprika

Preheat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/Gas 2.

Put the oil and butter into a large casserole dish over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for 6-8 minutes or until starting to turn a light golden colour.

Stir in the turmeric, 1 tbsp of the lemon juice and half the chopped coriander. Add the tin of tomatoes and the sugar, then bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer with a lid on for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile make the kofta by placing all of the ingredients into a large bowl and seasoning with salt and black pepper. Mix together well using your hands, then roll into about 30 small balls.

Carefully lower the koftas into the pot with a spoon and gently roll them to cover in the sauce, then cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Season to taste, then stir in the remaining lemon juice and sprinkle with the chopped mint and coriander.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen, HarperCollins, 2013.)

Lamb Kofta Tagine with Golden Couscous


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A rich, show-stopper version of a favourite dish. We remain torn between the richness of this version by Neil Perry and the fresh elegance of this Moussaka by Tamasin Day-Lewis. We love both.

Wine Suggestion: As this is a rich dish we looked for a similarly rich, but not too heavy wine and liked the Insoglio del Cinghiale, a Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot blend from Bolgheri. It was nice and lifted with dark fruit, blackberries, plums and hints of spice. The key was the medium weight with a youthful freshness, fine rounded tannins and a smooth finish. We suspect a nice earthy and voluptuous red Burgundy would also do very or a top quality Chianti.

Moussaka – serves 4 (generously)

  • 2 large aubergines, cut into 5 mm slices
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit extra for brushing the slices of aubergine
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 90g tomato purée
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 40g grated Parmesan cheese


  • 50g butter
  • 50g flour
  • 500ml warmed milk
  • 80g finely grated parmesan

Salt the aubergine slices on both sides and leave aside for an hour. Rinse the slices under running water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Brush lightly with olive oil and cook in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side or until golden. Set the aubergine slices aside and wipe out the pan with some kitchen paper.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in the frying pan and cook the onions over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the onions have softened. Add the lamb, then turn up the heat and stir-fry until browned. Season with salt, then add the tomato purée and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, the cinnamon stick and the sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduced the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for a few more minutes to thicken slightly if needed. Remove the cinnamon stick and fold through the chopped parsley.

To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir over a low heat for a few minutes or until the mixture is bubbling.Gradually pour in the warm milk, stirring continuously, and cook until the sauce starts to boil and thicken. Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and freshly grated white pepper if you have it.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.

Layer the lamb and fried aubergine slices two or three times in a large ovenproof dish, starting and finishing with a layer of aubergine if you can manage it. Spread the béchamel over the top and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until hot through and golden brown on top. Leave to settle for 5 to 10 minutes before serving with a green salad.

(Original recipe from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking, Murdoch Books, 2016.)


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Shepherds pie

We made this from left-over slow roast lamb that we’d cooked for Sunday lunch. If you haven’t made Shepherd’s pie with cooked roast lamb we highly recommend it. Really comforting and delicious – there’s no better way to treat your leftovers!

Wine Suggestion: we opened a Domaine de Boède La Pavillon which is made by Chateau de la Negly close to Narbonne in the Languedoc. This wine may be just an IGP (the old Vin de Pays) but you can tell that just as much care has gone into this as the Chateau’s AC wines.  Juicy raspberry and cassis aromas with a touch of black pepper and cinnamon. A  round and generous palate is followed with silky tannins and hints of liquorice. Aim for a juicier style of wine with a medium body.

Shepherd’s Pie – serves 4 to 6

  • 25g butter
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 500g cooked lamb, cut into roughly 1 cm pieces
  • 25g plain flour
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 700g mashed potato (made with some milk and butter)

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat until foaming, then add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft but not browned.

Stir in the flour and cook for a minute, then add the stock and tomato purée, bring to the boil and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lamb and the chopped chives.

Pour the lamb mixture into an ovenproof dish and cover with the mashed potato.

Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve with some veg on the side.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen, by Rachel Allen, HarperCollins, 2013.)


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Slow roast lamb with beans

Lamb cooked long and slow is really delicious and lamb shoulder is the perfect cut for feeding lots of people. It’s also much cheaper than lamb leg. We loved the creamy beans flavoured with the lamb juices and onions, perfect for Sunday lunch. We definitely recommend soaking and cooking dried beans for this (and most other) dishes but tinned beans will work fine too. Leftover lamb can be used in a really good Shepherd’s pie.

Wine Suggestion: cool climate Syrah is our pick and a very good example is the André Perret Saint Joseph which was fresh and lively with really juicy cherry and raspberry fruit and racy,  velvety spices. We tasted the 2015 which was joyfully youthful and should have years ahead of it. We may buy a few more bottles of this to put away for future lamb dishes.

Slow-roasted lamb with beans – serves 8 to 12

  • 50ml olive oil
  • 500g onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2kg shoulder of lamb, boned, rolled and tied
  • 6 sprigs of thyme and 2 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 x tins of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed or 250g dried cannellini beans – soaked and cooked (soak the dried beans in lots of cold water overnight. Drain and put in a large saucepan of fresh water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until tender. Drain in a colander and allow to cool).
  • 200ml cream

Preheat the oven to 110 C/225 F/Gas ¼.

Put a large casserole dish on a low heat and heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper, then cook very gently until soft and caramelised.

Meanwhile, put a large frying pan on a high heat and add the remaining oil. Season the lamb really well with salt and black pepper, then cook for 10 minutes, turning now and then, until the well-browned.

Put the lamb on top of the caramelised onions, add the thyme sprigs and garlic, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for about 6 hours or until very tender.

Remove the lamb to a warm plate and keep warm wrapped in some foil.

Drain the onions, thyme and garlic in a sieve set over a bowl. Leave the liquid to sit until the fat rises to the surface, then spoon it off (we have a separating jug which makes this job very easy!).

Discard the thyme sprigs and return the onions and garlic to the casserole dish. Stir in the beans, cream and chopped thyme and simmer for about 5 minutes. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

Carve the lamb into thick slices and serve with the beans and some green veg.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen, HarperCollins, 2013.)


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