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Archive for the ‘Lamb’ Category

Another recipe for using up leftover cooked lamb. It doesn’t take very long so you could try it mid-week.

Wine Suggestion: This is delicious with a red with a good amount of age, where the gentle, aged spices and characters meld with the food. This isn’t always easily to hand, so Domaine Gayda’s Grenache from the border of the Languedoc and Roussillon was a more than adequate substitute, with the peppery spices from the grape providing a natural warmth and a juicy red fruit.

Leftover lamb pilaf – serves 4-6

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 350g basmati rice
  • 700ml chicken stock or lamb stock
  • 50g dried barberries (or you could use dried cherries or cranberries)
  • 50g dried figs, quartered
  • 500g leftover cooked lamb, in chunks
  • 75g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley or mint
  • 35g toasted almonds, chopped (or pistachios)
  • seeds from ½ a pomegranate
  • Greek yoghurt to serve (optional)

Heat a splash of oil in a large heavy saucepan and cook the onion until soft and golden. Add the chilli, allspice and garlic and cook for another minute, then add the rice, stirring to coat in the oil. Add the stock and dried fruit and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Don’t be tempted to stir it! If the rice isn’t tender after 20 minutes, add a little boiling water, cover again and cook for another 4-5 minutes. If the stock isn’t completely absorbed, turn up the heat to quickly boil it off.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and quickly fry the lamb until warm and crispy. Season, then fork through the rice with the feta, herbs and nuts. Transfer to a large dish and scatter over the pomegranate seeds. Serve with some yoghurt on the side if you like.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2012.)

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A delicious soup for leftover roast lamb and perfect for chilly weather.

Lamb & pearl barley broth – serves 6-8

  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • 200g leftover cooked lamb, sliced or shredded
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 1.25 litres of chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Put the butter and oil into a large saucepan over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming, add the onions, celery, bay leaf and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper, then turn the heat to low, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until softened.

Add the lamb, chopped parsnip and carrot, the pearl barley and the stock. Turn the heat up and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the barley and vegetables are tender.

Remove and discard the bay and rosemary. Stir in the chopped parsley, season to taste, and serve.

(Original recipe from Soup Broth Bread by Rachel Allen, Michael Joseph, 2021.)

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If you are looking for something different for the barbecue, then this is the dish for you. Absolutely delicious recipe from Gill Meller’s lovely new book, Outdoors.

Wine suggestion: We think this dish suits Syrah and Grenache based wines really well, and because we couldn’t choose between them tonight went with a blend from near Carcassone in southern France that also adds a touch of Mourvèdre and Carignan, Domaine Gayda’s Freestyle Rouge. Juicy and medium bodied the added benefit is that the terroir combined with the grapes add a delightful herbal character to sing alongside the herb sauce; win win.

Barbecued lamb & cauliflower with herb sauce – serves 4

  • 2 lamb neck fillets
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 cauliflower, broken into bite-size florets

FOR THE HERB SAUCE:

  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
  • a small handful of basil, leaves picked
  • a small handful of mint, leaves picked
  • 6 anchovies in oil, drained
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 small clove of garlic, grated
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • about 100ml extra virgin olive oil

Make the sauce first. Put the herbs, anchovies and capers on a large chopping board and finely chop together. Transfer to a bowl, then mix in the garlic, mustard, sugar, vinegar and oil, and season with black pepper.

Get your barbecue going.

Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil over the lamb and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the chilli flakes over the meat, then cook on the barbecue for 8-10 minutes, turning often. The outside of the meat should develop a good dark crust and the internal temperature should be 55-60C. Set the lamb to the side of fire to rest while you cook the cauliflower.

Trickle the cauliflower with 1 tbsp of olive oil and season well. Cook on the barbecue until blistered and charred in places. It will be a little crunchy which is what you are looking for. Arrange the cauliflower on a platter, put thick slices of lamb over the top and spoon over the herb sauce. Give it all another season with salt and pepper and add another drizzle of good olive oil.

(Original recipe from Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2022.)

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This recipe comes from Chasing Smoke by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich of Honey & Co. in London. This is hands-down the best hummus we’ve ever made (and we’ve made lots) and the crispy lamb belly (poached then finished over charcoal) is fatty but fabulous. It’s good with a simple salad (we went for cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions & Baby gem dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and sumac) and lots of warm pittas. You need to soak the chickpeas the night before.

Wine Suggestion: Anything with a hint of middle-eastern spices or warm sunshine. A Garnacha, or maybe a Tempranillo. Tonight the classic Massaya le Colombier from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. A lot has happened in this part of the world and we’re glad to support the friends we’ve met still trying to make great wine despite all the challenges. Well done Sami and Ramzi, bravo!

Crispy lamb on creamy hummus – serves 4 (generously)

FOR THE LAMB:

  • 1 lamb breast on the bone, about 1.5kg
  • 1 tbsp table salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 litre of water

FOR THE HUMMUS:

  • 200g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in lots of water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 250g tahini paste
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

TO SERVE:

  • a small handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp biber chilli flakes (or Allepo)
  • pitta breads
  • salad (see suggestion above

Rub the lamb all over with the salt, cumin seeds and peppercorns, then leave in the fridge for a couple of hours. Put the lamb in a large pan with the onions and water. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly for about 1½ hours.

Make the hummus while the lamb is cooking. Drain the soaked chickpeas, then place in large saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil and skim off the foam. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then skim again.

Add the bicarbonate of soda and mix well. Skim it really well this time then simmer for 30-40 minutes, skimming regularly, until the chickpeas are very soft – they should melt in your mouth.

Drain the chickpeas into a colander over a bowl so you can reserve the cooking liquid. You need to finish the hummus now while everything is still hot. Pour 250ml of the cooking liquid over the chickpeas and add the garlic. Now whizz using a stick blender or food processor until really smooth. It will be pretty thick at this stage but not to worry.

Add the salt, tahini, cumin and lemon juice and whizz again until well combined. Give it a taste and add more salt or lemon juice if you like. Cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin forming and set aside. It will be quite liquid but it will thicken as it cools.

Lift the lamb out of the cooking water, keep a few spoonfuls of liquid for serving. The meat should be completely soft and easy to pull from the bones. Carefully (so it doesn’t fall apart altogether) lift it onto a hot charcoal barbecue and cook for about 10 minutes. Turn it over and cook for 10 minutes on the other side. You need to do this over indirect heat or it will burn or catch fire as there is a lot of fat.

To cook over indirect heat pile the charcoal to one side and with the lid on cook the meat on the other side. Despite no direct flames underneath the meat cooks a treat – slower, but no less effectively.

Take the cooked meat off onto a chopping board and shred it with two forks – like crispy duck.

Spread the hummus on a serving platter and top with the lamb and a drizzle of the cooking liquid. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and chilli flakes and serve with lots of pitta and a salad if you like.

(Original recipe from Chasing Smoke: Cooking over fire around the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2021.)

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Bored with bolognese? Try this lamb and pea ragu for a change, it’s just as comforting but peas for a bit of Spring freshness.

Wine Suggestion: We had a glass of the Umani Ronchi Rosso Conero Serrano, which is an unoaked Montepulciano with a touch of Sangiovese. Springtime in a glass.

Lamb & pea ragu – serves 6

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stick of celery, finely diced
  • 1 leek, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1 anchovy fillet, drained
  • a splash of white wine
  • 200g tomato passata
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 250ml full-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150g frozen peas
  • grated Parmesan
  • 500g casarecce, fusilli or other pasta

Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan over a high heat. Add the mince and fry until well browned. Season with salt and pepper and scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the carrot, celery and leek to the fat in the pan and cook gently for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chilli flakes, ground fennel seeds, and anchovy to the pan and cook for another minute.

Return the lamb to the pan and stir into the vegetables, then add the splash of wine and allow it to almost evaporate. Add the passata and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes more, until the sauce is quite thick.

Add the milk and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sauce is thick and creamy, then stir in the balsamic vinegar and peas and cook for a final 3 minutes. Season again to taste.

Meanwhile, cook the past is lots of very salty water. Drain and reserve a mug of cooking water. Combine the sauce and pasta and add a bit of pasta cooking water to moisten if you need.

Serve with lots of grated Parmesan.

(Original recipe by Jane Baxter in The Guardian)

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This roast is relatively simple because all the effort is at the start. Choose some handy sides, like some roasted carrots and potatoes which can cook while the meat rests.

Wine Suggestion: A classic match with Bordeaux, or similar from around the world. Tonight a very youthful Château Puygueraud, from the Côtes de Francs which we pulled from our cellar (under the bed) to check progress. Many years ahead of it, but tonight was a joy nonetheless.

Rolled leg of lamb with salsa verde stuffing – serves 4

  • 1.5kg leg of lamb, bone removed and butterflied (ask your butcher to do this for you)
  • 200ml white wine
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 cloves of garlic, bashed
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 50ml olive oil, plus 2 tbsp extra
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 400g broad beans, double podded (blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water and they will easily pop out of their skins)
  • a handful of watercress, to serve

FOR THE STUFFING:

  • a large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, including stalks
  • a small bunch of mint, leaves picked
  • 6 brown anchovies
  • 4 tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 long shallots, finely chopped
  • 25g panko breadcrumbs

Put the lamb, skin-side down, on a chopping board. Make slashes all over the meat with a sharp knife but be careful not to cut the whole way through. Season all over.

Transfer the lamb to a large sealable food bag or container, scored-side down. Pour over the wine, then add the rosemary, garlic, onion, bay and 50ml of olive oil. Seal the bag and massage the marinade into the meat. Chill for 24 hours but bring out of the fridge at least an hour before cooking.

Make the stuffing while the meat is coming up to room temperature.

Put the parsley, mint, anchovies and capers into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (you can also do this by hand), then tip into a bowl and stir in the lemon zest and juice, the vinegar and shallots. Season well. Spoon 3 tbsp of the salsa verde into a small bowl. Add the panko breadcrumbs to the larger bowl of salsa verde and stir 2 tbsp of olive oil into the smaller one – set the smaller one aside to serve later.

Take the lamb out of the marinade, then add about 50ml of the marinade to the large bowl of stuffing to soak into the breadcrumbs and bind the mixture (you might not need as much as 50ml). Keep any remaining marinade for later.

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

Pat the lamb dry with kitchen paper and lay on a chopping board, skin-side down. Spread the stuffing over the meat in an even layer. Start from one of the short sides and fold the meat over the stuffing, rolling and tucking it in to seal. Tie in about 6 places with kitchen string to hold it together. Transfer to a roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 1 hour – 1 hour and 20 minutes or until 60-65C on a meat thermometer for medium or 70C for well done. If you don’t have a meat thermometer insert a metal skewer into the centre and if it comes out hot, the meat is ready. Cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Put the reserved marinade into a saucepan with the stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Discard any rosemary, garlic, onion and bay, then add the broad beans and simmer for 4-6 minutes or until the stock has reduced. Transfer the beans and juice to a warm serving platter and serve along with the lamb, the reserved salsa verde and some watercress.

(Original recipe by Anna Glover in Olive Magazine, April 2022.)

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This takes a long time so the trick is to poach the chicken the day beforehand and store the torn chicken and stock separately in the fridge. Everything else is fairly easy to put together on the day. A feast!

Celebration Rice – serves 8

  • 1 small chicken, about 1.4kg
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 bulb of garlic, skin on and halved widthways
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 5g parsley leaves, roughly chopped

FOR THE RICE:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 300g lamb mince
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 400g basmati rice, washed, soaked in cold water for at least 1 hour and then drained

FOR THE GARLIC YOGHURT:

  • 500g Greek yoghurt
  • 2 clove of garlic, crushed

FOR THE GARNISH:

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 30g blanched almonds
  • 30g pine nuts
  • ¾ tsp Aleppo chilli flakes or ½ tsp regular chilli flakes
  • 4 tbsp pomegranate seeds

Put the chicken into a large saucepan with the cinnamon sticks, onion, garlic, 2 litres of water and 2 tsp of salt. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 70 minutes, or until cooked through. Lift the chicken out and tear into large bite-size chunks when cool enough to handle. Put the chicken into a bowl with the ground cumin and cinnamon and set aside. Strain the stock through a sieve and discard the solids. Measure out 850ml of the stock and keep warm (keep the rest for something else). If you are doing this part a day ahead you will need to reheat the stock and put the spices on the chicken when ready to cook.

For the rice, put the oil and half the butter into a large saucepan, and place on a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 7 minutes, stirring, until lightly golden. Add the lamb, garlic and spices and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, until the lamb has lost its pinkness. Add the rice, 700ml of the warm stock, 1 ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to sit, covered, for another 15 minutes. Add the remaining butter and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the yoghurt sauce by whisking the yoghurt, garlic, ¾ tsp of salt and the remaining 150ml of warm stock in a medium bowl.

Put 2 tbsp of oil in to a large sauté pan on a medim-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 minute, to warm through. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and parsley, then set aside.

Make the garnish by putting the butter into a small frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the almonds and cook for 3 minutes, stirring, until lightly coloured. Add the pine nuts and cook for another 2 minutes, until golden. Remove from the heat and add the chilli flakes.

Spread the rice over a large serving platter. Top with the chicken, then pour over half the garlic yoghurt. Finish with the nuts and butter, followed by the parsley leaves and pomegranate seeds. Serve the rest of the yoghurt alongside.

(Original recipe by Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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Our rather generous Burns Supper for two. We had a bumpy start that evening and didn’t get to enjoy this until all hours but it was worth the wait! Use a mandoline or food processor to slice the swede into very thin slices, otherwise they will take an age to cook. Serve with some nice greens on the side.

Wine Suggestion: Given that it was Burns night we poured a wee dram of Scotch Whisky from the Kilchoman distillery on Islay. Rich and smooth due to the sherry and bourbon casks with a fiery core of peaty smoke. Alongside the hotpot it was delicious and warmed our hearts. We’ll definitely remember this match for future hotpots.

Lamb hotpot with turnip topping – serves 6

  • 1kg best end of neck or diced stewing lamb, seasoned generously with salt and black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped into rough 2cm pieces
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500ml lamb stock
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 swede, peeled, quartered and very finely sliced (use a mandoline or a food processor if possible)
  • butter
  • parsely, chopped, to serve

Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and brown the lamb in batches, then transfer to a deep ovenproof frying pan with a lid.

Brown the onions in a little more oil, followed by the carrots and add these to the lamb. Tuck in the bay leaves.

Pour the lamb stock into the pan used to brown everything and slowly bring to the boil, use wooden spoon to release any sticky bits from the bottom of the pan. When the stock is nearly simmering, put the flour into a small bowl. Add a little of the warm stock and stir to make a smooth paste. Stir this paste into the simmering stock and keep stirring until boiling and starting to thicken. Add a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce, then pour over the lamb and vegetables.

Put the pan over the heat and allow to come to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 1½ hours. Remove the lid and carefully layer the sliced swede on top, seasoning as you go. Dot the top of the swede all over with little pieces of butter. Replace the lid and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the swede is completely tender. Brown the top under a hot grill, then sprinkle with parsley to serve.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, January 2014.)

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Tender lamb and a sauce rich with cumin and warm spices. Certainly not a combination we’re used to but one that works very well. Do remember to put the lamb in the marinade when you get home from work, don’t skimp on the butter, and don’t be tempted to use any cheese on the pasta, it is not required!

Wine Suggestion: warm, red and spicy; like a good Primitivo (Zinfandel), Monastrell (juicy Mourvedre) or Shiraz. Our choice tonight was Finca Bacara’s Crazy Grapes Monastrell from Jumilla in Spain; juicy, brambly and velvety tannins.

Lamb & Cumin Pasta – serves 4

  • 500g lamb leg steaks
  • 1 tbsp garlic granules
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 250g tagliatelle
  • 50g butter

Put the lamb between sheets of cling film and bash with a rolling pin to flatten. Thinly slice the lamb into strips about ½ cm thick and put them into a non-reactive bowl. Add the garlic granules, spices, olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar and plenty of seasoning and mix well. Cover the bowl and leave to marinate at room temperature for at least an hour.

Cook the pasta in lots of salty water, then drain but keep the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat a wok over a high heat. When hot, add the lamb and the marinade, cook until seared all over, this shouldnt take more than a few minutes, avoid stirring constantly to allow it to sear.

Remove the wok from the heat and add the butter. Check the seasoning, then add the cooked pasta with a little cooking water to loosen. Serve straightaway.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020.)

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We were initially attracted to this as it is marinated in Riesling, a favoured grape in our house, plus the unusual combination of three meats plus bacon. Classically country French in style, this has no airs or graces in appearance, but is jam packed full of flavour and richness. It serves loads of people and we’d suggest having a side of greens. Also, like many other long cooked stews this tastes great the following day and freezes well.

Wine Suggestion: Courtesy of a very generous friend who came to dinner, we were treated to a delightful comparison of two old bottles of Rene Rostaing’s Côte Rôtie: the La Landonne and Côte Blonde. Both an excellent match to the dish and lovely wines. The Côte Blond was the favoured bottle, but both showed very well. We’d recommend searching for a good Syrah if something of this calibre doesn’t come to hand. Thanks David for these bottles!

Alsatian beef, lamb and pork stew – serves 8-10

  • 750g boneless pork belly, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 750g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 750g chuck steak, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 250g carrots, sliced
  • 2 leeks, cut in half lengthways, washed and sliced
  • 500ml Sylvaner or Riesling white wine
  • 2 kg potatoes, sliced into 5mm thick rounds
  • 100g unsmoked bacon, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 250ml beef stock
  • a handful of flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped, to garnish

Place all of the meat (but not the bacon), onions, carrots and leeks in a large non-metallic bowl and pour over the wine. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

Heat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C.

Arrange a quarter of the sliced potatoes over the base of a very large casserole dish.

Drain the meat and veg in a colander over a bowl and reserve the liquid.

Scatter some veg over the potatoes, then add som bacon pieces and chunks of meat. Season with salt and black pepper, then add another layer of potato, more veg, bacon, meat and seasoning. Keep layering like this and finsih with a final layer of potatoes. Don’t be tempted to hold back on the salt as the dish needs liberal seasoning (about 2tsp in total).

Pour over the reserved marinade juices and beef stock, then cover the casserole with a tight lid and put in the oven.

Bake for about 3 hours or until the meat is tender. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Secret France, BBC Books, 2019.)

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We’ve been cooking from a new book, Camper Van Cooking by Claire Thompson and Matt Williamson. Every summer we’re usually off camping in a tent in France but not this year unfortunately. Still, we’ve had some amazing Irish sunshine so we’re making a big effort to cook and eat outside as much as possible. These chops were lovely with some flatbreads warmed on the barbecue alongside a herby couscous, and a tomato and cucumber salad.

Wine Suggestion: A barbecue Cotes du Rhone red comes to the rescue here; medium weight with gentle, warming spices. Jean-Paul Daumen’s version in the glass tonight and we can almost picture us sipping this in France.

Lamb Chops with Cumin and Sumac with Tahini Sauce – serves 4

  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp chill flakes/aleppo chilli flakes/urfa chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 lamb cutlets
  • ½ lemon

FOR THE TAHINI SAUCE:

  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a little salt
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • juice of ½ lemon

Mix the garlic, cumin, chilli flakes and half the sumac with the oil in a bowl. Season the chops with salt and pepper, then rub them all over with the spicy oil and put them in the fridge. You need to leave them for at least half an hour or longer if you can. Bring them back to room temperature before cooking.

To make the sauce, put the garlic and tahini in a bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and a splash of cold water, you want a smooth sauce with the consistency of double cream. Season to taste.

Heat a barbecue until very hot and cook the chops for a few minutes on each side or until nicely charred on the outside and however you like them in the middle. Grill the lemon half at the same time. Allow the chops to rest off the heat for a few minutes, then serve drizzled with the tahini and sprinkled with the rest of the sumac and a good squeeze of the barbecued lemon.

(Original crecipe from Camper Van Cooking by Claire Thompson & Matt Williamson,

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This is a classic for a reason and you really shouldn’t wait until St Patrick’s day to make it; although for some reason that’s what we do every year. It’s a meal in a bowl but if you want to go all out you can serve it with colcannon and turnip mash with bacon and onions. Beware… we kept on taking seconds … and thirds…

Wine Suggestion: The Irish have a great affinity with Spanish wine, so we picked a Mencia from Bierzo, the Dominio de Tares “Baltos” which was full of flavour as well as vibrantly fresh with resolved and mildly spice tannins.

Irish Stew – serves 6 to 8

  • 900g boneless lamb neck or shoulder, trimmed and cut into cubes
  • 900ml lamb or chicken stock, home-made preferably
  • 50g pearl barley, washed
  • 225g potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 225g carrots, thickly sliced
  • 225g leeks, well trimmed and thickly sliced
  • 225g pearl onions, peeled (if you can’t get these you can use halved shallots)
  • 100g smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley to garnish

Put the lamb pieces into a large flameproof casserole and pour over the stock.

Bring to the boil, then skim off any scum from the surface and stir in the barley. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 50 minutes, until slightly reduced and the lamb should be almost tender.

Add the potatoes, carrots, leeks, pearl onions, smoked bacon and thyme and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lamb and vegetables are completely tender but not falling apart. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Scatter the parsley over the top and serve.

(Original recipe from Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook, Gill Books, 2016.)

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Who knew this was a thing? The ragu is made from whole lamb neck fillets which are cooked in a low oven for many hours and then shredded into the sauce. The result is absolutely delicious and much less laborious than our traditional version. You can make the lamb layer well in advance and keep it in the fridge or freezer until needed.

Wine Suggestion: to match the rich lamb and cheese we opened a Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas from the Douro. We’d kept this a few years from release and the layers of gentle spices had grown, the tannins softened to a back note, and the fruit had somehow got richer without adding any weight. A beautiful wine and an equitable accompaniment to a dish like this.

Braised lamb lasagne – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • lamb neck fillets, about 400g in total
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 500g carton passata
  • 500ml full-fat milk
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 70g Parmesan, grated
  • 6 lasagne sheets
  • 2 mozzarella balls, torn into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • dressed salad and garlic bread to serve

Heat the oven to 130C/110C fan/gas 1.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole, season the lamb generously, then fry until well browned all over, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for another minute, then pour over the passata. Rinse out the carton with a splash of water and add this too. Season again, then cover tightly with foil, followed by the lid. Cook in the oven for at least 3½ or up to 4 hours by which time is should be very easy to shred. Leave it to cool a bit, then use a couple of forks to shred the lamb into the sauce.

Heat the milk in a saucepan until just simmering. Melt the butter in another saucepan, then stir in the flour to form a paste. Gradually whisk in the hot milk until you have a smooth glossy sauce. Stir in half the Parmesan and season.

Meanwhile, soak the lasagne sheets in just-boiled water to soften, then drain.

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Spread a thin layer of lamb sauce on the bottom of a small lasagne dish (it should fit two lasagne sheets without overlapping). Top with two lasagne sheets, then cover with a third of the béchamel and a third of the mozzarella. Add half of the remaining lamb sauce, then top this with 2 lasagne sheets and another third of the béchamel and mozzarella. Repeat once more, then sprinkle over the rest of the Parmesan and the panko breadcrumbs.

Bake for 35 minutes, then turn the oven up to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Bake for another 10 minutes to brown the top, then leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This was our last feast of 2020, the year that we cooked more than any other. It helped us to have a shared interest and something to entertain us in the evenings when we couldn’t do anything else. We miss sharing our food with friends and family but we’re hoping it will return before too long. We served this with Muhammara (a roasted red pepper and walnut dip), sumac yoghurt (see below) and a rice dish. You need to start a day ahead and in fact it works well if you cook the whole thing in advance and reheat to serve. 

Wine Suggestion: A gem of a discovery in 2020 after reading an article by Jancis Robinson was the Thymiopoulos, Jeunes Vignes de Xinomavro. A vibrant and exciting red from Náoussa in Greece this grape we’ll be exploring more as we found it had elegance, hints of Mediterranean sunshine and gentle, middle eastern spices.

Pulled lamb shawarma – serves 8

  • 3 onions, 1 roughly chopped and the other 2 cut into wedges
  • 2 heads of garlic, 1 cut in half horizontally, and 8 cloves from the other roughly chopped
  • 25g piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 20g parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1½ tbsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 2-2.5kg lamb shoulder, on the bone
  • 700ml chicken stock
  • ½ a lemon
  • salt and black pepper

FOR THE SUMAC YOGHURT:

  • 200g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 60g tahini
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp sumac

Make the spice paste by putting the chopped onion into a food processor with the chopped garlic and ginger. Pulse until finely minced, then add the parsley and spices. Pulse for another few seconds, until just combined. Scrape down the sides, then add the vinegar, oil, 2¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Pulse again to form a coarse paste, then transfer to a non-metallic container that can hold the lamb. 

Pat the lamb dry and pierce all over with a small, sharp knife. Put the lamb into the dish with the spice paste and coat generously in the mixture, so that it is covered on all sides. Cover with foil and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight. 

Take the lamb out of the fridge an hour before you start cooking so it comes to room temperature. 

Preheat the oven to 140C fan. 

Put the onion wedges and the halved garlic bulb into the centre of a large roasting tray and pour over the chicken stock. Sit the lamb on top of the veg, then cover tightly with foil and bake for 4 hours. Remove from the oven, discard the foil and continue to bake for another 90 minutes, increasing the temperature to 160C for the last 30 minutes. The lamb should be very soft and come away easily from the bone. Leave to cool for about 15 minutes, then shred the lamb directly into the pan juices. Transfer the lamb with the pan juices, onions and garlic cloves to a large serving bowl and squeeze over the lemon juice.

To make the sumac yoghurt, put the yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice, 2 tbsp water, the sumac and ¼ tsp of salt into a bowl and whisk well to combine.

Serve the lamb with the yoghurt alongside. We served with a rice dish and a dip but you can also serve with pitta breads, sliced tomatoes, red onions and herbs – a lamb shawarma sandwich.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, Ebury Press, 2020.) 

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Turmeric & black pepper braised lamb

This is a whole plateful of deliciousness form Sabrina Ghayour’s new book, Simply. We have loved all of her books but we’ve already cooked more out of this one than any of the others. The recipes are simple but truly delicious. This is great just served with rice.

Wine Suggestion: this dish really suits a velvety, medium bodied red with a few warm spices on the nose: Rioja, or similar made from Tempranillo makes a fine candidate. If you can find a good one and cellar it for a number of years (or be lucky enough to find one in a wine shop with age) then you’ve got your match. A hidden gem that always surprises in it’s value is the Dehesa la Granja from Castilla in Spain. The winemaker usually releases what they consider a Crianza at between 7 to 9 years of age .. and it’s a bargain.

Turmeric & black pepper braised lamb neck – serves 4-6

  • veg oil, for frying
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 4 big cloves of garlic, bashed and finely sliced
  • 800g lamb neck fillets, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 heaped tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 heaped tsp Maldon sea salt flakes, crushed

Put a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and pour in vegetable oil to coat the base. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until softened, but not coloured, then add the garlic and cook for another few minutes.

Add the lamb, turmeric and pepper and stir to coat. Make sure the meat is sealed on all sides but you don’t need to brown it.

Add the salt, then pour in boiling water to just cover everything. Put a lid on the pan and cook over a low heat for 2½ hours. Stir occasionally and add more water to keep it barely covered if needed. You want the sauce to thicken and reduce by the end. 30 minutes before the end, taste and season with  more salt if needed.

Serve with rice.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020.)

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Lamb & Mint Samosas

Once you’ve got the hang of making samosas you can do batches and freeze them. Bring them out when friends come around, brush melted butter on and bake … easy. Here you can see a Beetroot & Feta version on the left and Lamb & Mint on the right. We’ve decorated them with different seeds to help tell the difference. Our guests went home wanting to make them for themselves – and they promptly did. No better indorsement we think.

Lamb & Mint Samosas – makes 18-24

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 2 x 270g packs of filo pastry
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • onion seeds (nigella seeds) or sesame seed to garnish, to garnish

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the cumin seeds and fry for a minute. Add the onions and fry for 8-10 minutes, or until golden, then add the garlic and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the lamb mince and break up with a wooden spoon. Fry for 8-10 minutes, then add the cumin, coriander, garam masala, ginger, chilli & salt.

Continue to cook the the mince until starting to brown, then tip into a dish to cool. Add the mint just before you make the samosas.

Lay a sheet of the filo pastry out with the long side towards you (cover the rest of the filo with a damp tea towel). Brush the left hand side of the pastry sheet lightly with the melted butter. Fold the right hand side of the sheet over the left so you have a double layer of pastry. Cut the pastry into 3 long strips with a sharp knife.

Place a heaped tbsp of the lamb mixture at the bottom of a pastry strip, then fold the bottom right hand corner up over the filling to make a small triangle. Flip the triangle over as you move up the pastry strip, the filling will eventually be sealed inside. When you get to the end, brush the end of the pastry strip with a little melted butter and press to seal.

Continue like this until all of the lamb mixture has been used, you might not need all of the filo pastry.

If you want to freeze the samosas at this stage you can set them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, then place in tray in the freezer. When the samosas are frozen you can transfer them to a bag.

If you want to cook the freshly made samosas, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/gas 6. Brush the samosas on both sides with melted butter and sprinkle a few onion seeds or sesame seeds over the top. Put onto a lightly greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

To cook from frozen. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/gas 6. Brush both sides with melted butter, sprinkle a few onion or sesame seeds over the top, and put onto a lightly greased baking tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp and golden.

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

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Lamb kebabs with cumin & coriander

Delicious Indian kebabs cooked over charcoal. We’ve had an Indian theme going on all week at our house. Serve these with raita and naan breads.

Wine Suggestion: a juicy, easy red with an open texture and something with Syrah/Shiraz and or Grenache strikes a good balance with spices that match the smokey, warmly spiced kebabs. Tonight was the Secateurs Red, a Cinsault Shiraz Grenache blend from Swartland which we’ve not had for a while and I’m not sure why, it was delicious.

Lamb kebabs with cumin & coriander – serves 4

  • 600g lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3½ cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • zest of a lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Bash the garlic and ginger in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt to make a paste.

In another bowl mix the oil with the ginger and garlic paste, the spices, 1 tsp of salt and the lemon zest and juice. Pour this marinade over the lamb and mix well.

Thread the lamb onto skewers and barbecue for about 10-12 minutes. Rest for a few minutes before serving.

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

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BBQ Lamb with Courgettes, Mangetout & Feta Salad

We love this time of year when all the local produce arrives in dribs and drabs. Last week our local farm shop had little courgettes and mangetout – the excitement!

Wine Suggestion: a lighter, youthful red with medium, dry tannins and freshness for the lamb. A young Sangiovese from a good vineyard or good cru Beaujolais come to mind straight away.

BBQ lamb with courgettes, mangetout & feta salad – serves 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 4 small lamb chops or cutlets
  • 2 small courgettes, sliced into rounds, about 1cm thick
  • 200g mangetout
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • small handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • small handful basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 25g feta, crumbled

Season the lamb chops all over with black pepper and fine sea salt. Mix a tbsp of the olive oil with the chopped thyme and brush over the lamb.

Heat the barbecue and cook the chops for a few minutes on each side, we don’t mind them rare in the middle but we like them to be well-seared and crispy on the outside. Remove to a plate, and leave to rest, covered in foil.

Brush the courgette with a little oil and season. Cook these on the barbecue (if you have a griddle pan you can set it on the barbecue and cook them on this so they don’t fall through the bars). You might need a couple of batches.

Meanwhile, cook the mangetout for a couple of minutes in boiling salty water, then drain and tip into a large bowl with the courgettes.

Mix the vinegar, mustard, chilli flakes, mint & basil together to make a dressing. Toss the veg in the dressing and crumble over the feta to serve. Pile onto plates with the lamb chops.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Lamb Chops with Minty Broad Beans

Our beloved broad beans, one of our absolute favourite vegetables, and they work perfectly with lamb and mint. Double podding seems like a bit of a faff but it’s definitely one of Jules’ favourite kitchen jobs, even better outside in the sunshine.

Wine Suggestion: Domaine Brusset’s Cotes du Rhone Red; mid-weight, open and friendly fruit and gentle spices. The Brusset’s are a lovely family and we’ve not tasted anything from them for a long time so we’re glad to see they’re even better than we remember. We’ll definitely get a few more bottles for the cellar.

Lamb chops with smashed minty broad beans – serves 4

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • a small red chilli
  • 8 small lamb chops

FOR THE BROAD BEANS:

  • 300g podded and skinned broad beans (1.2kg unpodded)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • a handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped

Mix the garlic, lemon and chilli with a splash of olive oil. Put the lamb chops in a dish and pour over the marinade. Cover and marinade for an hour in the fridge. Remove about half an hour before you want to cook them though so they come to room temperature.

Put the broad beans in a processor with half the olive oil, plenty of seasoning and the lemon juice. Whizz to a chunky purée, then tip into a small saucepan.

Cook the lamb on a hot barbecue for a few minutes on each side. Meanwhile, gently heat the broad beans, then stir in the mint and the rest of the olive oil. Check the seasoning, then serve the lamb with the broad beans on the side.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Lamb Siniya

This is a bit like a Middle-Eastern shepherd’s pie but lighter and spicier. It’s also very quick and easy to make. Serve with pickled chillies, a tomato salad and some flatbreads if you like (we had pickled chillies alone and it was perfect). We can’t recommend the books by Honey & Co highly enough, everything works.

Wine Suggestion: Another lockdown cellar raid unearthed our last bottle of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005 from the famed La Crau vineyard. At a very good point in its develeopment with beautiful, pure red fruits and layers of subtle spicing. Lots of power still but with so much elegance and refinement.

If you don’t have this wine to hand we most successfully match middle eastern dishes containing warm spices with southern Rhône and other Grenache dominant Mediterranean reds.

Lamb siniya – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 small cauliflower, broken into florets

FOR THE LAMB:

  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp baharat spice mix
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 200g natural yoghurt
  • 200g tahini paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts

1 tbsp chopped parsley, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Put the cauliflower into a large saucepan, add about a litre of water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until soft. Drain and spread over the base of a shallow casserole dish (about 22cm).

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions with half a teaspoon of salt until starting to turn golden. Add the lamb mince, turn the heat up to hight and break it up with a wooden spoon. When the lamb starts to brown, sprinkle over the ground fennel and baharat spice and continue to cook for another few minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and cook, stirring, for another few minutes, then spread over the cauliflower. You can do up to this stage a day in advance if you like.

Mix all the ingredients together for the topping, except the pine nuts. If the mixture is very thick you can add a tablespoon or two of water to loosen it slightly – it should be like thick yoghurt. Spread the topping over the cauliflower and lamb, then sprinkle the pine nuts over the top. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes or until set and slightly golden. Sprinkle with the parsley to serve.

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

 

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