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Archive for the ‘Lamb’ Category

Middle Eastern Shepherd's Pie with Spiced Parsnip Crust

Diana Henry’s book, Food from Plenty, is great for recipes that use leftovers. For this one we used a large amount of leftover lamb shoulder that had been roasted for hours on the bone in a spicy marinade. The leftover lamb was tasty as it was but was totally transformed in this recipe – super spicy and delicious! Don’t be tempted to skip the spicy onion topping.

Wine Suggestion: a medium bodied, juicy and youthful red with not too many tannins. Luigi Pira’s Barbera d’Alba was perfect, as was a quirky, earthy Poulsard from Stephane Tissot from the Arbois in eastern France … we had a few people over, so could try a few different wines which was fun.

Middle Eastern shepherd’s pie with spiced parsnip crust – serves 6

FOR THE MEAT:

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 800g leftover cooked lamb, cut into small chunks
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 300ml chicken stock or lamb stock
  • grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 75g raisins, soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes and drained
  • 6 tbsp tomato purée
  • 75g pine nuts, toasted

FOR THE PARSNIP CRUST:

  • 450g floury potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 950g parsnips, chopped
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper (this will make a very spicy mash so use less if you like)
  • 50ml whipping cream

FOR THE SPICED ONION TOPPING:

  • 2 onions, very finely sliced
  • 15g butter
  • 1½ tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 3 tsp soft dark brown sugar
  • good squeeze of lemon juice
  • a small bunch of coriander or mint, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a large casserole and brown the lamb, then scoop the lamb out and set aside.

Add the onions, celery and carrots to the same pan and cook until golden. Add the garlic and spices and continue to cook for another minute. Return the lamb to the pan and add the flour. Stir for a minute, then add the stock, zest, juice, raisins and tomato purée. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 45 minutes. You will need to keep stirring now and then to prevent the mixture from sticking. It should be thick but if it looks dry add a little more stock. Add the pine nuts.

Boil the potatoes and parsnips separately until soft. Drain the potatoes, then cover with a tea towel and  lid and allow to dry out over a low heat. Drain the parsnips and add to the potatoes. Heat the butter for the crust in a large saucepan with the spices. Add the potatoes and parsnips and mash, then add the cream and season to taste.

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

Spoon the lamb into a large pie dish, spread the mash on top and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

Meanwhile, fry the onions for the topping in the butter and oil until golden. Turn up the heat and keep cooking until starting to crisp. Add the cinnamon, chilli, salt, some salt & pepper, and sugar. Cook until slightly caramelised, then squeeze over the lemon juice and mix in the herbs. Pile the onions on top of the pie to serve.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2011.)

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Chilli and Garlic Kebab - Kabab Khashkhash

We’ve had The Aleppo Cookbook for ages and for some reason haven’t cooked too much out of it. It’s really dense with recipes and not so many photos – not that photos are essential, but they’re definitely helpful when flicking for inspiration. Anyhow, we took this book out a few weeks ago, determined to cook something, and chose these little kebabs for the barbecue. They were stunning! We served with spicy roast potatoes and salad but they would also be great as a starter with some sort of yoghurty dip.

Wine Suggestion: we love how these go so well with a good Tempranillo, a grape that flatters lamb and with a deft touch in the winery gives wonderful, complementary spices that work superbly with the warm spices of the Levant. For a bit of sophisticated elegance we had a glass of the Cantos de Valpiedra Rioja which is silky, smooth and refined.

Chilli and garlic kebab – Kabab Khashkhash – makes 10 skewers

  • 450g lamb mince
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1-2 hot red chillies, seeds removed and chopped
  • 15g finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp Aleppo pepper or paprika (do try and find Aleppo pepper)
  • 1 tbsp Aleppo spice mix or seven-spice powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp salt, or to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well – hands are good for this. Transfer to a clean surface and knead for 30 seconds as you would bread dough.

Moisten your hands with water, then divide the meat into 10 prune-sized portions and form into balls.

Insert a wide, flat metal skewer through the middle of each meatball; then form the meat around the skewer to a length of about 14cm (similar to the picture above). Suspend the finished kebab over a deep baking dish resting the skewers on the sides.

Preheat a barbecue (preferably charcoal)and grill the kebabs until cooked how you like them.

(Original recipe from The Aleppo Cookbook by Marlene Matar, Head of Zeus, 2017.)

Chilli and Garlic Kebab

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Braised Lamb with Spring VegetablesA great dish for when you want to eat spring food but it’s chilly outside. Leftovers taste great the next day too. Serve with new potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: This works superbly with Syrah and if you’d like to taste something different then the Insolgio del Cinghiale from Tenuta Biserno which is a Syrah, Cabernet Franc blend from the Maremma in Italy is well worth finding. A wine that shows a new side to Syrah and that Italy also has some superb sites for this grape, especially in a blend.

Braised lamb with spring vegetables – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 600g lamb neck fillet, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 3cm pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 baby leeks, sliced
  • 4 shallots, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 700ml lamb stock or chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 150g Chantenay carrots, halved lengthways if large
  • 100g fine green beans, halved
  • 150g fresh or frozen peas
  • 150g fresh or frozen broad beans
  • new potatoes, to serve

Put the flour into a large freezer bag and season well with salt and pepper. Add the lamb pieces to the bag and shake to coat in the flour. Tip the lamb out into a sieve to get rid of excess flour.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Brown the meat in batches, then remove with a slotted spoon onto some kitchen paper.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the casserole and add the leeks, shallots, and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes.

Return the meat to the casserole and add the stock, bay leaf, rosemary, and lemon zest. Season well and bring to a simmer, skim off any scum, then cover and simmer gently for 1½ hours.

Add the carrots, return to the boil, then simmer gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce. Add the green bean, peas, and baby broad beans. Return to the boil and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Remove the rosemary and bay leaf and serve with new potatoes.

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

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Lamb Ragoût

Lamb ragoût with fresh pasta

This lamb ragoût really reminds of holidays in Italy. Really simple but with a great concentrated flavour. No doubt it would be fab with some freshly made pappardelle, but dried was all we could muster on this occasion.

Wine Suggestion: While a red is often the first thought when matching a Ragoût, an oaked white would also work just as well with this dish. The Zuani Riserva from Collio in north eastern Italy would be a good choice. Delicately toasty with vanilla and touch of tropical fruit and some creamy, ripe stone-fruits. Broad and rich, creamy, thick fruit texture, peach and yellow plum with a long and gently spicy finish.

However if you feel like red, like Jules did tonight, then an elegant Sangiovese makes a good option and the Selvapiana Bucerchiale Chianti Rufina is a favourite of ours. Always superb.

Lamb Ragoût – serves 4 to 6

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1kg lamb shoulder, cut into small dice
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 125ml white wine
  • 500ml lamb stock
  • fresh or dried pappardelle pasta
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

Heat the oil in a large casserole dish, add the onions, celery and carrot and sweat until translucent. Add the garlic, baby leaves and thyme. Add the lamb and season well with salt and pepper, sweat, then add the tomato purée.

Cook for a few minutes, then deglaze with the wine. Add the lamb stock and simmer for 3 hours, covered, until reduced – add more stock or water if it becomes too dry.

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and stir into the ragoût with the parsley and Parmesan.

(Original recipe from The Skills by Monica Galetti, Quadrille, 2016.)

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Spiced Lamb Hotpot

We love this spiced hotpot from Sabrina Ghayour’s fabulous book, Feasts. All the work is done at the start, and isn’t particularly onerous, so it’s a great dish for guests and the house smells good when they arrive. We served with big dishes of cauliflower cheese and greens.

Wine suggestion: You need a red with some guts to stand up to these flavours, but don’t go OTT as it also requires subtlety and finess too. Our friend Miriam had found a 9 yo Bordeaux made from 100% merlot in her cellar and we’re glad she shared it with us.

Spiced Lamb Hotpot – serves 4-6

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 6 cardamom pods, lightly cracked
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 900g diced leg of lamb
  • 1 large garlic bulb, cloves peeled and left whole
  • 8 shallots, peeled and left whole
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml chicken, lamb or vegetable stock
  • 700-750g red potatoes, unpeeled, thinly sliced – a mandolin is good for this
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • sprinkling of thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/Gas 3½.

Heat a large flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cardamom pods to the hot pan and dry-toast for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they smell aromatic.

Pour in oil to coat the base of the pan. When the oil is heated, add the onions and fry for 6-8 minutes, or until softened and starting to brown at the edges. Add the meat and cook for a few minutes, stirring to coat in the cumin seeds. Add the garlic cloves, shallots and carrots and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the ground cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, mustard powder and flour. Season with salt and pepper and mix well before adding the stock.

Arrange the potato slices on top of the meat, slightly overlapping them. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle with the thyme and season again. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven for 1½ hours.

Remove the hotpot from the oven and take off the lid. Turn the oven up to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7.

Put the casserole back into the oven and cook for another 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown.

(Original recipe from Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2017.)

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Mughlai Lamb with Turnips - Shabdeg

Our local supermarket has perfect sweet turnips with purple and white skin and green tops so when flicking through Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking we just couldn’t go past this unusual lamb curry. The cooking method goes against many of our instincts but, not wanting to mess with Madhur Jaffrey, we followed the instructions to the letter and the result was amazing! Great with steamed rice or serve with Mushroom Pullao, Spicy Green Beans and Yoghurt with Walnuts and Coriander for a fabulous Indian feast.

Wine Suggestion: We like many struggle to match Indian food with wine. Tonight we had a clean lager which fitted the bill for us, though some more adventurous beers would be good too.

Mughlai Lamb with Turnips  (Shabdeg) – serves 6

  • 10 small turnips, weighing 750g when the leaves and stems have been removed (halve the turnips if they are larger)
  • 5 medium onions, peeled
  • 8 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1kg stewing lamb shoulder cut into 4cm cubes (include some bones if you have them)
  • 285ml plain yoghurt
  • 2.5 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2.25 litres water
  • ½ tsp garam masala

Peel the turnips and prick them all over with a fork. Put them in a bowl and rub with ¾ tsp of salt, then set aside for 1½-2 hours.

Cut the onions in half, lengthwise, and then across into very thin slices.

Heat the oil in a large, wide, and preferably non-stick pot over a medium-high heat. When hot, stir and fry the onions for about 12 minutes or until they are reddish brown in colour (this took longer than 12 minutes on our hob). Remove the onions with a slotted spoon, squeezing out and leaving behind as much oil as you can. Spread the onions out on a plate.

Add the meat, yoghurt, ginger and 1 tsp of salt to the pot. Stir and bring to a boil, then turn the heat up to high. You should have lots of fairly thin sauce. Cook on a high heat, stirring now and then, for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is fairly thick and you just begin to see the oil (be patient as we cooked for more like 20 minutes to get to this point). Turn the heat down to medium-high and keep stirring and frying for another 5-7 minutes or until the meat is lightly brown and the sauce has disappeared. Turn the heat to medium-low, then add the turmeric, cayenne, and coriander. Stir for a minute.

Add the water and 1tsp of salt. Drain the turnips and add them to the pot. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until you have less than a third of the liquid left (this stage took closer to an hour for us). Stir the pot occasionally as it cooks.

Return the browned onions to the pan and add the garam masala. Stir gently to mix and turn the heat to low. Cook gently, uncovered, for another 10 minutes. Stir it now and then but be careful not to break up the turnips.

Spoon off the fat that floats to the top and serve hot with rice and other Indian dishes (see above).

(Original recipe from Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey, Baron’s Educational Series, 2002.)

 

 

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Crispy Chickpeas & Lamb with greens and garlic yoghurt

We made this Alison Roman dish because we had Rainbow Chard kindly given to us and as often happens, we discovered a gem. Crispy lamb and chickpeas – a divine combination!

Wine Suggestion: we think this goes with more serious Gamay: one of the Beaujolais Cru’s, like Moulin au Vent, Brouilly or Morgon. It needs good fruit, depth to the tannins, earthiness and freshness, without crunchy acidity.

Crispy chickpeas and lamb with greens & garlicky yoghurt – serves 4

FOR THE GARLICKY YOGHURT:

  • 240ml full-fat or 2% Greek yoghurt
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

FOR THE CHICKPEAS & LAMB:

  • 1 large or 2 small bunches of Swiss chard or kale
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 350g lamb mince
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Tomatoes, quartered – to serve

To make the garlic yoghurt combine the yoghurt, garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl and season with salt and black pepper.

Separate the leaves and stems from the greens, then slice the stems and roughly tear the leaves.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the lamb, garlic and cumin and season with salt and black pepper.

Break up the lamb as it cooks until brown and crispy – about 8-10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the lamb to a bowl.

Add the rest of the oil, the chickpeas and red pepper flakes to the frying pan and season. Cook until the chickpeas are well browned and starting to crisp up – about 8-10 minutes. Return the lamb to the pan and toss together. Transfer to a large serving dish.

Add the chopped stems to the frying pan with some seasoning. Cook for a couple of minutes to soften slightly, then add the leaves and toss until wilted – about 30 seconds. Season again if needed.

Smear the yoghurt over the bottom of plates or bowls and top with the chickpeas and lamb, the sautéed greens and the tomatoes.

(Original recipe from Dining In by Alison Roman, Clarkson Potter, 2017.)

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Lamb & saffron tagine

We tend to avoid hot dishes like this in the summer time which is a bit silly really as they eat tagine all year round in Morocco which is usually hotter than Dublin whatever the time of year. Marinate the lamb up to 48 hours in advance, if you can, to maximise the flavour. Serve with herby couscous or bread.

Wine Suggestion: It was a hot day when we made this dish so we took inspiration from Spanish winemakers and chilled a red wine for 30 minutes and were delighted we did. Our choice was Massaya’s le Colombier from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon, a wine we find naturally pairs with Middle Eastern, North African and Spanish cuisine effortlessly. This is a winery really on the up and we think each new vintage is better than the last.

Lamb & Saffron Tagine – serves 6

  • 1.8kg diced neck or shoulder of lamb
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 800ml passata or tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp saffron strands, soaked in 1 tbsp of warm water
  • 200g dried dates, halved
  • 100g golden sultanas
  • 75g chopped pistachios

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl, then add the lamb and mix until coated. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight or for up to 48 hours.

Heat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.

Put a large casserole over a medium heat with 1 tbsp of oil. Sauté the onions for about 10 minutes or until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and ginger for the last 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan and put over a high heat. Add the lamb and brown all over.

Pour half of the stock into the lamb pan to deglaze then transfer everything to the casserole with the onions.

Add the passata or tomatoes, the rest of the stock, saffron and soaking liquid, dates, sultanas and most of the pistachios. Season with salt and black pepper.

Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 2-2½ hours until the meat is very tender and the sauce thickened. Serve sprinkled with chopped mint and the rest of the pistachios.

(Original recipe from ‘Marcus at Home’ by Marcus Wareing, HarperCollins, 2016.)

 

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Spiced Shepherd's Pie with Parsnip Mash

There’s definitely a move away from comfort food in our house but a bunch of fine looking Irish parsnips were just too hard to resist and why not enjoy them for a while longer.

Wine Suggestion: we opened the Cline Lodi Zinfandel from California and it was delicious with this.

Spiced Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip Mash – serves 4

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 good tsp of plain flour
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400ml lamb or chicken stock

FOR THE MASH:

  • 1kg parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • butter
  • cream/crème fraîche

Put the parsnips in large pot and cover with cold water, season with salt and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until very tender. Drain well and mash with plenty of butter, a splash of cream and seasoning.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and cook the onion, celery and carrot with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes or until softened. Turn up the heat then add the lamb and cook until browned. Add the spices and continue to cook for another minute, then stir in the flour and cook for a minute more.

Stir in the tomato purée and stock then simmer for about 15 minutes until thickened.

Heat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Tip the lamb into a baking dish and top with the parsnip mash. Use a fork to mark the top and dot with a little more butter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned and bubbling.

(Original recipe by Janine Radcliffe IN: BBC Olive Magazine, May 2014)

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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

FOR THE KOFTA:

  • 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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Moussaka

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
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • a large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 40g grated Parmesan cheese

FOR THE BÉCHAMEL SAUCE

  • 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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Three hour shoulder of lamb

A delicious summer roast with meltingly tender lamb and so simple to prepare. Serve with a fresh mint sauce and some steamed new potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: We tried two wines with great success: the Rustenberg Chardonnay from South Africa, and the Chateau du Hureau “Fevettes” Saumur-Champigny. Both had the needed structure, or bones, to stand up to the rich lamb, but also played a delightful fresh mid-weight tune with the summer veg.

Three hour shoulder of lamb – serves 4

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp oregano, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shoulder of lamb, boned and tied, approx 1½ kg
  • 400g pearl onions or shallots
  • 250ml lamb stock
  • 100g fresh/frozen peas
  • 100g fresh/frozen broad beans
  • 2 Little Gem lettuces, cut into quarters
  • juice 1 lemon
  • small handful mint or coriander, roughly chopped

Preheat your oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1.

Mix the garlic, oregano and olive oil with some salt and pepper. Make cuts all over the the lamb with a sharp knife and rub the mixture into the meat. Put into a deep casserole dish with the onions and pour over the stock, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook 3 hrs.

Remove the lamb from the pot and stir through the peas and broad beans. Sit the lamb back on top of the vegetables and return to the oven. Increase temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and roast, uncovered, for another 20-30 mins until the lamb is browned, adding the lettuce for the final 5 mins. Allow to rest for 20 mins, then add the lemon juice and mint to the cooking juices. Carve into thick slices and lay them back on top of the veg to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Lamb shoulder kebabs

These lamb kebabs from The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan are fabulous cooked over hot coals. Ask your butcher for lamb neck, it’s cheap and really tasty. Good served with saffron rice, herby salad and yoghurt with cucumber and mint. They were also good stuffed into some warm flatbreads with a radish and broad bean salad (see pic below).

Wine Suggestion: We chose the Poggio ai Ginepri which is a Cabernet, Syrah & Merlot blend from Bolgheri in Tuscany. The classic Bordeaux blend with the infusion of Syrah creates a balance of power and juiciness that works with the BBQ smokiness and the moist lamb with a good earthy spice that compliments the herbs and spices in the marinade.

Dr Asaf’s Juicy Lamb Kebabs – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 small onion, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp sumac, plus extra to garnish
  • a generous pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 800g lamb neck fillet, cut into 2.5 cubes
  • 4 tomatoes, halved

Mix the yoghurt, onion, garlic, oregano, oil, sumac, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Stir in the lamb pieces until well coated then cover with cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Don’t skip this as it will make the meat nice and tender.

Preheat the barbecue. Thread the lamb onto metal or wooden skewers (wooden ones need to be soaked for about 20 minutes before using). Cook the lamb kebabs and the tomato halves on the barbecue for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through.

Rest the meat for a few minutes and sprinkle with some more sumac before serving.

(Original recipe from The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

Lamb kebabs with radish salad

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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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