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Posts Tagged ‘Lamb’

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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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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Spring Lamb Meatballs with Broad Beans & Courgettes

Totally different flavours going on in this meatball recipe from Honey & Co at Home,  but deliciously tasty. Such a good use for broad beans and anything full of dill is always a hit with us.

Wine Suggestion: try to find a fresh Mediterranean inspired white with a bit of zip. Tonight a Carricante from Gulfi on the southern slopes of Mt Etna in Sicily; a mineral undertone, hints of herbs, fresh grapefruit and almonds. We could almost taste the sunshine.

Spring lamb meatballs with broad beans and courgettes – serves 4

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g lamb mince
  • 250g beef mince
  • 1 tbsp of ground fenugreek
  • 1 tbsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • about 10g of dill, chopped
  • about 10g of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • ½ tsp baking powder

FOR THE COOKING LIQUID:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large leek,  trimmed and roughly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 courgettes, diced
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 200g broad beans (we used frozen broad beans)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • about 10g of dill, chopped
  • about 10g of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

Mix all of the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Hands are good for this but you might want to wear gloves to avoid yellow nails. Shape into ping-ball sized meatballs, you should get 12-14. Put the meatballs on a baking tray and bake for 12 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil for the cooking liquid in a large pot and sweat the leeks, garlic and courgettes for 5-6 minutes, then sprinkle with salt and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the broad beans, bay leaves and cinnamon stick, and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Tip in the seared meatballs with any juices from the tray. Add 500ml of water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low, add the chopped herbs and cover the pan. Simmer for 40 minutes, then serve.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. At Home by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Pavillion, 2018.)

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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 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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Greek Lamb with Orzo

A treat for the weekend without too many ingredients. There is also just a tiny bit of work at the start and then this can be left to pretty much cook itself for a few hours. You can serve with crusty bread or just by itself.

Wine Suggestion: we think that a southern French blend like Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre is a really good combination as long as the wine is fresh and not too jammy. Tonight we enjoyed the Domaine de Cébène Faugeres “Felgaria” which had a majority of Mourvedre and was pure, elegant and expressive with spices and warm aromas.

Greek lamb with orzo – serves 6

  • 1kg shoulder of lamb, cut into large cubes
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1.2 litres hot chicken or veg stock
  • 400g orzo
  • freshly grated Parmesan, to serve

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

Put the lamb into a large casserole dish with the onions, oregano, ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks and olive oil. Toss with your hands to ensure everything is coated with oil. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Add the tomatoes and stock, then cover and return to the oven for a further 1½ hours or until the lamb is meltingly tender. You can throw away the cinnamon sticks at this point.

Stir in the orzo and return to the oven again, with the lid on. Cook for another 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until the orzo is cooked and the sauce has thickened. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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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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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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