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Posts Tagged ‘Lamb’

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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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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This is the ‘succulent lamb stew’ from Jamie Oliver’s latest book – ‘5 Ingredients’ . It takes a little while in the oven but requires virtually no prep and the results are super tasty. Who knew a jar of pickled onions could be such a revelation? We served with buttery mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

This is the third recipe we’ve tried from this book and have yet to be disappointed. Go Jamie!

Wine Suggestion: we found that a youthful wine from Jumilla, the Finca Bacara “3015” Monastrell was a great match. It was perfectly ripe but avoided the clumsy tannins of other Monastrell we’ve had in the past despite being young and only spending 2 months in oak to bring it together. Look for juicy fruit, freshness, and bold but supple and unobtrusive tannins in whatever you choose.

Easiest Ever Lamb Stew – serves 6

  • a few good sprigs of rosemary, about 15g, leaves stripped
  • 800g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 3cm chunks
  • 150g mixed-colour olives
  • 1 x 280g jar of silverskin pickled onions
  • 2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3.

Heat a 30cm shallow casserole pan over a high heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and toss the rosemary leaves around for about a minute to crisp up. Scoop out the rosemary and set aside, then brown the lamb for a couple of minutes in the same pan.

Drain the pickled onions and add to the pan with the olives (remove the stones if necessary first). Stir everything together before adding the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon, plus 2 tinfuls of water. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours, or until the sauce has thickened and the lamb is meltingly tender. Jamie suggests stirring half-way through and adding a splash of water if needed. After an hour we had loads of liquid left in the dish so cooked for the remaining hour with the lid off. It probably depends on the heat in your oven so do as needed.

Taste the dish and season with salt and black pepper, then sprinkle over the crispy rosemary to serve.

(Original recipe from 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver, Penguin, 2017.)

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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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Lamb, beer & black bean chilli

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

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

Lamb, beer & black bean chilli – serves 6

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

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

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

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

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

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Lamb, squash and apricot tagine

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

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

Lamb, squash & apricot tagine – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Aubergine & Lamb Stew

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

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

We concur Itamar!!

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

Patlican – Lamb & aubergine stew – serves 2

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

Season the lamb cubes with the salt and pepper.

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

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

Serve with bread so you waste no sauce!

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

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Keema with Peas

Keema with peas

This is a simple and cheap curry to whip up and it’s full of flavour. Grab some naan breads from your local takeaway and serve with some mango chutney and extra yogurt.

Keema with Peas – to serve 4

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4cm piece ginger, grated
  • 2 green chillies
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 200g chopped tomatoes (from a can or use 2 medium fresh tomatoes)
  • 2 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 1 small bunch coriander, chopped

Chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies in a food processor.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the mixture until very fragrant. Add the mince and fry until starting to brown, stirring to break up the lumps.

Add the spices and fry for a minute before adding the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, cook for a minute, then stir in the yogurt and some salt and pepper. Add a splash of water if the mixture looks dry, then cook for half an hour.

Add the frozen peas and cook for 5 minutes, then stir in the coriander.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Celeriac purée

We’re still waiting on spring veg to arrive in Ireland but we’re comforting ourselves with the old root veggies. We love the earthiness that celeriac brings to lamb cutlets and kale or lighter dishes like seared scallops.

Wine Suggestion: You could try a New World Pinot from a cooler climate, like New Zealand, balancing not too much weight with a joyful fruit and freshness that works with the lamb and creamy celeriac.

Celeriac purée – to serve 4

  • 1 lemon
  • 350g celeriac
  • 150g floury potatoes
  • 50ml double cream or crème fraîche
  • 25-50ml milk
  • 15g butter
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper

Peel and cut the celeriac into 5 cm chunks. Submerge in cold water acidulated with some juice from the lemon.

Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks the same size as the celeriac and put into a small saucepan. Cover with salted water, bring to the boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes, or until tender.

Drain the celeriac chunks and put in a separate saucepan, cover with salted water, add a little lemon juice and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender – it will take longer than the potato.

When the vegetables are soft, drain them well and allow to steam-dry in colanders for a few minutes. Mash the potato using a potato ricer or push it through a sieve. Mash the celeriac either with a potato ricer or by blending in a food processor. Combine both vegetables in a clean saucepan.

Put the pan over a gentle heat and stir in the cream and milk. Stir in the butter, season well with salt and pepper and serve.

(Original recipe from Leith’s How To Cook by Claire McDonald and Jenny Stringer, Quadrille, 2013.)

 

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This dish looks really good and is really very little effort. Perfect for last minute entertaining.

Wine Suggestion: We’ve successfully drunk fresh whites like Pecorino from Italy and crisp Sauvignon Chardonnay blends from Cheverny, Loire as well as  Chianti, Rioja and cool-climate Syrah/Shiraz from Australia and the have all gone very well. This is a sociable dish so think of a sociable wine and it seems to work a treat!

Lamb cutlets with mint, chilli & golden potatoes – serves 4

  • 500g baby new potatoes, halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • ½ tsp celery (or ordinary) salt
  • 8 lamb cutlets
  • 100g rocket
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Put the potatoes on to steam.

Mix the olive oil, chilli flakes and celery salt in a large tray. Add the lamb chops and turn to coat well in the oil. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat a large, heavy, non-stick frying pan and fry the chops over a medium heat for 5 minutes (you won’t need any extra oil). Turn the cutlets over and cook for another 3 minutes on the other side (or longer if you prefer).

Meanwhile, drain the steamed potatoes once they are tender and leave to dry in the pot.

Use the rocket to line a platter. When the chops are cooked remove them from the pan and arrange on top of the rocket.

Add the potatoes to the pan and fry for 3 minutes on each side or until hot and golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to the platter. Sprinkle the dish with the sea salt and fresh herbs to serve.

(Original recipe from Nigella Lawson’s Nigellissima, Chatto & Windus, 2012.)

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Lamb Dauphinoise Hotpot

Winter comfort food; the sweet potato topping is nice for a change and works well adding a layer of earthiness that suits the season. You will need to start this the night before but its very easy so don’t be daunted.

Wine Suggestion: We think southern Rhône reds rule here, especially a grenache dominant blend with a little bit of age where the heady spices become more velvety but you’ve retained enough tannins to work with the proteins in the lamb. The sweet spices and juicy fruit complement the sweet potato whereas a drier wine would fight with these flavours, so be careful of more traditional lamb matches like Bordeaux blends and Rioja / Tempranillo.

Lamb & Dauphinoise Hotpot – serves 8

  • 3 large carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion roughly, chopped
  • 1 bulb of garlic, split in 2
  • few sprigs of rosemary
  • few sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2.5kg shoulder of lamb on the bone
  • 1 bottle red wine

For the topping: 

  • 4-5 potatoes
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 150ml double cream
  • few knobs of butter

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

Use a flameproof casserole big enough to fit the lamb. Put in all the vegetables and herbs and stir in the tomato purée. Put the lamb on top, pour over the wine and season well. Cover and heat on top of the stove, then transfer to the oven and cook for 3 hours. Remove the lamb from the oven, leave to cool, then chill overnight.

The next day, remove all the hard fat from around then lamb. Lift the lamb out of the dish, scraping off and keeping the jellied juice.  Shred the lamb and throw away any large bits of fat and the bones. Put the lamb back in the dish, spoon over the jellied sauce and mix with the veg.

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

Peel and slice the potatoes into rounds. Put them into a pan of cold salted water, bring to a hard boil then drain immediately. Put the potatoes back into the empty pan, pour over the cream and season well.

Arrange the potatoes on top of the lamb and drizzle the cream left in the pan over the top and dot with butter. Bake for between 40 minutes and an hour or until the top is nicely coloured and the sauce is bubbling.

Serve with some green veg.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We love and are fascinated by the spices, flavours and textures of the Middle East and Africa and this dish captures all of this perfectly. The spices match the freshness  and zing of lemon, the lamb contrasts with the smooth hummus and some crisp flatbreads give crunch and texture.  The freshness of the herbs balance the warming spices to produce a pleasant mix of warm and cool ingredients, still comforting despite the crisp autumn evening.

A meal in itself or a wonderful mezze / starter to share.

Wine Suggestion: We’d drink a white that has texture and freshness but not too crisp or conversely heavy. The Pinot Blancs from Alsace fit the bill perfectly as they have a bit of perfume and hints of spice as well as attractive light stone fruit flavours.

Hummus kawarma with lemon sauce – to serve 6

  • 1 quantity of hummus (see recipe below)
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted in the oven or fried in a small amount of unsalted butter

For the kawarma (lamb)

  • 300g neck fillet of lamb, finely chopped by hand
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried za’atar
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil

For the lemon sauce 

  • 10g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ tsp salt

To make the kawarma, put all the ingredients apart from the butter and oil in a bowl. Mix well, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for half an hour.

Just before cooking the meat, combine all the ingredients for the lemon sauce in a small bowl.

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the meat in 2-3 batches and stir-fry for a couple of minutes per batch (the meat should be slightly pink).

Divide the hummus between 6 serving dishes and spoon the warm kawarma over the top. Drizzle over plenty of lemon sauce and garnish with some more parsley and the pine nuts.

Basic Hummus – to serve 6

  • 250g dried chickpeas
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 270g light tahini paste
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 100ml ice cold water
  • salt

Wash the chickpeas well and put into a large bowl. Cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight.

Drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan on a high heat and add the chickpeas and the bicarbonate of soda. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring. Add 1.5 litres of fresh water and bring to the boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and skins, for between 20 and 40 minutes or until very tender (you should be able to crush them between your thumb and finger but they should not be mushy).

Drain the chickpeas and put in a food processor. Process to a stiff paste; then, with the machine running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1½ tsp salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and mix for about 5 minutes or until you get a very smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin forming. Rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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

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Moussaka

This is a really lovely moussaka which rates as one of our “comfort” dishes. We especially like roasting the aubergines in the oven rather than frying them which always seems to require vats of oil. The combination is a classic and is not difficult, but it does take a little time to bring together. It is always well worth it.

Wine Suggestion:  We’ve been inspired to drink wines from the Eastern Mediterranean with this and have found that top Lebanese wines, like Chateau Massaya, with their bramble and plum fruits plus velvety spices work very well indeed.

Moussaka – to serve 6

  • 3 aubergines, sliced 1cm thick
  • olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1½ lb (675g) lamb mince
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tomato, skinned, seeded and chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp tomato purée
  • a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • a few tbsp dry white wine
  • Parmesan (optional)

FOR THE BÉCHAMEL 

  • 1 pint (600ml) full-cream milk
  • 1 onion, peeled and stuck with a couple of cloves
  •  bay leaf
  • 2oz (55g) unsalted butter
  • 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4.

Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil on both sides then put on a baking tray in a single layer and roast until soft. You will either need to do this in batches or on two trays. They should take between 10 and 20 minutes but don’t let them get too brown.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and sauté the onions until soft and golden. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another few minutes, then add the mince and fry for 5-10 minutes or until well browned. Season and add the cinnamon, then add the chopped tomato, tomato purée and chopped parsley. Stir well, add the wine and simmer for 15 minutes or until most of the wine has been absorbed.

While the meat is simmering make the béchamel. Put the onion, bay leaf and milk in a small pan and bring slowly to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and leave to infuse for 20-30 minutes with the lid on and reheat just before starting the sauce.

Melt the butter over a gentle heat in a small pan. Just as the butter starts to foam, add the flour and stir gently for a few seconds. You want a thin bubbling base – if the butter hasn’t amalgamated with the flour, add a tiny bit more. Bubble for a couple of minutes or until it turns a pale biscuit colour. Add about half a cup of the hot milk and whisk hard until the mixture becomes thick. Add more milk and repeat – it will take longer to thicken each time.

Cook the sauce more slowly and stir with a wooden spoon – add more milk until you get the right consistency. You want the sauce to be thick but not solid. Cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring often. Season and grate in a little nutmeg about half way through.

When the sauce is ready put alternate layers of aubergine and meat sauce in a deep baking dish or roasting tin, staring and ending with a layer of aubergines. Pour a thick layer of béchamel over the top; you might not need it all. Sprinkle over some grated Parmesan if you like then bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until brown on top.

(Original recipe from Tamasin’s Kitchen Bible by Tamasin Day-Lewis, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005.)

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We used a leg from a hogget (one year old lamb) as this has greater flavour. If you use a young “Spring” lamb this will be juicier and cook quicker but is more delicate in flavour.

Agnello Marinato alla Griglia – to serve 6

  • 1 leg of spring lamb, about 2.25kg in weight, boned and butterflied
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tbsp rosemary leaves, chopped
  • coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sea salt

Mix the crushed garlic, rosemary and a good pinch of pepper in a bowl, and rub into the cut side of the meat. Put in a shallow dish and pour over the lemon juice and olive oil. Turn the meat over a few times until completely coated, then cover. Leave to marinate at room temperature overnight (or at least 4 hours), turning occasionally.

Preheat the grill or barbecue to very high. Remove the meat from the marinate and pat dry. Season with salt. Carefully place the meat on the grill and seal on both sides. Lower the heat and keep cooking until done to your liking, turning once. Allow a minimum of 8 minutes per side but it could take up to 45 minutes in total depending on the age and size of the lamb as well as the barbecue temperature.

Wine Suggestion: We think that good Bordeaux works well with this and proceeded to try a couple of different Chateau to test this theory. The first was a birthday present of Chateau Mission Haut Brion from the Graves where the pencilly and inky character complemented the lamb. A very fine wine indeed and a real treat. We then followed by a Chateau d’Angludet from Margaux which was more mellow and feminine to round out the end of the meal. A treat altogether.

(Original recipe from The River Café Cookbook by Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray, Ebury Press, 1995.)

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