Tag Archives: lamb

slow-cooked vegetable curry with little lamb meatballs

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This one couldn’t be easier (& it helped to slightly reduce our pumpkin supply).

Halve and slice one brown onion & start it cooking gently in a few Tblsp of olive oil. Finely slice & chop a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger & add to the pan along with 4-5 finely sliced cloves of garlic. (We’ve just planted our garlic – 2 & 1/2 of our 2-m long raised beds. Should be a great crop.)  Continue to cook until the onion is softening & turning translucent, then add 2 tsp ground coriander, 2 tsp ground cumin, as much chili as takes your fancy (I used 1/4 tsp) and 1/2 tsp salt). Cook a little longer, stirring, until the mix is fragrant, and then tip it into the bowl of your slow-cooker where you have already placed

1 butternut squash, peeled & de-seeded & cut into 2cm chunks; 3 medium potatoes, cut into 2cm chunks; a couple of red peppers, cut into strips; and a can of drained chickpeas – or, in my case, cannellini beans on account of I didn’t check the label before opening the can. Add 5oo mL of chicken stock, cover, & leave to cook on a low setting for about 5 hours.

At this point I tasted the curry & decided that although it smelled great it needed coconut; with no little cans of coconut milk in the pantry I added a couple of Tblsp of desiccated coconut instead 🙂 Plus 3 Tblsp of tomato paste to thicken the mix. Pretty much anything goes in this recipe! (If we hadn’t eaten a lot of spinach the previous night – spinach galettes with tomato passata – I’d have sliced some thinly & added towards the end of the cooking time.)

Stir everything well and then add your meatballs. I used a cup of nice soft fresh breadcrumbs from yesterday’s loaf of beer bread, & added 1 egg, 2 Tblsp of finely chopped fresh mint, 2 tsp of garam masala, 1 Tblsp dark soy sauce & 300g of lamb mince. Mix this together really, really well & shape into small balls about the size of a walnut. They’ll be quite soft. Place them carefully in the curry & leave everything for another hour or so until the meatballs are cooked through.

You could serve with rice but we ate it on its own, with a little chopped fresh coriander sprinkled on top.

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slow-cooked curried lamb neck chops

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The lamb leg steaks in the supermarket were going to cost me an arm & a leg. ‘Blerg!’, I said, & settled for the neck chops: a delicious cut that well repays slow cooking. Which is what I did for a kilogram of them yesterday.

First up, coat the chops in well-seasoned flour, melt some butter with some vegetable oil in a heavy pan, & brown both sides of the chops (do this in batches!) before transferring them to a slow-cooker on low heat.

Lower the heat under the frying pan & add one finely-sliced onion to the fat in the pan. Once it’s started to turn translucent, add as much garlic & ginger as you fancy – in my case it was 6 cloves of minced garlic & rather more than a tablespoon of finely minced raw ginger. Stir to mix & follow with the spices: I used 2 tsp ground coriander, 3 tsp ground cumin, 1/4 tsp hot ground chilli, a cinnamon stick (broken in two), and about a dozen whole cloves.

Next, stir in any flour remaining from the chops, along with 500ml beef stock & then carefully pour the lovely spicy broth over the meat in the slow cooker.

Cover & walk away 😀

After 6 hours of that you should be able to lift out the chops & simply pull the meat off the bones. Remove the cinnamon stick pieces – your dinner guests will have to look out for the cloves themselves! Carefully decant as much of the fat as possible from the broth in the cooker, then return the meat to the cooker bowl & add a couple of Tblsp of plain yoghurt & one tsp of garam masala. If you want a thicker gravy, now’s the time to blend a Tblsp or so of cornflour with some of the broth and stir that through the curry. Leave it on low until you’re ready to serve, & then sprinkle some chopped fresh coriander leaves over the top.

We had it with another curry (of potatoes, cauliflower, & peas cooked with coriander, turmeric and cumin & some chicken stock) and naan bread hot from the oven. And followed with a choc-orange version of a cheesecake – one that I realise I haven’t written about yet. So that will follow shortly 🙂

And then sat around for a while as the food was sooo good & we all ate more than we should have.

luscious lamb packets

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Lamb’s rather cheap in the shops at the moment, so yesterday I bought a leg of lamb, then butterflied  & marinated it before cooking it on the barbie until medium rare. This time round the marinade was a paste of garlic (lots of it) & parsley, ground down in a mortar with rock salt & lemon zest & then thinned with the lemon juice, some soy sauce & (because I like the smell & taste) a little sesame oil. Our friends Annette & David came to help eat lovely tender slices of still-pink lamb, which I served with a waldorf salad (sans walnuts, because they don’t like Annette) and some rather good rosemary bread that I cooked on the grill plate.

However, because the two strapping young men who helped the last lamb leg disappear weren’t with us this time, there was quite a bit of meat left over. (Also, we were saving room for the strawberries – from our garden – & cream!) So, this is what I made for tonight’s dinner (it will serve 4 generously, & in fact the leftovers will be lunch tomorrow):

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C and put 4 sheets of ready-rolled flaky-puff pastry on the bench to defrost. At this point you could also put some par-boiled potatoes, cut into chunks, into the oven in a little oil to finish cooking.
  • Cook down a couple of bunches of spinach (like the spuds, this came from our garden), squeeze dry, & chop coarsely.
  • Slice the lamb, as thickly or thinly as you like & as the amount available permits.
  • Spread about a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce down the centre of each sheet of pastry & cover this with the spinach. Arrange slices of lamb on top of this & then fold the pasty over the top, remembering to seal the short ends of each packet.
  • Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper (or use a silicon sheet – I swear by mine), & bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

These are actually quite large & so I cut each packet into two before serving, so people could choose to suit their appetite. We ate them with the roasted spuds, a mix of new peas & sweet little baby broad beans,  & fresh-picked, steamed broccoli, with a light cheese sauce. “Those were pretty special leftovers,”, said the husband 🙂

 

lamb legs & bbqs

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I am a happy omnivore. I do cook vegetarian meals on occasion (more occasions than the husband would like, I suspect), & those occasions will probably become more common when our French niece and her Scottish partner (hi, Mally! hi, Tony!) arrive on our doorstep next month. But I enjoy meat, as well. One of my favourites is lamb (whether or not this has anything to do with eating roasted lambs’ tails at docking time, when I was a kid on the farm & docking involved a sharp knife rather than those little rubber rings, I’m not sure). And lamb is rather cheap in the shops, at the moment.

So a couple of weekends ago I found myself early-ish on Sunday morning with a 2kg leg (bone in) of lamb in the fridge and the happy prospect of a slow, late lunch with friends. And the day was sunny – a great day for the first barbecue of the summer. First up, I needed to bone the lamb – lacking a turnspit, I can’t imagine trying to cook a leg, bone in, on the barbie. Now, I used to have a proper boning knife, but it disappeared a while ago; I suspect the husband nicked it for cutting up bait on one of his fishing trips. So these days I use a knife with a fairly narrow straight blade. Being a zoologist hath its uses as I’ve got a nice mental image of where the bones actually are.

Boning a leg is no big deal, really, although I know perfectly well that my way probably isn’t the most efficient way to do it (& one day the elder of my brothers, who is a Very Good Cook Indeed, will probably take me to task for it): basically I cut down to & along the shin at the point where the flesh is at its thinnest, & then work around the bones & deglove them as I go. Then I make a couple of slashes where the meat is thickest, so it will lie fairly flat under grill or on barbecue, & there you are. (The bones go to my little dog, Ben, & make him very happy for quite some time.)

The last time I did this, the next step was a fairly conventional marinade involving olive oil, lemon zest & juice, rosemary & garlic.  Did I mention that we have quite a bit of garlic still to use from last summer’s crop? Anyway, this time I felt like something different. So I peeled the cloves from a couple of bulbs of garlic (I’ve got one of those silicon tube-thingies that you use to skin garlic cloves & it works rather well) & put them in a mortar with a tablespoon or so of ground cumin & a couple of teaspoons of rock salt, & ground the whole lot into a coarse paste with the pestle before thinning it with some olive oil & a little sesame oil (because I thought it would taste good. Which it did). That was spread over both sides of the lamb, which I then put into a dish, covered it with gladwrap, & left it to its own devices for 3 hours.

During which time we all went to the Hamilton Farmers’ Market & bought various yummy things, & then the dog & I walked home while the rest of the family drove back with our purchases 🙂

By the time we got home it was about an hour until our guests were due, so I fired up the barbecue (gas bottle, three burners, nice semi-cylindrical hood) & when it was at around 200 degrees C I turned off one of the burners & carefully placed my butterflied lamb leg on the grill over that burner, skin side down. Then I closed the lid & turned the other burners down to medium, & left the meat to cook over that indirect heat (turning it once, about 30 minutes later) while I went in to deal to the rest of the meal.

Which was pretty straightforward: the first of our new season’s potatoes (Swifts, ready in about 60 days from planting), to be boiled & served with a littlebittabutter; a nice big head of fresh brocolli, cut into florets & steamed just before we were ready to eat, along with fresh asparagus from the market; a sweet red pepper coulis; & a lemon-thyme scented hollandaise sauce. Our guests arrived & exclaimed, drooling slightly, about the lovely smells from the barbecue. The lamb was done and, after resting it for 10 minutes while dealing with the veges, I carved it into thick luscious slices, still pink inside but brown & crisp with garlic & spice on the outside. The eight of us sat down to a veritable feast, & no-one complained that there was no dessert to follow.