Posts Tagged “lamb”

Lamb and Piperade Piperade is a classic Basque dish made with sweet bell peppers, onions, olive oil and most importantly...patience. The slow process of making piperade is worth the long wait. For a dish that's completely meat-free, it has a remarkable savouriness and an intense depth of flavour. Not to mention the natural sweetness of the onions and peppers that is enhanced by the long cooking time. There are various different ways to do this, but one thing is beyond debate: you _must_ remove the skin from the peppers. If not, you'll have nasty stringy bits ruining the texture of the dish. At Castle Terrace, we had to peel the peppers before slicing and cooking them, which is painstaking and fiddly process. An easier and more conventional method is to roast the peppers, cover them and allow to cool before easily peeling off the skin. The basic method is as follows: finely slice the onions and sweat slowly in olive oil for 3 hours. Then add the finely sliced peppers and continue sweating slowly for another 3 hours. Much of the intense flavour in this dish comes from the slowly cooked onions, so make sure you cook for the full 3 hours to get them really dark and sweet. You can pair this with many things - it's a very versatile garnish. It goes particularly well with lamb, however. For this recipe, ask your butcher for a boned and rolled leg of lamb. --- * 1 leg of lamb, boned and rolled * 6 medium onions, finely sliced * 4 red peppers * 2 yellow peppers * 2 green peppers * 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper * 2 handfuls baby spinach * vegetable oil, for frying * a little sherry vinegar 5. When the lamb is ready, put in on a rack to rest for 10 minutes or so, then finish the piperade. Finely slice the baby spinach and add to the peppers and onions. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Finish with a little touch of sherry vinegar. Carve the lamb, and place on top of the piperade in wide bowls. 4. To cook the lamb: get a large, heavy based frying pan and place it over a high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil and wait for it to get hot. Season the lamb all over with salt and pepper and sear it in the pan, turning every couple of minutes or so until nicely caramelised all over. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn over and cook for another 10 minutes. At this point, check the temperature using a skewer: insert the skewer into the middle of the lamb and wait for a few seconds, then press it to your lip. If it's barely warm, it needs longer. Keep turning and cooking it until the middle feels hot but doesn't yet burn your skin when you touch it to your lip. If it's scorching hot, you've overcooked it! If you want to use a temperature probe it should be around 58C. 3. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, take them from the bowl and carefully peel the skin from them. They should be roasted enough that the skin comes off quite easily. Tear the peppers into pieces, removing the core and all the seeds. Finely slice them, and add to the pan with the onions once the onions are ready, along with another pinch of salt. Continue to cook on a low heat for another 3 hours. It should be caramelised, dark and intense. 2. Meanwhile, get a large pot or casserole dish and add the olive oil. Place over a medium heat and when the oil is hot, add the onions along with a generous pinch of salt. Cook at this temperature for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. When the onions are soft, turn the heat to low and cook for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the onions are dark, intense and sweet. At this point,remove your leg of lamb from the fridge to come up to room temperature. 1. Set the oven to 190C. Place all the peppers in a roasting tray and cover tightly with foil, then place in the oven for about 40 minutes, until they are softened and you can see the skin starting to wrinkle. Transfer to a bowl or another tray and cover tightly with cling film. Leave to cool.

Lamb Bolognese Bolognese sauce in our household was always quite different to what most would consider classic bolognese, which would typically be made with beef and pork. Our sauce would nearly always contain some lamb due to the abundant supply in our freezer. The mince from our own lamb was usually quite fatty and, when mixed in equal parts with lean beef mince, gave a lovely depth of flavour and body to the sauce. It always tasted fantastic; ladled onto a mountain of spaghetti with handfuls of grated parmesan I would devour it with gusto. Lamb bolognese is almost unheard of, which is a shame because it’s so delicious! In my view this is tastier than the classic beef bolognese and I bet that many would agree. Saying that, the recipe I’ve made here is not a plain spag-bol but a modified version, or upgraded, I should say. I made it a little bit creamier than usual, and added extra garlic. A good pile of baby spinach is thrown in and wilted down to tangle with the spaghetti as everything is mixed together. Parmesan cheese is mixed in, along with a splash of the salted starchy pasta water and finally some cherry tomatoes at the very last just to warm through gently. The final sauce is really rich and creamy, with the spinach and tomatoes giving a juiciness that stands up to the strong flavoured lamb. --- * 500g of lamb mince * 3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon * 1 onion * 1 carrot * 1 stick of celery * 3 large cloves of garlic * 250ml of red wine * 50g of tomato purée * 1 litre of lamb stock, or chicken stock * 1/2 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes * 50ml of double cream * 100g of baby spinach leaves * 100g of parmesan * 2 sprigs of thyme * 400g of dried spaghetti * olive oil * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper 1. Cut the bacon into 5mm dice and in a large, wide-based pan, fry in olive oil until golden and crisp. Finely chop the onion and garlic and add to the pan, turning the heat down. Dice the celery and carrot into 5mm dice and add to the pan. Pick the leaves from the sprigs of thyme and add to the pan along with the chilli flakes. Turn the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the lamb mince, red wine, tomato purée and stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 1.5 hours, or until the lamb is tender and the sauce reduced and thick. 2. Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions. While the pasta is cooking, add the cream and spinach to the bolognese and stir until all the spinach has wilted. Add the parmesan and mix thoroughly to melt the cheese and emulsify it into the sauce. The sauce should now be thick and creamy. Half the cherry tomatoes and have them ready. When the pasta is done, drain in a colander, reserving the starchy liquid. Add the pasta along with the cherry tomatoes into the sauce and mix well. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or parmesan if needed. Serve immediately

Stuffed Saddle of Lamb Lamb chops were always a staple part of our diet when we were young, usually simply roasted and served with baked potatoes and veg from the garden; simple but delicious. The loin meat from the top half of the saddle - the best end - is some of nicest and most tender from the whole animal. Keep the chops attached and you have a rack of lamb, perfect to roast whole and carve into classic lamb cutlets. The bottom half of the saddle - the short saddle - does not have any rib bones and so you would normally just roast this as a piece of loin. What we do in the restaurant is a little more special however; we take the loin from the bone, leaving a flap of the belly fat attached, then make a stuffing from sautéed kidneys and spinach and roll the loin up inside the fat. The saddle is then tied with string and roasted. It’s a lovely way to cook the loin meat as it’s quite well protected from the surrounding fat. --- * 1 short saddle of lamb, belly flaps attached * 2 lamb kidneys * 200g of baby spinach * 6 pitted black olives * 1 shallot * 1 small clove of clove of garlic * 3 green courgettes * 3 yellow courgettes * extra virgin olive oil * vegetable oil, for frying * sea salt and cracked black pepper 1. Carefully remove the bone from the short saddle, being careful not to leave any of the meat attached to the bone. Trim off the skin from the layer of fat, being very careful not to make any holes in the flap, as we need this intact in order to wrap around the loins. You now have 2 pieces of loin with a flap of fat attached to each. Place the layer of fat on a chopping board and bash it out with the flat part of a heavy knife, to flatten the fat to a nice thin layer. Again, be careful not to make any holes. Place the loins in the fridge. 2. Get a medium pan hot on the stove, and sauté the spinach with a pinch of salt until gently wilted. Transfer to a colander and leave to chill in the fridge. Meanwhile, finely chop the shallot and garlic and sweat slowly in olive oil until soft. Transfer to a bowl. Roughly chop the black olive and add to the bowl. Now take the lamb kidneys and remove the outer membrane. Cut in half lengthways and cut out the white gristle from inside. Cut the kidneys into 5mm dice, then fry in a hot pan until lightly coloured. Remove, and add to the bowl with the shallots, garlic and olive. Once the spinach is cold, squeeze all the remaining moisture from it by wringing in your hands. Mix together with the kidney and shallot mixture. Season to taste with salt and cracked black pepper. 3. Divide the mix into two, one half for each loin. Lay out the loin on a board with the fat facing towards you. Place the spinach mix tight into the join of where the loin meets the fat, then roll it up, with the fat wrapping around the loin. Tie securely with butcher's twine. Repeat with the other loin. Place the stuffed saddles in the fridge for 30 minutes to set. 4. Heat the oven to 180C. Cut 2mm slices off the courgettes lengthways, taking only the vibrant skin from the outside, and reserve the inner white part for another recipe. Cut the slices into thin strips. Set aside. Get a heavy based frying pan hot on the stove, and fry the stuffed saddles until lightly coloured all over. Place in the oven for 3 minutes, then turn over. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, or until the inside temperature reaches 55C, which is medium rare. Leave the meat to rest on a rack for 15-20 minutes. Just before carving the meat, sauté the courgettes in olive oil until just cooked, and season with sea salt. Carve each loin into 3 pieces, and place on top of the spaghetti of courgettes. Serve with some nice crusty bread and a glass of white wine.

Shepherd's Pie Here’s another classic to add to the collection. It seems pretty appropriate that shepherd’s pie was a staple dish for us, at home on a sheep farm in rural Northumberland. I think this dish was traditionally made with left over meat from a roast dinner, but my Mum usually made it with our own lamb or mutton mince, which was a bit fattier than shop-bought mince and stronger in flavour; it was always really rich and filling. I’ve adapted the recipe here; instead of mince I’m using neck and slowly braising it on the bone. The neck is a pretty tough cut of meat so it needs cooking for a long time. It's more flavoursome than the prime cuts, however, and absolutely worth the wait. Lamb neck is probably the tastiest part of the animal in my view, and very underrated. In the kitchen at work, we use veal stock as a base for most of our sauces; for something like this shepherd’s pie for example, we would make a rich jus from reduced veal stock to mix with the filling instead of gravy. The veal bones are slowly simmered in water for 2-3 days in order to extract maximum flavour and body from them. The gelatine extracted from the bones thickens the stock when it is reduced, so you get a naturally thick, rich jus without using flour. This is impractical to do at home, but you can get some way towards a proper jus when making a dish like this by cooking the meat on the bone, or adding extra bones to the braising liquid even. After reducing, the resulting sauce will be richer and have much more body to it. --- * 3 lamb necks, cut in two * 5 carrots * 2 sticks of celery * 1/2 bulb of garlic * 1 sprig of thyme * 1 sprig of rosemary * 2 bay leaves * 1 bottle of red wine * 2kg of King Edward potatoes * 50ml of whole milk * 150g of unsalted butter, cut into small dice * 1 leek * Wocester sauce * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper * vegetable oil, for frying * olive oil 1. Heat the oven to 160C. In a large deep roasting tray, lightly brown 2 of the carrots, the celery, garlic and onion all roughly chopped, in olive oil. Add the thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. Add a whole bottle of red wine and boil for 3 minutes to remove the alcohol. 2. Place a large, heavy based pan on a high flame and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. When nice and hot, take the lamb necks and season all over with salt and pepper. Place the necks in the pan and fry until dark and caramelised all over. Now place the necks in the roasting tray with the wine and vegetables. Top up with water until all of the meat is just covered, bring to the boil, and wrap tightly with two layers of tin foil. Place in the oven for about 5 hours or until the meat is extremely tender and falling apart. 3. While the meat is cooking, make the mashed potato for the topping; this can be done in advance, even days before if necessary. Take the potatoes, prick each one several times with a knife and place in the oven with the lamb for 3 hours; the potatoes should be thoroughly cooked through. Remove from oven, cut in half and press the potato through a sieve into a wide-based saucepan. Now gradually add the butter whilst beating over a medium heat. The butter will emulsify into the dry, floury potato and give a luxurious silky texture. Add a splash of milk and mix thoroughly. Season generously with sea salt. Transfer into a container and set aside for later. 4. Remove the lamb necks and strain the braising liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and reduce until you have about 300ml of rich dark jus. Thicken with a little beurre manié until you have the consistency of a thin gravy. While the sauce is reducing, peel and cut the rest of the carrots into 5mm cubes, and pick the meat from the necks into rustic chunks. Fry the carrots in olive oil over a medium flame until lightly coloured. Cut the leek into 1cm squares and add to the pan. When the leeks are half-cooked, add the lamb and the sauce and gently fold, being careful not to break up the meat too much. Add a splash of Worcester sauce and season to taste with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and top with a thickness of about 1 inch of mashed potato. Place in the oven at 200C for about 20 minutes until golden on top

Slow Cooked Lamb I often think that I’m very lucky to have grown up on a sheep farm, as I have a reliable supply of delicious organic lamb to create tasty delights with on a regular basis. I received a delivery of half a lamb a few weeks ago to replenish my supply. All of a sudden the drawers of the freezer were happily jammed and stuffed with shoulder, leg, neck and countless chops. If I was forced to choose I would probably have to pick lamb as my favourite meat, which may seem surprising given that throughout my childhood I was nurtured and brought up on it; far from being sick of it though, I think I have a greater appreciation of good quality meat from well raised animals. My home county, Northumberland, produces more lamb than any in Britain, and some of the most delicious lamb and mutton in the world is from there. I hate to see lamb from New Zealand on the supermarket shelves when we have much better tasting stuff right here on our doorstep. The tastiest I’ve ever had was from the farm back home, and I reckon this meat is the best to be found anywhere.This is from Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets, another reliable recipe which his mother, the legendary “Maman Blanc” would have made. Rustic home cooking. It’s lamb shoulder, slow-roasted to achieve a gorgeous melting texture, and with some bones and neck chops in the bottom of the pan along with wine and herbs creating an extremely flavoursome liquid to make the sauce with. For this I reduced the liquid slightly, thickened with some beurre manié and stirred in some finely chopped mint and a splash of white wine vinegar. I served the lamb with some leek and carrot, finely sliced to mirror the flakiness of the meat, and some roasted new potatoes. --- * 1 1/2kg of lamb shoulder * 1 sprig of thyme * 1 sprig of rosemary * olive oil * sea salt and cracked black pepper * 3 or 4 lamb neck chops, or 700g trimmings * 1 bulb of garlic * 100ml of dry white wine * 1 bay leaf * some beurre manie 1. Heat the oven to 230C. Take the lamb shoulder out of the fridge at least 1 hour before cooking to bring it up to room temperature. Score the lamb shoulder and rub some sea salt, black pepper and finely chopped herbs (thyme and rosemary) mixed with some olive oil into the flesh. Leave to marinate. 2. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a roasting tray and fry lamb neck chops (or bones and trimmings) until light golden on each side, add bulb of garlic cut in half, brown for a few minutes then remove from heat. Place the shoulder on top of the bones and roast in the oven for 20mins. Meanwhile bring white wine to the boil in a small pan along with bay leaf. Add 400ml of water. Take the lamb out of the oven and add the wine mixture, scraping off any tasty sediment from the bottom of the tray. Baste the meat for a minute. Now turn the oven down to 150C, cover the meat loosely with foil and return to the oven. Roast for about 4 hours, basting every 30 minutes. The meat should be extremely tender and falling off the bone. 3. Use the cooking liquid to make the sauce; reduce by one third, thicken slightly with beurre manié, add a splash of white wine vinegar and some finely chopped mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mulligatawny Soup This is an awesome soup, I adore the combination of rich mutton meatiness and spicy curry. It’s a proper hearty winter warmer of a dish, and pretty much a meal in itself as it is so thick and substantial. I made this soup with meat from the braised breast and stock that I made from the mutton bones. You could instead use leftover meat from a mutton or lamb roast, along with chicken stock from powder if you don’t want to make stock from scratch. The mutton could also be substituted quite satisfactorily with chicken; get some chicken thighs, season and toss in olive oil and roast on gas mark 7 for about 30 minutes. Then just pick off the meat and substitute into the recipe below accordingly. I used braised breast, but you could just as well use another cut such as scruffy chops, belly or neck chops. If you do braise some meat, you could use the braising liquor instead of making stock, although it will taste quite strongly of wine (if you use my recipe below) which you may not want in the soup. I believe the rich mellow flavour obtained from the slowly cooked stock is preferable in this case. --- * 150g of streaky bacon * 1 onion * 2 sticks of celery * 3 large cloves of garlic * 1/2 teaspoon of mutton fat, reserved from the stock * 2 carrots, cut into 5mm dice * 300g of braised mutton, cut into bite-sized pieces * 1 1/2 teaspoon of madras curry powder * 1/4 teaspoon of paprika * 1 litre of mutton stock * sea salt and cracked black pepper * a few drops of worcester sauce * 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar * 1 handful of flat leaf parsley * 300g of potatoes, cut into 1cm dice 1. Cut the bacon into thin lardons and fry in a little olive oil in a large pot until just starting to colour. Dice the onion and celery and finely chop the garlic. Add these to the pot with the bacon, along with the mutton fat. Turn the heat right down and gently sweat the vegetables down for 10-15 minutes until they are nice and soft. Add to the pot the carrots, braised mutton, curry powder, paprika and stock. Taste and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to just below simmering point and cook for 15-20 minutes. Add a few drops of Worcester sauce and 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar. Add the potato dice and cook until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart. Adjust the seasoning and serve with some roughly chopped parsley scattered over.