Braised Rabbit with pappardelle

I have a source of rabbit at the moment, so I am getting to try out a stash of rabbit recipes. We had this at the weekend and it was spectacular. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 rabbit, jointed
  • 100g smoked pancetta
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary, strip off the leaves and chop
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • salt and pepper
  • 150ml white wine
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 5 portions of pasta e.g. pappardelle, tagliatelle
  • 1 tsp bitter marmalade
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 100ml double cream
  • a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • grated parmesan

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a casserole dish, and brown the rabbit joints in stages, and set aside. 
  • In the same pan/oil fry the onion, bacon and carrot together over a low heat until soft. Add the garlic, rosemary and tomato puree and cook for another couple of minutes
  • Pour in the wine, stock and add the rabbit, with a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Cover and simmer for an hour, until the rabbit is tender and coming off the bone. You may need to simmer for longer than an hour, depending on how tender the rabbit is. 
  • Remove the rabbit from the pan, and let it cool. Shred the meat from the bone. 
  • Meanwhile, keep the heat under the pan to reduce the sauce for five minutes or so. 
  • Put the pasta water on to boil, and start cooking the pasta according to the instructions. 
  • Add the meat back into the sauce along with the mustard, cream, parsley and marmalade, and stir to heat through and mix. Check the seasoning. 
  • When the pasta is done, add it to the sauce, stir to mix and serve with grated parmesan. 

A note on quantities of pasta. For a very hungry busy person, allow up to 100g. We usually find that 50g of pasta is plenty for one person. 

Lamb and yellow split pea stew

I love yellow split peas. They have a particular flavour and texture that goes well with lamb and turmeric. This stew is one of my favourites. It can be made with cubed lamb shoulder, or with chops from the best end of neck. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 dried limes
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 500g lamb neck chops or 400g cubed lamb
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a good grinding of black pepper
  • 500ml boiling water
  • 250g yellow split peas
  • a small pinch of saffrom
  • 1/2 tsp rose water

METHOD:

  • Put the limes in a small bowl, cover with boiling water and add a weight to keep them under water. I usually do this in a small jug, and use a ramekin to weigh them down. Do this before starting anything else; a two hour soak will reduce any bitterness.
  • Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the chopped onions over a low to medium heat until they are golden. 
  • Add the turmeric and cook for another couple of minutes, and then remove from the pan and set aside. 
  • Add the lamb to the pan, perhaps with a little extra oil, and brown all over. 
  • Add back the onions, along with the tomato paste, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and pepper. Stir to mix and add half a litre of boiling water. 
  • Bring back to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, rinse the yellow split peas, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cook until al dente, and then drain and rinse. 
  • Drain the limes, nick each one to release their flavour into the stew. Add them to the stew and simmer until the lamb is tender and soft, at least 30 minutes and possibly more depending on the quality of the meat. 
  • Add saffron, rose water, and the drained split peas, and stir them in. Cover and continue to simmer over a very lowheat for a further 15 minutes. The peas should be completely cooked. 

Serve with rice or with fried potatoes. 

Kashk (sour yoghurt sauce)

Kashk is listed as an ingredient in several Persian dishes, so I made it a mission to work out how to make it. You could substitute whipped Greek yoghurt in these recipes, but I needed to find out what the difference was. 

First of all, you need sour yoghurt. I bought a tub of greek yoghurt from the co-op, weighing around 500g. I removed the protective foil and paper covering, and left it out on the side for a couple of days. 

The recipe itself seems completely mad to someone who has never made this before, but trust me, it seems to be legitimate. It involves adding water to yoghurt, boiling until dry and cooked, and then adding more water. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 450g sour yoghurt
  • 450ml water (use this to rinse out the container)
  • A pinch of salt
  • More water to achieve consistency

It may be more cost-effective to make up a triple batch, and most recipes seem to start off with larger volumes. It is also available online from Persepolis in Peckham, if you want authenticity without the hassle. 

METHOD:

  • In a saucepan, mix the water and the sour yoghurt. Bring to a simmer, and then cook for over two hours. Stir every so often, more often towards the end. As the water evaporates, you’ll have an off-white, toasted mixture that is about the texture of choux pastry. Turn off the heat. 
  • Line a sieve with a cheesecloth, and put the mixture into the cloth. Wrap and squeeze the mixture, and then put a weight over the top to squeeze out any remaining water, which is discarded. This takes about half an hour. 
  • Take out the ball of the mixture, and put into a container until ready to use. This can be kept in the fridge for a week or so, or freezer until required. 
  • To make up a portion of kashk, put the mixture in a food processor with a good pinch of salt and around 60ml water, and leave to soak. Blend and add just enough water to make a smooth, soft creamy mixture, about the consistency of double cream. For Kashk Bademnjan, it should be slightly thicker. The mixture may feel slightly grainy. I’ve tried blending smaller volumes and it doesn’t really work. 

 

Lou’s vegan chilli

My sister Louise made this for one of the meals at Christmas. It doesn’t cost much, can be used with tinned ingredients, and it is vegan and delicious. It also freezes well. There are various substitutions and variations that can be made, depending on what you have in the kitchen. As you vary the ingredients, you may find that the fluid quantities need adjusting, so keep an eye on it as it cooks and top up as required. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 cm of ginger root, peeled and finely chopped – vary quantity to taste
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes, for example, pul biber – pick your favourite for heat, or add sriracha chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin (ground, or whole seeds bashed in a pestle and mortar)
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tins of tomatoes, chopped for preference
  • 300g green lentils, presoaked
  • 200g of starch grain, such as bulgar wheat, pearl barley, brown rice or buckwheat. Not couscous
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder, or 100g dark chocolate
  • 400g tin of beans, such as haricot beans, cannelini beans, navy beans, black-eyed beans. Alternatively, soak 300g dried beans overnight, and simmer for 45 minutes to cook. 
  • 1 to 2 litres of marigold stock or other stock
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Use a very large pan. Heat the vegetable oil over a low heat, and cook the onion, garlic and ginger for ten minutes, until it is soft. 
  • Add the chilli, cumin and paprika, and cook for a further two minutes. 
  • Add 1 litre of stock and all of the other ingredients, and bring to a simmer. 
  • Simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, topping up with stock as required. Stop when the lentils and grains are cooked. 
  • Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

  • Tortillas or wraps, with yoghurt
  • Spooned over corn chips, topped with grated cheese and grilled, served with guacamole and salsa
  • In a taco with all of the extra bits
  • In a sandwich with grated cheese, possibly toasted
  • With brown rice, sour cream and chopped tomatoes or a side serving of green vegetables. (which is what we had with Lou)

 

Pot roast lamb with beans and chorizo

We made this using black-eyed beans and a leg of lamb from a Hebridean sheep from Grimsay. It was delicious. I made it the night before, up to the point of putting it in the oven, but for various reasons, didn’t finish cooking it until tonight. The flavour is fantastic.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can of cannellini beans, or similar beans, or 300g dried beans, soaked overnight in cold water.
  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ tsp crushed hot dried chillies
  • 4-6 fresh bay leaves
  • 1.5kg of lamb or mutton. (The original recipe says this should be boned, but I don’t know how to do that. 
  • 250g cooking chorizo, skinned and cut into thick slices
  • 2 small sprigs rosemary, broken into small clusters of leaves, or 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • A pinch of sugar or a teaspoon of date syrup.

METHOD:

  • First of all, cook the beans as follows. The method is the same whether the beans are tinned or dried, but the tinned beans don’t need to be cooked as long. 
  • Drain the beans
  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan, and add one of the chopped onions, two of the cloves of garlic, crushed, as well as the crushed chillies and the bayleaves. Stir well and cook over a low heat for ten minutes. 
  • Add the beans and 1 can-ful of water. Bring to a simmer until heated through. If you are using dried beans, add 750ml water, and simmer for 45 minutes. 
  • While the beans are cooking, heat another 2 tablespoons of oil in a large casserole dish, big enough for the lamb. Fry the chorizo until lightly toasted on all sides and set aside. Brown the lamb on all sides and remove from the pan. 
  • Once the lamb is cool, poke holes in it with a knife and jam wedges of garlic into the holes. If you are using fresh rosemary, add sprigs to the holes as well. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. 
  • Add more oil to the casserole dish, if required, and fry the second onion, the last two cloves of garlic, crushed, and stir in the paprika and cumin. When the onion is nicely cooked, add the tomatoes, thyme, and dried rosemary, and bring the mixture to a simmer. I usually cook tinned tomatoes for around 20 minutes to make sure there is no tinny taste. 
  • Add the bean mixture and browned chorizo to the casserole dish, stir and check the flavour. Season with salt, pepper and possibly a pinch of sugar. 
  • Put the lamb on the top of the tomato and bean mixture, and cover the dish with a close-fitting lid. 
  • At this stage, we paused, and finished the cooking the next day, 
  • Put the lamb into a hot oven, 190C, and cook for 2 hours. Uncover for the last half an hour. 

To serve, I took the lamb out of the dish and sliced it. I also simmered the bean and tomato mixture on the hob to thicken it slightly 

We ate this with the slices of lamb on top of the tomato and bean stew, a glass of red wine, and some flat breads and a green salad.

Lamb (or mutton) siniyah

We are working our way through the winter mutton that we got from a crofter in West Gerinish. Two nights ago, we defrosted the best end of neck, which I boned out to get some tasty meat for this stew, and I made stock with the bones. I tried this recipe from Ottolenghi’s book ‘Simple’ – but found that I needed to cook the meat for longer to get it tender. Best end of neck is full of flavour, but it does require a longer cooking time. I also used slight variations in quantity, to fit what we could buy locally or online. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • Olive oil – about 60ml
  • 2 small onions, peeled and chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp baharat spice mix from ‘Seasoned Pioneers’
  • 1 kg lamb, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 can of chopped tomatos, or around 500g fresh tomatos, peeled and chopped, if available
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 60g pinenuts, toasted
  • 40g parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper 
  • 200g light tahini paste – stir well before weighing this out
  • Juice from 1/2 a small lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic

METHOD:

  • Add a splash of oil to a large casserole pan with a lid, and heat to low/medium. Cook the onions and celery for ten minutes, until soft. 
  • Add the tomato paste and the baharat spice mix, and cook for a futher two minutes. Put the mixture into a large bowl. 
  • Meanwhile, season the lamb with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. 
  • In the same pan, add a little more oil, turn up the heat a little to medium, and add the lamb to brown it. Make sure you only put in a single layer, cooking the lamb in three or four batches. Add the lamb to the bowl with the onions, before browning the next batch. If you need to, add a little oil before each batch. I found that I didn’t really need to do this. 
  • Once all of the lamb is cooked, return the lamb and onions to the pan, and stir in the tomatoes and paprika and bring to a simmer. Check for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if required.
  • Cover and simmer for around two hours for mutton best end of neck, could be less for shoulder of lamb. The meat should be tender. If the sauce is not thick enough at the end of cooking, take of the lid and simmer so that it thickens up. This is important; if the sauce is runny, the topping doesn’t stay on the top.  
  • While the lamb is cooking, blend together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, a generous pinch of salt and around 150 to 200ml water. The consistency you are aiming for is like double cream. 
  • Heat the oven to fan 180C or 190C if you don’t have a fan oven. 
  • When the stew is ready, stir in the toasted pine nuts and the parsley, and even over the surface of the stew so it is quite level. 
  • Pour over the tahini topping, replace the lid and bake in the oven for 20 minutes to set the tahini sauce. 
  • Remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes to brown the top of the tahini sauce to a delicious crust. 
  • Remove from the oven and rest for around five minutes. 

I served this with a pilau of bulgar wheat and broad beans. 

 
 

Spiced lamb’s liver

Delicious dish, so tender and tasty. Don’t be tempted to add extra flour, as the dish will be gluey and the flavours won’t be so obvious. The combination of cardamom and liver is wonderful. We served this with plain rice, but a pilau with apricots and almonds would be good. The recipe is very quick, so you’ll need to start with cooking the rice. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lamb’s liver
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced. 
  • 3 tbsp mustard seed or rape seed oil
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp crushed cardamom seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 300ml lamb stock, or water

METHOD:

  • Prepare the liver. Cut into cubes, removing any obviously chewy pipes and connective tissue. Don’t worry about small veins. 
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan that has a lid (you’ll need this later).
  • Mix the flour, salt, pepper and spices. Toss the liver in the flour to lightly coat it. 
  • Add the liver to the frying pan, and fry it quickly, stirring and turning.
  • When the liver is browned, add the stock, bring to the boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes.  

Serve with pilau and some vegetable dishes.