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. 

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. 

Braised lamb hearts

As usual, this year when we bought half a sheep for the freezer, we asked for any offal. I don’t like waste, and so each year we get a selection of perinephric fat for white puddings, as well as a selection of kidneys, liver and hearts. This year we got four hearts, each one had been lacerated on removal from the sheep, so we couldn’t stuff them. Instead, we braised them, with the stuffing on the top. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 lamb hearts, washed in cold water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lard
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 100g packet of smoked pancetta
  • 5-6 tbsp brown breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp chopped suet
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • grated rind of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

  • Rinse the lamb hearts in cold water, and use a sharp pair of scissors to cut away the fat that contains the arteries around the top of the heart. Remove the atria and valves as well. 
  • Put the hearts in a saucepan, cover with cold water, add 1 tsp salt, and simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Heat the oven to 180C
  • Meanwhile, chop the onion and pancetta finely, and fry in lard until well-cooked. 
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the breadcrumbs, herbs, lemon rind and the beaten egg. Add more crumbs if required to adjust the consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Remove the hearts from the pan, and reserve the remaining liquor. Slice them and put them in the bottom of a casserole dish.
  • Spread the stuffing over the sliced hearts, and add around 300ml of the liquor. Put the lid on the dish and bake in the oven for 1 hour. 

We had this with sprouts and mashed potato. 

Lamb ribs, Turkish style

I found a way to cook lamb ribs that is delicious. You know how it is, in the freezer is a bag of bits from when you got some delicious local lamb. I’m never sure of the best way to deal with these, but broth is the usual stand-by. However, for a good broth, I use the neck, and the ribs are a bit of a fiddle. 

First off, I delegated the job of sorting through the bits to my husband. He separated all of the rib bits into singles, and then we marinaded them overnight, before baking in a hot oven. We served this with a pilaf of bulgar wheat, kale and lentils, and a side-dish of small pickled cornichons. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bag of lamb ribs – we had about a kilo
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
  • a pinch of dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp pul biber (Aleppo pepper, or other mild chilli)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

METHOD:

  • Marinade the meat: Mix all of the marinade ingredients together, and coat the ribs with the mixture, cover and leave in the fridge overnight. 
  • Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Put the ribs in a single layer in a roasting tin and bake for 20 minutes. 
  • Turn the ribs over, turn the heat up to 220C/200C fan and cook for another 5-10 minutes. 
  • Let the ribs settle while you add any finishing touches to the rest of the meal; you’ll need to eat them with your fingers. 

Lamb shanks in a fragrant yoghurt sauce

I made this with a couple of shanks from a wee hebridean hogget. I used a Madhur Jaffrey recipe as a starter, but it has been adapted to suit me. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • salt and pepper
  • approx 200ml yoghurt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • a walnut-sized bit of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • half a small onion, cut into fine slices. 

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 160C. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper
  • Make the yoghurt sauce. Put the yoghurt, garlic, ginger, 100ml water in a food processer and blitz this until the garlic and ginger are finely minced. Next, sprinkle in the flour, coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper along with a small tsp of salt, and blitz again. 
  • Put the oil in a small casserole dish or pan suitable for the oven. It should accept the two lamb shanks. Over a medium high heat, add the cardamon, cloves, peppercorns and the lamb shanks. Brown the meat on both sides, adding the sliced onions as you go. 
  • Once the lamb is browned on both sides, add the yoghurt mixture, stir and bring to a simmer, before covering the pan and putting it in the oven. 
  • Cook for around 3 hours, checking from time to time. 

We had this with Greek flatbreads from the Co-op, a current favourite. 

Rabbit with aubergines

I have been given some fresh local tender rabbits to cook, and I’m very excited. I don’t have many go-to recipes for rabbit, so I am trying some out. I’m hoping to get more and try out a Spanish recipe that uses chorizo. This time I went with an Italian vibe.

INGREDIENTS:

  •  1 rabbit, cut into five (2 front legs, 2 back legs, one saddle)
  • 30g butter
  • 30g pancetta or diced streaky bacon
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram, or a handful of fresh marjoram
  • Salt and pepper
  • A glass of dry sherry, or Marsala wine
  • Water or stock
  • A small aubergine, cut into 2cm cubes, set in a colander and salted
  • One red sweet pepper, or a pimento for preference, sliced into strips

METHOD:

  • Heat the butter in the bottom of a braising pan or shallow casserole dish. Fry the bacon and the celery together.
  • As the fat starts to run from the bacon, add the rabbit to the pan and turn the pieces over to let them brown. 
  • Add the tomatoes, chopped garlic, marjoram and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, before adding the Marsala. Bring back to a simmer and reduce by half. 
  • Add water or stock so that the rabbit is just about covered, put the lid on the pan and simmer for around half an hour.
  • Rinse the salted aubergine, and add to the top of the pan. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes, and then add the sliced red pepper. Cook for another ten minutes. 

We served this with potatoes, because we have a lot of them. I would think that polenta would be an excellent accompaniment. 

Shoulder of lamb with mint and cumin

I made this for a large weekend meal, and it was delicious. It takes a bit of prep the day before, and is a long time cooking. It is not a weeknight event. It was delicious and I would make it again. It helped that I had the main ingredients in the garden, or in the freezer. The recipe comes from Ottolenghi ‘Simple’. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lemon – grated rind and juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic for the marinade
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 15g mint leaves
  • 15g coriander leaves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 boned shoulder of lamb weighing around 1kg
  • 1 celeriac (about 400g) cut into 2cm chunks
  • 3 carrots (about 300g) cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 head of garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves. 
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Put the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, 2/4 tsp salt, black pepper spices and herbs in a small spice grinder or small blender, and blitz into a paste. 
  • Put the lamb into a large bowl and stab it at least 20 times. Rub in the spice mixture, wrap in a plastic bag or similar, and refrigerate overnight. 
  • Start cooking after lunch. Heat the oven to 170C. Put the marinaded lamb into a casserole dish, cover and put it in the oven for an hour. 
  • Reduce the temperature to 160C, add all of the vegetables including all of the unpeeled garlic cloves. Return to the oven. I found that I needed to add small amounts of water to keep everything moist during cooking, checking every hour or so. I cooked this way for four hours. 
  • Add another small splash of water, remove the lid and return to the oven for another hour. Prepare anything else you need, such as mashed potatoes, greens, etcetera. 

I had a boned shoulder of lamb, but you could use bone-in lamb, and keep the joint in the oven until the meat is falling off the bone.