Once upon a time, I decided to try cooking a leg of lamb with cider instead of wine. It was delicious. I just found the recipe again.
- A joint of lamb
- 750ml cider
- salt and pepper
- 1 heaped tsp dried rosemary
- a pinch of ground ginger
- 1 onion, chopped
- Rub the lamb with the salt, pepper and ginger, and put into a casserole dish that fits well. Sprinkle with rosemary and pour in the cider. Cover, and bake at 140 C for 3+ hours
- We served with roast parsnips, roast potatoes and buttered cabbage
We have just finished eating this, and it was tender and delicious. I think this is a version of a Spanish recipe, I have a note that one of my daughters copied it from Gordon Ramsey’s Healthy Appetite .
- 1 leg of lamb, around 2kg – part-boned if possible
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 oranges, sliced
- A sprig of thyme
- Heat the oven to 220 C
- Trim the joint of any superfluous fat. Mix the ginger, thyme and paprika with 1 tsp salt and a few good grinds from the pepper grinder, and rub this mixture all over the lamb, including the boned cavity, if it was boned.
- Fill the boned cavity with the garlic and half the orange slices. If the lamb is not boned, create a pocket in the meat, and fill that instead.
- Put the lamb on a rack in a pan, baste with olive oil, and put a bit of water in the bottom of the pan. Roast the lamb for 20 minutes in the hot oven, then replenish the water.
- Turn the heat down to 190 C and roast for a further 25 minutes per 500g. If the top of the lamb is getting a little dark during the cooking, cover with foil. Keep the water topped up as well, if it is in danger of becoming dry.
- For the last half hour, cover the lamb with the remaining slices of orange.At the end of the cooking time, transfer the lamb to a suitable platter for carving, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Carve thin slices and serve with potatoes and vegetables.
Here is another recipe for organic shoulder of lamb. These local lambs have a lot of shoulders! We have just finished eating this, and it was tender and delicious. We adapted it from Two Fat Ladies: Full Throttle and I used herbs and spices from seasoned pioneers.
- 1 shoulder of lamb, about 2kg
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained
- 100ml olive oil
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 1 pint of water or stock
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 2 tsp Ras el Hanout
- Salt and pepper
- 450g local potatoes peeled and chopped into large dice (e.g. Charlotte potatoes)
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon.
- Heat the oven to 140C
- Trim the joint of any superfluous fat
- Heat the oil in a large casserole and brown the lamb. Set the lamb aside.
- Add the onions and cook until they are soft but not brown.
- Add the chickpeas and water, bring to the boil and then stir in the herbs, spices, salt and pepper, and the lamb.
- Put the casserole in the oven for 3 hours
- Add the potatoes and lemon juice, cover again and cook for a further 45 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.
Any left-over chickpeas and gravy are excellent as a separate dish. I served this with couscous and a salad.
This is a rich, chunky soup with lots of flavour and it uses lots of ingredients that I can get locally. It is another Ottolenghi recipe.
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 170g celeriac, in bits about the size of a cannellini bean
- 2 heads of garlic, peeled
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 500g lamb, in 2cm cubes
- 1.75 litres of water
- 1 can of cannellini beans OR 100g dried beans, soaked overnight and drained.
- 7 cardamom pods, lightly squashed
- (you could add a stick of cinnamon as well)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp caster sugar or date syrup
- 4 firm potatoes such as Charlotte or Jersey Royal, 2cm cubes
- salt and black pepper
- Juice of half a lemon
- Chopped coriander and green chillies (depending on your taste)
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and fry the onion and celeriac over a medium heat until starting to brown. This takes around 5 minutes
- Add the garlic cloves and cumin and cook for another two minutes before turning off the heat.
- Put the meat and water in a large pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for around 10 minutes, and skim the surface to get a clear broth.
- Add the onion and celeriac, the soaked cannellini beans, (if using tinned beans, wait until later) along with the turmeric, cardamom, sugar and tomato puree. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour so that the lamb and beans are tender.
- Add the potatoes, 1 level tsp salt, pepper, canned beans, and bring back to the simmer. Cook for a further 20 minutes, with the lid off the pan, to thicken the soup.
- When the soup is cooked, add the lemon juice and check the seasoning. Serve garnished with chopped coriander. You could add chopped parsley and hot green chillies. Ottolenghi gives a recipe for Zhoug which can be used as a garnish.
Serve with bread.
I love aubergines, and there were some great aubergines in the shop the other day, so I was inspired enough to order some quinces from Real Foods, a wholefood supplier in Edinburgh. I nearly didn’t post this recipe, because quinces aren’t something that is readily available, but it was excellent. The recipe is from one of my favourite recipe books, Nightingales and Roses. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly because the weather was nasty, time was of the essence and I discovered I didn’t have enough onions.
I used a bit of leg of mutton to make this, and cooked it quite slowly. I did it in two stages as I was cooking for others after work. The stew itself is very easy, everything is layered into one pot and simmered. I find that preparing stews in the evening, and then finishing the cooking the next evening works well for developing the flavours. I should imagine it would work well in a slow cooker.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 onions, peeled and thickly sliced (should have been 6 – see above)
- 600g thick slices of mutton or lamb
- 1 1/2 tbsp sumac (this gives the stew a wonderful dark colour)
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 large aubergines, thickly sliced and salted
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1 large quince, peeled and chopped, core removed
- 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 60ml water
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 large potatoes, thickly sliced. (I added these on the next day when I heated the stew up and finished the cooking.)
- Pour half the oil into the bottom of a casserole dish or large saucepan, and arrange half of the onion slices on the bottom. Next, layer in the meat slices.
- Mix the sumac, turmeric, salt and pepper, and sprinkle a third of this over the meat, and then add the rest of the onions.
- Rinse any salt off the aubergines and arrange them on top, then the garlic slices and another third of the spice mix.
- Add the sliced quince, then top this with the rest of the spice mix and the chopped tomatoes.
- Mix the water with the tomato paste and the rest of the oil, whisk to combine, and pour over the top.
- Cover tightly and cook on a low heat for an hour and a half (I cooked for two hours on account of using mutton). (At this point I turned off the heat and went to bed.)
- Remove the lid and add the potato slices, and spoon some of the gravy over the top. Continue to simmer for a further half hour until the potatoes are tender and most of the gravy has cooked down.
- Sprinkle with a pinch of sumac, and serve with bread and a little light salad.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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.