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. 

 
 

Curried mutton pie

This is a recipe from ‘Original Flava’ – an excellent starter for West Indian cookery. I didn’t follow the recipe in the book (do I ever) but it reflects my own tastes and also what is available in the garden. I am looking out recipes to use up the last of the maincrop potatoes for last year, and this one fit the bill well. Also, who knew that adding creamed coconut or coconut milk to mashed potato was so good.

Remember to start the night before, and then allow a couple of hours cooking time on the day of eating.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.2kg mutton, boned and diced
  • 1 tbsp West Indian curry powder (from seasoned pioneers)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • salt and pepper (approx 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste)
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 125ml water
  • 1/2 tsp scotch bonnet pepper paste, or to taste
  • 2 carrots or 1 turnip, diced.
  • 6+ large maincrop potatoes, such as Maris Piper or Arran Victory, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 125ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • A pinch of thyme leaves

METHOD:

  • Put the mutton in a plastic container with the curry powder, dried thyme, ginger, allspice, salt and pepper, and leave in the fridge overnight. 
  • In a large cooking pot, heat the oil and then gently fry the onion and garlic until they are soft
  • Add the spiced mutton, and fry until browned. 
  • Add the 200m coconut milk, water, scotch bonnet and chopped carrots/turnip and mix. Cook on a low heat for a couple of hours until the meat is very tender. Adjust seasoning if required.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C – Gas 4
  • Steam the potatoes for around 15 minutes, until soft and cooked through
  • Mash the potatoes with 125ml coconut milk, butter, salt and pepper, and a pinch of thyme leaves. (The original recipe includes chilli flakes, but I think it is better to have the potato as a contrast, not so spicy)
  • Put the stewed mutton in a casserole dish or deep pie dish, top with the mashed potato, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until the mashed potato is beginning to brown. 

I served this with sprouts. It would also be good with a spinach side dish.

 

Mutton Paprika

This stew is so tender, so tasty, and so simple. Tonight we served it with mashed potatoes, but it is also great with dumplings. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 kg neck of mutton or lamb, chopped
  • 3 tbsp mild paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 500ml stock
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • chopped parsley 

METHOD:

  • Check the meat over, remove any excess fat or loose bits of splintered bone. I leave the neck chops with the bone in. 
  • Mix the spices, salt and pepper, flour and meat together in a container, seal it and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to cook; this could be overnight, but don’t worry if you forget and don’t have so much time. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a large casserole pan, and gently fry the onions until they are soft. 
  • Add the meat and heat through, before adding the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours or so. This can be done in the oven, temp 130 C
  • Once it is cooked, add the lemon juice (which is optional) and serve garnished with chopped parsley. 
  • If you want dumplings, mix 225g self-raising flour with 110g suet and chopped parsley, and add enough ice-cold water to make a loose dough. Make balls of dough about the size of walnuts, and drop them into the stew. Let them cook for around 20 minutes. 

Delicious. Also, adaptable. You can swap around the stock, add wine, add a few herbs such as bay leaves and oregano, add sliced potatoes for the last hour of cooking instead of dumplings. 

Mutton Curry, Jamaican style

I made this with some odd cuts of mutton from the freezer, I had about 1kg of meat, including some ribs and other odds and ends. I started with a recipe from Original Flava for Curry Goat, and scaled up the ingredients. There’s actually several versions on their website, so I didn’t feel so bad adjusting it to fit what I had. I made the main part of the stew the night before I needed it, but because the ingredients needed marinaded, I actually started the prep on Tuesday for a meal on Thursday. The actual cooking part is very easy, and the end result is very very tasty, and quite hot. 

The other thing that would be good to get ahead of starting is some scotch bonnet pepper paste, ground allspice and Caribbean curry powder, which is quite mild. They are all available online. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1kg mutton, cut into chunks about 3cm across
  • Caribbean curry powder – around 3 tbsp
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2cm ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 cm ginger root, chopped
  • 1 can of coconut milk (I only had around 300ml, not a full can, it was still delicious)
  • 300ml vegetable stock or water
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 6 small waxy potatoes, cleaned and cut into chunks
  • 1/3 tsp scotch bonnet chilli paste
  • If you wish, add chopped tomatoes. I added two ripe tomatoes that were minding their own business in the vegetable rack.

METHOD:

  • Chop the meat, leave bones in. In a large container with a lid, mix the mutton with 1 tbsp curry powder, salt, pepper, allspice and turmeric, and leave to marinade in the fridge overnight. 
  • The next day, heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a large pan and add a tablespoonful of curry powder. Fry the meat in batches, and set the browned meat aside in a bowl. 
  • Check there is enough oil in the pan, and the fry the onion over a medium to high heat, until it is beginning to brown, and then add the ginger and garlic. Continue to cook for another couple of minutes
  • Add a little coconut milk and the scotch bonnet paste, mix it in and then add the mutton back into the pan. Stir it all together and then add the rest of the coconut milk, tomatoes, another 2 tbsp of curry powder, thyme and stock, and then cook the stew in a slow oven, around 150C for 2 hours. Once this step is complete, you could freeze the stew or put it in the fridge ready to finish the cooking later. 
  • Add the potatoes and the sliced spring onions, and simmer for another 30 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked. 

    This stew is one of those that benefits from being eaten the day after, as the flavours mingle together. Serve with rice. 

Lamb with vegetables, oranges and white wine.

This is an Italian recipe from Elizabeth David’s classic, ‘Italian Food’. It is delicious even if not cooked perfectly. I was very lucky and bought some really good quality hogget from West Gerinish, very tender, very tasty. I also used the mystery herbs – called ‘herbs for meat’ or ‘Italian seasoning’, possibly. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • About 900g to 1kg lamb cut in one piece from the leg.
  • A couple of carrots, chopped
  • A stick of celery, chopped
  • an onion, chopped
  • Chopped turnip, about the same volume as the carrot
  • Rind of 1 sweet orange
  • Juice of half the orange
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tbsp mystery herbs, or use oregano or marjoram
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 can of chopped tomato
  • 2 glasses sweet white wine (or one of table wine, one of marsala)
  • olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A splash of balsamic vinegar
  • About 200ml stock (vegetable, chicken or lamb)

METHOD:

  • Chop a clove of garlic finely, and rub it into the meat along with a handful of the mystery herbs, salt and pepper. 
  • Brown the meat in a little oil in a casserole dish, and then set aside.
  • In the same pan, fry the chopped onion slowly in the onion, and then add the garlic, and the rest of the chopped vegetables, garlic, coriander and orange rind, and cook until softened. 
  • Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer then add the meat and white wine, and salt and pepper, and 200ml of stock. The meat should cook on a bed of vegetable stew, slowly roasting in the steam. 
  • Cover and simmer gently for two hours. This works better in a low oven. Keep an eye on the stew to make sure it doesn’t boil dry. 
  • At the end of cooking, squeeze the juice of half an orange over the meat and let it settle before serving. 

 

Persian Lamb and Celery Stew (Khoresht-e Karafs)

We got hold of some locally raised mutton the other week, and the first thing I made was this, so delicious. I love Persian food, and this recipe is just wonderful, so subtle and warming. It should be served with barberry rice, (zereshk polo), but we had it with plain rice, because I didn’t know at the time. 

The recipe is from Maryam Sinaiee’s book, Nightingales and Roses. All of the recipes I have tried from this book have been easy to follow, and delicious. She also writes a food blog called The Persian Fusion, which has a good gluten-free section as well. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large head of cellery
  • 100g flat-leaf parsley
  • 80g mint leaves
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 500g lamb or mutton, cut into chunks (preferably lamb neck fillet or lean shoulder, but I had a bit of leg)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp plain foulr
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • black pepper

METHOD:

  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy casserole dish, and fry the onions over a moderate heat, until they start to brown
  • Add the lamb/mutton and the turmeric, and fry until lightly browed on all sides. 
  • Pour over boiling water, to cover the meat by a couple of centimetres. Bring to the boil, and then lower the heat so that the lamb/mutton can cook for the next hour. 
  • Next up, prepare the herbs. Remove any tough-looking stems from the mint and parsley, and add any leaves from the celery. Put them in a food processor, or slice finely. This makes quite a mound of chopped herbs. 
  • While the lamb continues to cook, cut the celery stalks into 2 centimetre pieces. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, and add the celery along with 2 tbsp water, and cover. The celery should cook for about half an hour, until almost soft and beginning to brown at the edges. 
  • Once the meat has been cooking for an hour, add the cooked celery pieces with all their juices. 
  • In the frying pan, heat another 2 tbsp oil, and add the herbs and flour, stir and cook for 4-5 minutes, making sure that the herbs don’t burn. Add the cooked herbs to the stew. 
  • Bring the stew back to the boil and cook for another hour (possibly an hour and a half) – the meat should be really tender and the sauce should be thickened. 
  • Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, cook for a further five minutes. 

Serve with rice; I will test out the Zereshk Polo recipe soon.