Tag Archives: lamb

a weekend's cooking

We had already set aside Saturday evening to make a batch of Pete’s Wondrous Chilli – the beans were boiled and slow-cookered on Friday night, and we set to and made it yesterday afternoon.  4lbs of lovely Dexter stewing beef was turned into 10 really rather generous portions; we shall have  some for supper tonight, and four tubs have gone in the freezer.  We cooked it overnight in the slow cooker, and the smell drove us quite demented.

Yesterday, Pete sallied forth with his bicycle and trailer to do the shopping, and returned bearing (amongst lots of other things) two huge bunches of herbs; one of coriander, and one of fenugreek, which I’ve never seen before in its fresh form.

The coriander was easy – we found four chicken breasts in the freezer (we are really getting it under control now!) and a batch of lemony coriander chicken is in the slow cooker now.

I’ve never cooked with fenugreek before, but we put some leaves in the chilli (well, why not?!).  I also minced up the last of the breast of lamb we had last week, grated up carrot, celery and onion, chopped garlic and fried it up with the lamb. Added my version of the Ras El Hanout spices I love so much*, and bunged in about a cup full of lentils. And more fenugreek. That’s currently cooking slowly downstairs on a diffuser, for a moussaka in the week.

I’ve had enough now, although I might just whip up a pear and chocolate crumble, as there are pears that need eating. (Pete has just said “ohmigod”).

* I should have made a note, but I used lavender, rose petals, paprika, cloves, cinnamon, ground ginger, galangal, coriander seeds, cardamon seeds, peppercorns, mace.  It might not be authentic, but it smells nice.

slow cooked breast of lamb

slow cooked breast of lamb

Still on the freezer clearout, we liberated a rolled breast of salt marsh lamb, and a cooked chicken breast.  This is what I did with the lamb.

Put some haricot beans to soak overnight, then simmered them for 30 minutes.

Browned the lamb in some groundnut oil.

Into the slow cooker went: lamb, beans, one courgette, two carrots, two leeks (all diced), about six cloves of garlic, crushed, about 3/4 pint apple juice, some woody herbs (rosemary, etc).  I drizzled a little honey on top of the lamb too. It smelled lovely, but something seemed to be missing, and after some consideration, I added a couple of generous teaspoons of harissa.

Left it on low for about 9 hours, topping up with a little boiling water part way through the afternoon.

Served with boiled potatoes and steamed broccoli.

The rest of the beany vegetable stock will go for soup, and I might well mince up the remainder of the lamb for a shepherd’s pie – I can always boost it up with lentils if need be.

lamb massaman

We’re trying to clear out the freezer in the shed, so we can replace it with another, smaller one.  And there was a shoulder of lamb, so I thought I’d give this a go.

for the massaman sauce:
4 dried chillis, soaked in boiling water for about  20 minutes
1 tsp each cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, and 2 tsp black peppercorns, dry fried then ground
1 onion and about 12 cloves of garlic, chopped, and fried off (I used the remnant of the lamb frying oil, and a dollop of sesame oil to top it off)
a knob of fresh ginger
juice of a lime
some kaffir lime leaves
some bay leaves
half a cinnamon stick
some sea salt
a tin of coconut milk (except I discovered I didn’t have any, so used coconut powder).

other ingredients:
about 2lbs or so of lamb
1 aubergine, 2 sweet potatoes (peeled), 1 butternut squash (peeled and deseeded) all diced
honey
fish sauce

The slow cooker recipes I found said 8-9 hours, which I didn’t have, so I cut some corners and pre-cooked some stuff, and cooked it for seven hours – it would have been ok at six hours, I think.

I started dicing the meat off the shoulder of lamb, but it was a tedious job, and I gave up part way through, figuring it would be much easier when it was cooked 🙂  The lamb was then browned in some groundnut oil, including the large bit with the bone in, then put in the slow cooker, which I turned on to keep the meat warm.

All the ingredients for the massaman went into the food processor and were comprehensively whizzed.  Then, as part of the speeding up process, I put the paste into the frying pan I’d used for lamb and onions, fried it off for a minute or so, and added the coconut milk.  Brought it up to the boil and put it in the slow cooker.

I simmered the aubergine, sweet potato and butternut squash for about 8 minutes to get them started, and put them in.  Then a good squirt of honey, and some fish sauce into the pot.

We then had to put up with the smell all day, which wasn’t easy.  It was sublime.

I don’t know why some people say that slow cooking doesn’t give you the flavour – I’ve never made any sort of curry that flavoured the meat so well.  And there’s at least two tubs’ worth for the freezer too.

We ate it with brown basmati rice (which I still don’t really like but needs eating up) and some potatoes fried up with Indian spices).