This recipe originally by Mary Cadogan, is based on a Greek classic. It’s made using Orzo, a widely available small rice sized pasta, which is used in place or the original Greek ingredient; Manestra.
It’s an easy recipe but takes a while to cook, however the flavoursome and tender lamb makes it all worthwhile
1kg shoulder of lamb
2 onions, sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried if you don’t have fresh)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
2 tbsp olive oil
400g can chopped tomatoes
1.2l chicken or vegetable stock, hot.
freshly grated parmesan , to serve
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
Cut the lamb into 4cm chunks and spread over the base of a large, wide casserole dish.
Add the onions, oregano, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon and olive oil, then stir well.
Bake, uncovered, for 45 mins, stirring halfway.
Pour over the chopped tomatoes and stock, cover tightly, then return to the oven for 1½ hrs, until the lamb is very tender.
Remove the cinnamon sticks, then stir in the orzo.
Cover again, then return to the oven and bake for a further 20 mins, stirring halfway through.
The orzo should be cooked and the sauce thickened.
Serve, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and serve with fresh crusty bread (like Soda Bread).
This recipe can be frozen, just cool and freeze after step 4 and defrost and return to a casserole dish, gently bring to a boil (adding some water if it looks a little dry) and restart at step 5.
This is another British classic, a regional stew from Lancashire, in the North West of the England for those who aren’t from these parts. Although using a cheaper cut of meat, neck fillet, the taste is spectacular and it’s slow cooking ensures that the meat is soft and unctuous add in the layers of potato and celeriac it makes a great comfort food after a cold winters day on “t’moors” or anywhere else.
If you can’t get neck fillet, trimmed and cubed lamb rump works just as well.
300g floury potatoes, like King Eward, scrubbed and thinly sliced
Preheat the oven 150C/140C fan/Gas Mark 2
Trim any excess fat from the lamb and cut into cunky bite sized pieces
Pop the seasoned flour onto a plate and use it to dust the lamb cubes
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a 2 litre Cast Iron casserole and brown the lamb in batches, don’t crowd the pan as this will cause the lamb to steam rather than fry and it won’t brown, in this case less is more (If you don’t have a flame proof casserole, use a frying pan and stew in a 2 litre oven proof dish). The browned lamb will give the gravy a rich colour and flavour.
Once browned put the lamb on a plate.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the onions for 2 minutes or until the start to soften.
Pop in the remaining oil and add the mushrooms and thyme and fry for a further 5 minutes, when the mushrooms should have softened.
Put the lamb back into the onion and mushrooms and stir
Pour over the stock and layer the celeriac, covering the top of the mixture.
Top with the potato slices creating a nice layered look.
Cover with a lid or foil and place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours
Uncover and cook for a further hour or until the potato topping is crispy and golden.
Leave to rest for 15 mins, this will allow the potato starch to bind the the stew slightly.
Serve with some steamed Chanteney carrot and green beans or tender stemmed broccoli.
We were meandering through the supermarket this weekend, doing the weekly shop and I happened across a piece of Lamb’s breast at a massively discounted price. As this cut is a cheap cut anyway, it was practically being given away, I instantly remembered this recipe from Simon Hopkinson, so I just had to buy it.
Although it takes a few hours to cook, it’s an exceptionally easy, slow roasted affair, that gives a sweet, tasty and succulent roast to what can be a tough cut.
Serves 4 – Gluten Free
1.6 kg lamb breast, boned and rolled (you should be able to get your butcher to do this for you)
fine salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1.6 kg brown onions, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp anchovy essence (or several finely chopped anchovies), or to taste.
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
Season the lamb with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
Heat the oil in a large, lidded roomy casserole dish until hot.
Place the lamb breast into the casserole dish, turn down the heat and colour well on all sides, until golden-brown.
Lift out the meat and remove all fat from the dish with a spoon.
Add half of the onions to make a bed of onions on which to rest the lamb and add the lamb back into to the dish.
Tuck in the bay leaf and cover with the remaining onions.
Cut a circle of greaseproof paper slightly bigger than the diameter of the dish. Dampen it, lightly grease one side, and press it onto the onions (greased side down).
Put on the lid cook in the oven for about three hours.
After an hour, remove the dish to see whether the onion mixture has reduced and to check that the natural juices are running. Scrape down the side of the dish if the onions have stuck.
Replace the paper and lid and place the dish into the oven again.
After about three hours of cooking (check after another hour), push a skewer into the lamb to see how tender it is; there should be little resistance.
Lift out the meat, put it into a small roasting tin and cover with foil. Turn down the oven again to 140C/275F/Gas 1, and return the meat to the oven.
Remove the bay leaf from the onions and drain the onions, reserving the cooking juices.
Put the onions back into the casserole.
Remove any fat that has settled on the surface of the cooking juices (lay a piece of kitchen towel onto the liquid for a moment, to do this, it’s a darn sight easier then trying to do it with a spoon).
Pour the liquid back in with the onions, and simmer until the volume of liquid has reduced by half. Stir in the vinegar and anchovy essence.
Season the onions to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Remove the lamb from the oven (if any meaty juices have exuded from the resting lamb, add them to the onions), cut off the strings and thickly slice the meat.
Arrange the slices onto a hot serving dish and pile the onions alongside.