CATEGORIES: Baking, Breakfast, Beef, Chicken, Fish, Lamb, Pasta, Pork, Ramen, Vegetarian

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Lamb

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Greek Lamb Stew

Ingredients

4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed

5 1/2 pounds boned shoulder of lamb, trimmed of excess fat and cut into cubes about 1 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches

5 medium onions, sliced finely

Salt

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 celery stalks, minced

Leaves from 4 thyme sprigs

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 bay leaves

2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthways, and then halved across

3 (14.5 ounces) cans diced tomatoes

1 1/4 cups lamb, beef stock or water

1 bottle dry white wine

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound ditalini or other small tubular pasta

2/3 pound feta cheese

2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, oregano or basil leaves

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

  2. Into the largest saucepan or casserole you have that will go into the oven, pour 3 tablespoons of the oil. Brown the meat in batches over high heat and remove with a slotted spoon to a plate nearby. You may need more oil as you do this. The onions will certainly need it, so pour the remaining oil or add more, add the onions, sprinkling a little salt over them and cook then until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, celery, thyme, and oregano. After a couple of minutes or so, when the smell of garlic wafts up, remove half the mixture. Add the meat to the mixture in the pan, cover with the remaining half, add the bay leaves, carrots, tomatoes, stock and wine. I use a big but flattish casserole and this amount of liquid covers the meat, but if you find you need more liquid, add water- you want a lot of liquid, because you will, eventually, be cooking some pasta in it. Bring to a boil, remove scum, and let bubble for about 3 minutes. Then cover, transfer to the oven, and bake for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or cook on a very low heat. The meat should be tender and yielding. Remove the carrots (and eat, cook's treat) and bay leaves, too, if you want, and season, to taste, with the salt and pepper.

  3. Of course you can proceed to the final stage now, but I am presuming you're not going to. In which case, let the stew cool and keep it in the refrigerator until you want it. Skim the fat off the top, and do remember to take it out of the refrigerator a good 1 to 2 hours before you cook it again. You can reheat this in the oven, but because the pasta will be put in on the stove, I tend to heat it there. Make sure the stew is piping hot. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it boils, add the salt and then pasta. Cook this until it's nearly but not quite cooked; it should have a couple of minutes still to go.

  4. Then drain the pasta and add it quickly to the bubbling juices in the casserole, making sure first that there are enough bubbling juices. You don't want the meat to be drowned, but you want enough for the pasta to be covered. The pasta will absorb some of the liquid as it finishes cooking, of course.

  5. In a couple of minutes, the pasta should be cooked. Crumble some feta and put in a bowl with the chopped parsley, oregano, or basil. Stir to combine and then leave the spoon with it, so that people can sprinkle the herb-spiked cheese over the stew as they wish. Ladle the stew into shallow soup bowls.

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Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas and Apricots

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

3/4 cup dried chickpeas
5 garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 lbs. lamb shoulder, cut into 1" cubes
salt and ground black pepper
1 large onion, diced
3 tbsp. Ras el Hanout
1 tbsp. chopped peeled ginger
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
Chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

Soak chickpeas overnight. Drain and place in medium saucepan. Add 2 whole garlic cloves and cinnamon stick. Add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until chickpeas are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain; set aside.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Brown lamb in batches, about 4 minutes per batch. Set lamb aside.

Add onion to pot; reduce heat to medium, season with salt and pepper, and saute until soft and beginning to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic, Ras el Hanout and ginger. Stir for 1 minute.

Add tomatoes and lamb with any accompanying juices. Bring to a boil. Add 2 1/2 cups stock. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lamb is tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Stir in chickpeas; simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir in apricots; simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with couscous and fresh cilantro.

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Orecchiette with Merguez and Ramps

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Orecchiette with Merguez and Ramps

You can easily substitute another type of sausage (hot or sweet) and any greens you like, such as leeks, broccoli rabe, kale, or spinach. Just toss in a little garlic or onion right after you brown the sausage if you’re not using something from the allium family.

SERVES 4, WITH LEFTOVERS

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound (340g) Lamb Merguez or any loose sausage
  • 6 ounces (170g) ramps (about 15 large), cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 pound (450g) orecchiette or other short pasta
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)
  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the merguez, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks
  2. Meanwhile, slice the white bulbs of the ramps finely and coarsely chop the leaves, keeping them separate. Add the bulbs to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften and start to brown, a few minutes. Add the leaves and cook until just wilted, another minute or so. Turn off the heat and set aside. 
  3. Cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sausage and ramps and cook briefly over medium heat, stirring through an using some of the cooking liquid to losen things up and create a silky sauce. Serve immediately, with Parmesan.

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Boneless Lamb Shoulder Roast

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup washed and dried fresh parsley leaves
  • 4 medium or 2 large garlic cloves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • One 3-4 lb boneless shoulder roast

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Mince together the parsley and garlic until quite fine. Add a big pinch of salt and some pepper and enough oil to make a slurry. Smear this on and in the lamb - making sure to get it in every nook and cranny. Put the lamb in the roasting pan.
  2. Roast for about 1 1/2 hours, basting every 30 mins. When the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees, crank the heat up to 400 degrees and roast for about 10 mins more, or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees and the exterior is browned nicely.
  3. Let the roast sit and rest for about 10 mins.

 

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Spiced Lamb Patties with Nutty Garlic Sauce

Ingredients

SERVINGS: 4

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 1 pound ground lamb, preferably shoulder
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ small head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ¼ English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 4 pita bread or flatbreads
  • Mixed tender herb leaves (such as cilantro and mint; for serving)

Preparation:  active, 30 mins, total: 30 mins

  • Whisk garlic, almond butter, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. oil, and 2 Tbsp. water in a small bowl until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Set sauce aside.

  • Using your hands, gently mix lamb, onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, 2 Tbsp. oil, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper in a large bowl just to combine. Form into twelve ¾”-thick patties.

  • Heat a dry large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, cook patties, pressing slightly to flatten, until browned on the outside but still pink in the center, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet; let rest 5 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, toss cabbage, cucumber, radishes, and remaining 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper.

  • Serve lamb patties with pita bread, salad, herbs, and reserved sauce.

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Lamb Shank Pie

Makes 6 small pies

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 lamb shanks
salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 cup red wine
3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon sugar
puff pastry

  1. Heat oven to 375F.
  2. Melt oil and butter in a large pan.
  3. Rub the shanks well in with salt and pepper.
  4. Brown on all sides in the pan.
  5. Take them out and add onion and garlic.
  6. Sauté until the garlic is soft.
  7. Add bay leaf, cumin, red wine, stock, tomato pure and sugar.
  8. Stir well and add the shanks.
  9. Put on a lid and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.
  10. Take them out and let it cool.
  11. Pull of the meat and add the meat to the sauce.
  12. Put the mixture into small pie pans.
  13. Roll out the puff pastry and top each pie with it.
  14. Cut out hearts and place on top.
  15. Bake at 375F until golden.
  16. Serve warm.

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Lamb cutlets with mint, chili and golden potatoes

If you put your halved baby potatoes on to steam before you get started on the lamb chops, you can fairly effortlessly rely on a proper meat-and-potato supper in around 20 minutes (plus a little marinading time). Steaming the potatoes is, for me, an important stipulation: a steamed spud is a sweet spud; more than that, cooked this way, rather than by boiling, the potatoes are dry when done, which makes them easy to fry to crisp bronzedness.

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs 2 oz baby new potatoes, washed and halved but not peeled

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes

  • 1 tsp dried mint

  • 1/2 tsp celery salt

  • 8 lamb cutlets, preferably organic, trimmed of fat

  • 100g / 3 1/2 oz rocket

  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes or ½ tsp pouring salt

  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Preparation method

  1. Put the halved baby potatoes on to steam.

  2. Get out a large dish – in which the lamb cutlets will fit in a single layer – and first pour into it the olive oil and sprinkle in the chilli flakes, dried mint and celery salt.

  3. Using one lamb cutlet as if it were a wooden spoon, smoosh the oil with its sprinklings around a bit, so that it is rather better mixed, then place the lamb cutlets in a single layer, turn them instantly, and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

  4. Heat a large, heavy-based, non-stick frying-pan – big enough for all the cutlets to fit in – then duly place them all in it (the oil that clings to them from the marinade is plenty enough for them to fry in) and fry over a medium heat for five minutes. While the cutlets cook, check that the potatoes are tender, which they should be by now; in which case, turn the heat off under your steamer.

  5. Using tongs (for ease), turn the cutlets over and cook for a further three minutes. If you are going to make this an entire one-plate meal, strew the bottom of a large serving platter with rocket, or any other leafage you desire, and when the lamb cutlets are cooked, but still juicily pink, remove them to the salad-lined (or, indeed, naked) plate. Obviously, cook for longer if you like your lamb well done.

  6. Tip the steamed potatoes into the pan and fry for three minutes, then turn them over and fry for another three minutes, shaking the pan every now and again to make them tumble and turn in the hot, spiced fat.

  7. Using a slotted spatula or similar, transfer the potatoes to the plate of cutlets and sprinkle with one teaspoon of sea salt flakes (I like these plenty salty, but if you have more austere tastes or are feeding small children, then decrease the salt or ignore the command altogether) and the chopped parsley and mint.

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Aromatic Lamb Shank Stew

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, divided
  • 8 lamb shanks
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Sprinkling salt
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 dried red chile pepper, crumbled, or 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Marsala wine
  • 6 tablespoons red lentils

Couscous:

  • About 2 3/4 cups (18 ounces) couscous
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • Approximately 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in 2 slices
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • Scant 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons pistachios

Directions:

Put 3 tablespoons of the oil into a very large, wide, heavy-bottomed pan and warm over medium heat. Brown the lamb shanks, in batches, in the pan and then remove to a roasting pan or whatever else you've got at hand to sit them in.

Peel the onions and garlic and process in a food processor or chop them finely by hand. Add the remaining oil to the pan, and fry the onion-garlic mush until soft, sprinkling salt over to stop it sticking.

Stir in the turmeric, ground ginger, chile, cinnamon and nutmeg and season with some freshly ground pepper. Stir again, adding the honey, soy sauce and Marsala. Put the shanks back in the pan, add cold water almost to cover, bring to the boil then put a lid on the pan, lower the heat and simmer very gently for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Add the red lentils and cook for about 20 minutes longer with the lid, until the lentils have softened into the sauce and the juices have reduced and thickened slightly. Check for seasoning.

Toast the nuts by heating them for a few minutes in a dry frying pan, and sprinkle onto the lamb as you serve it.

Couscous:

Fill the bottom of a steamer, or base of a couscoussier should you possess one, with water and bring to a boil. When it looks like it's almost ready to boil, fill the kettle and put it on, then empty the couscous into a glass bowl, add the salt, crush in the cardamom and mix with your fingers, then pour over a quart of boiling water from the kettle and place a plate on top of the bowl. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then drain and empty into the steamer or couscoussier top and sit this on top of the boiling water beneath. Add the slices of butter on top of the couscous then clamp on the lid and let steam for about 7 to 10 minutes, by which time the couscous should be tenderly cooked and the butter melting. (You can do this a simpler way if you prefer, by just steeping the couscous in the boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes, but the grains will be more dense and more likely to clump. It's not disastrous, however, and you must decide what you're prepared to do.)

Meanwhile, toast the almonds by frying them in a dry pan until fragrant and golden, remove them to a plate, then do the same to the pine nuts. Chop the pistachios. Once the couscous is cooked, tip the bowl, fork through (and always use a fork for mixing or fluffing up couscous; a spoon will crush it and turn it stodgy), sprinkling in the almonds and pine nuts as you do so (and taste for seasoning at the same time, too). Now fork in most of the pistachios, and sprinkle those that remain lightly on top.

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Lamb Ragu over Polenta

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 lbs lamb
3 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
5 tablespoons tomato paste

In large heavy bottomed pan that has a lid, heat the olive oil over high heat. While it’s heating up, salt the lamb, add pepper to taste, and then brown it on all sides. Remove to a bowl.

Turn the heat to medium and add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic to the pan. Stir several times until the onion begins to become translucent, about five minutes.

Return the lamb to the pan, add the water, wine, vinegar, bay leaves, and tomato paste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then turn to low, cover, and simmer for as long as you can but at least two hours. We did this one for six hours and were really happy we were able to let it go so long. Cook uncovered for the last 45-60 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

Serve over creamy polenta with wilted greens, and a sprinkle of shredded Pecorino Romano.

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