Tender breast of lamb roll:

Tender breast of lamb roll:

PICTURE 27

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      2 hrs +.

Course:        Main

Serves:        2 people per breast of lamb

Rating:         3:  Moderate

Rolled & Stuffed Breast of Lamb.    Go talk to your local butcher and make a friend.  After a while, you’ll be able to get a boned-out breast of lamb at a reasonable price.  Supermarkets may have packaged ones available but try to use your butcher for this particular cut – you’ll most probably get a better product and, after a while, possibly at a better price.  Buy several at a time, roll them and stuff them and freeze them.  Cook one, freeze three. 

Find:

  • Boned out breast of lamb
  • Mushrooms, carrots, leeks, other veg. Whatever you wish can be shoved in the middle as stuffing.  Dried apricots are lovely!
  • Metal skewers or bamboo kebab sticks to hold it together
  • Foil
  • Oil
  • Seasoning
  • Oven dish or tin

Method:

  • Trim up the breast of lamb so that it’s nice and neat, putting all the trimmings into the stuffing. Yep, all the grotty bits too, so long as it’s not gristle.
  • Stuffing? Well, I like to use any veg I have mushrooms, carrots, leeks, ….. whatever you wish.  Use your imagination.  The veg can be past its best as it will be inside the rolled-up lamb.  Remember that dried apricots go well in this…..
  • Roll up the lamb breast and secure with metal skewers or bamboo kebab sticks.
  • Place in an oven tin, drizzle a little oil over the top and put about a cup of water in the tin to keep it moist. Season lightly.
  • Cook under foil long and low – for a couple of hours or so (or longer if you have the time) on around 120 degrees or so; it’s tasty meat but it needs time to tenderise or it’ll be tough. An amount of fat will come off.  Deal with it as described in Tricks’n’Tips.  You could use the ice-cube trick should you want to use the juices for the gravy this time (also in Tricks’n’Tips) then give the lamb a further half hour without the foil just to brown a bit.
  • Serve sliced, with roasted veg – oh yes.

Shepherd’s Skins:

Shepherd’s Skins:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      40 mins.

Course:        Snack/Lunch

Serves:        AMAR

Rating:         2:  Easy

  • Mince mixture as above for Lamb Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob
  • Potatoes for baking
  • Grated cheese for the topping
  • A splash of milk
  • Seasoning
  • Any extra veg as desirable

Method:

  • As Cottage Skins.

Shepherd’s Pie:

Shepherd’s Pie:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      1 hr.

Course:        Snack/Lunch/Main

Serves:        4

Rating:         2:  Easy

(Shepherd’s pie is the one that is made with lamb mince and is topped with mash)

Find:

  • Mince mixture as above for Lamb Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob
  • Potatoes for the mash
  • Grated cheese for the topping
  • A splash of milk
  • Seasoning
  • Any extra veg as desirable

Method:

  • Peel the potatoes putting them into a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 20+ mins.
  • Drain and mash.
  • Follow the above for the Lamb Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob mixture. Add any other veg you would like to; there are very few rules with Shepherd’s Pie.
  • Pour the mixture into the oven dish & spread evenly. Spoon or pipe the mash (of whatever variation) on top of the mixture in the oven dish.
  • Use a fork to even it all out and to leave some sort of pattern on the top to allow it to crunch up in the oven.
  • Season the mash with black pepper and salt, sprinkle the grated cheese on top and splash a little milk over it all.
  • Bake in a medium oven for half an hour.

BASE ITEM – Lamb Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob:

Lamb Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob:

Prep:           510mins.

Cooking:      40 mins.

Course:        Snack/Lunch/Main/Part of any of them

Serves:        4

Rating:         2:  Easy

Find:

  • Small pack lamb mince (400g)
  • Onion
  • 1 carrot (size as you wish)
  • 1 or 2 cloves crushed/chopped garlic
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 or 2 lamb stock cubes
  • Tomato puree
  • Red wine if you have it
  • Oil
  • Seasoning
  • Frying pan

Method:

  • Break up the lamb mince with a fork into a lightly oiled pan and fry over a high heat to colour the meat. It will produce an amount of fat which should be poured off and dealt with as in Tricks’n’Tips.
  • Turn the pan down to a medium heat. Chop the onion, carrot and garlic finely and soften with the mince for 5 mins.
  • Add a can of tomatoes, pour in a glass or so of red wine and add a good squeeze or dollop of tomato puree.
  • Season well with black pepper as the tomatoes will certainly benefit from it. Leave the salt until you taste it later as the stock cube will add a certain amount.
  • Put the pan onto the lowest heat; lodge a lid half-way on and just simmer for about 30 mins. Season to taste and use it to make whatever dish you are doing.  This will be suitable for serving with baked spuds, it can be spiced up for couscous or served with white rice.  It is also ready for the filling for Shepherd’s pie and can be used for Shepherd’s Skins.

Navarine of Lamb:

Navarine of Lamb:

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      3 hours in two sessions (2+1), ideally with an overnight rest between.

Course:        Main

Serves:        8

Rating:         3:  Moderate, but well worth the effort and time put in, as this version is a twice-cooked dish; cooked one day, left overnight to cool and then heated through again the following day.

Navarine is a low-cost but absolutely delicious French lamb stew with various root vegetables and button onions cooked in a two-session format.

It’s called Navarine because of the turnips (Turnip = Navet in French).  Make your own decisions as to what veg should be put into it.  Turnips are not actually compulsory, even though the name might suggest so.

For 8 people, find:

  • 2 kg of some sort of cheap, boneless stewing lamb (probably boned-out neck).
  • Root veg – carrots, turnips, potatoes
  • Celery
  • Button onions – the cheapest ones from the supermarket
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • A good dollop/squeeze of tomato puree
  • A dollop (that is ‘a dollop’, not ‘a good dollop……’) of whole grain mustard.  Yeah, right….whatever!  Face…bovvered….?
  • Left-over red wine (A friend of mine has to ask…. “Is there such a thing as LEFT-OVER wine?”)
  • Two mugs of stock (see Tricks’n’Tips)
  • Some fresh thyme – if fresh is not available, use dried
  • Fresh chopped parsley if you can get hold of it – a hefty handful
  • Four tablespoons of flour of some sort
  • A large saucepan that will also go into the oven (cast iron le Creusot?) or a large oven dish and a saucepan.

Method:

  • If the meat is not already cubed, cut to 1” cubes on a chopping board. If it’s already cubed, just trim off any really large lumps of fat.  Don’t be over-fussy with trimming as the long, slow cooking will melt away most of the now-grotty-looking bits – that’s one of the beauties of this dish, it makes beautiful food from relatively cheap cuts of meat.
  • Put some olive oil and butter into the saucepan, allow it to melt and mingle, and then introduce the lamb….Lamb, this is butter and oil….Butter and oil this is Lamb……
  • Turn the heat up to high. There needs to be space in the pan for the lamb to brown.  If the lamb is too crowded in the pan, it will start to sweat, lose moisture and refuse to brown.  We want the surface to brown, to enhance the lamb flavours – give it space.  You may have to do this in several batches, adding further oil/butter as necessary, to get it all browned properly.  The browning process intensifies the wonderful taste of the relatively cheaper cut of lamb so do not miss this out!
  • Put all the lamb back into the saucepan when browned, and bung in the flour.
  • Stir it all in with the oil, butter, juices, etc so that they are all really well absorbed.
  • Put the wine into frying pan to ‘de-glaze’ it and stir/scrape all the sticky bits into the heating wine. It will SHUSH dramatically….. just pretend you’re a chef.  If using two pans, pour the contents of the (now cleaner) frying pan into the saucepan.
  • Add the stock. Boil up.
  • Add the root veg, onions, garlic and everything else except the parsley.  If the saucepan is suitable for the oven, put on the lid and pop into the oven at gas mk 2 for a couple of hours.
  • Check after an hour to ensure it is not drying out. Add more stock (or wine) if necessary.
  • If the pan is not suitable for use in the oven, tip all the contents into an oven dish and cover with foil or a lid.
  • After the two hours, check it for liquid and leave it in the now switched-off oven – overnight if possible.

It really is worth doing this dish over two days.  Honest.

  • The following day, with a fish slice or spatula or something wide and flat, carefully lift off as much of the fat layer that has now formed on the top of the stew into a cup and deal with it appropriately (see Tricks’n’Tips – dealing with fats). This makes it much nicer and, of course, lower fat!  If it was oven cooked in an oven dish, put it all now into a large saucepan – if necessary, borrow one from the rather pretty little miss that you spotted down the road the other day…. then you can ask her to dinner as repayment…..
  • Put the pan over a medium heat and bring to simmering, then turn down to the lowest heat possible. Try not to disturb the pan too much as the meat should be nice’n’tender by now….we don’t want a mushy mess.
  • Cover and leave to simmer really gently over the lowest heat possible for an hour.
  • Put in the chopped parsley but don’t stir. It is now ready.
  • Serve with Dauphinoise potatoes, French beans, Chantenay carrots and a great big smile on your smug face.

You’ll never taste lamb like it again – until you cook Navarine of Lamb again – which you most certainly will want to do. (Ideally, in a smaller batch, for you and that rather pretty little miss ….)

Green lamb:

Green lamb:

Prep:           5 mins.

Cooking:      15 mins.

Course:        Main

Serves:        2

Rating:         4:  Tricky

Find:

  • A full rack of lamb or a lamb fillet
  • Bunch of fresh flat-leaved parsley
  • Some fresh rosemary leaves, avoiding the hard brown bits on the ends – yeah, I know it’s a phaph to trim them….but go on…. Indulge me on this occasion…. How many?  You’re cooking the friggin dish!
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped) or more
  • 250g white breadcrumbs, ideally half dried, half fresh but you do what you think
  • 50g butter
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Oven preheated to gas mk 9/240 oC
  • Food processor?
  • Roasting tin
  • Frying pan.griddle

 

METHOD:

  • Blitz (in a food processor) all herbs, garlic & breadcrumbs, progressively, to give a fine mixture.
  • Season the lamb well, gently heat the butter in a pan until foaming.
  • Brown the lamb for 5 minutes over a medium heat without blackening the butter.
  • Remove & rest for at least 10 minutes.
  • Brush lamb with the whole grain mustard & roll in the breadcrumb mix to liberally coat it evenly. Load the top with more mixture to give a good layer.  Dribble (that’s an anti-posh way of drizzling) the rest of the butter onto the coating….probably adding a bit more for good measure.
  • Place the loaded lamb in a well-oiled roasting tin & put into the oven (pre-heated to 240 degs C) for 6 minutes.
  • Remove & leave to rest in its tin and under foil for 5 minutes before slicing it almost through, between each rib, with a sharp knife. That period of resting is important.  The lamb should be nice’n’pink when sliced.