Syrian Style Roast Leg of Lamb

I was very lucky to have been given some fabulous cookbooks by my best buddy Ria. Ah she knows me so well! One is titled Almond Bar, written by Sharon Salloum, co-owner and chef of Almond Bar restaurant in Sydney, who was bought up in a traditional Syrian household. Ooh I’d love to go and eat there! Her recipes are based on family traditions, but adapted for the modern kitchen.

Syrian Lamb

As soon as I saw her recipe for roast leg of lamb, I knew I would make it for New Year’s Eve. We had family visiting from Spain and were going to have a fairly typical Spanish Family Celebration meal – masses of seafood and shellfish to start, lamb for main course, flan (or crème caramel to us!), fruit, Spanish biscuits, turrón and 12 grapes at midnight. The lamb was not typically Spanish because of the spices, but it was a big hit with everyone. The meat is cooked on high to start with then slowly cooked to tender perfection. Don’t wait until next New Year’s Eve to try this, I know I won’t be waiting that long!

(Apologies for the photo, it’s a cropped section of a family snap which also featured the lamb…)

Serves 8-10 (but you can scale it down for a smaller leg of lamb)

  • 2.5kg leg of lamb, bone in
  • 60ml olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 8 cloves crushed with a pestle and mortar
  • 3 teaspoons salt flakes
  • 6 cloves of sliced garlic
  • About 10 small sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 glass of white wine (not in the original recipe)

Preheat the oven to 200C (fan)/425F/Gas 7

Mix the oil with the spices, salt and pepper in a bowl. Rub the mix all over the leg of lamb then cut small incisions all over the lamb with a sharp pointed knife. Push the garlic and rosemary sprigs into the incisions.

Place the lamb in a deep oven dish and bake on high for an hour, turning after 30 minutes to brown on both sides. Pour the wine over the meat, cover the dish with foil to make a tent and reduce the oven temperature to 170C (fan)/375F/Gas 5 and return to the oven. Cook for another 2 ½ – 3 hours, basting every 20 minutes (but don’t stress if you do it a little less).

When the lamb is cooked, remove from the oven, keep it warm (I wrap it in foil and a couple of towels) and leave to rest for 15-30 minutes and serve with all the beautiful juices you will have left in the pan.

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Slow Cooked Spiced Lamb Shanks – and some spartan cooking arrangements

So, you know how the cobbler’s children historically had no shoes? Well, the property developing, building and renovating couple currently have a crappy kitchen with no oven in their new home. Can you imagine how that makes me feel? It’s a bit weird though as in Spain I often go the whole summer without turning on the oven, but when you don’t have something all you can think about is that one thing. Here’s a quick glimpse of my current cooking arrangements.

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I am making do for the moment with a small camping sized electric hob, my now well-loved giant slow cooker and an electric plancha. All I want to do is bake cakes and oven roast meat but it’s not to be, for a while at least.

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And just to explain the even more dreadful than usual photos of the finished dish, you can see that I am hardly “blinded by the light” in the kitchen. Boo hoo. But hopefully all this explains why I am posting less recipes than usual!

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A perfect dish to get rid of cooking frustrations is a slow cooked pot of lamb shanks. This can be done just as easily in a low oven, reducing the cooking time to 3-4 hours. You will be rewarded for your patience, whichever method you choose!

Ingredients (serves 2 generously)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (or black treacle)
  • 4 dried apricots, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to season

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Heat the olive oil in a frying pan (or in an ovenproof dish if you are going to oven cook) and brown the lamb shanks all over, then transfer to your slow cooker (or put onto a plate).

Gently fry the onions and garlic until softened then add the spices and tomato and bring to a simmer. Pour in the stock, add the molasses, apricots and season. When it’s bubbling again pour over the lamb shanks in the slow cooker (or add the lamb shanks to the pot), cover and cook on low for about 10 hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bones.

When you are ready to serve (with mashed potato is a good idea), take the meat out and keep warm, pour the sauce into a pan and reduce on a medium heat until thickened to your liking. Pour over the meat and enjoy!

Any leftover sauce is wonderful served over pasta and easily heated up on your camping stove (but do feel free to use a regular one too)!

(Inspired by a recipe from the BBC Good Food site)

Very Slow Cooked Lamb Breast with Onions, Anchovies and Potatoes

Big Man and I are addicted to Car Boot Sales. They are (I think) a curiously English phenomenon, like caravanning and Morris dancing. Neither of which are our thing, but each to his own I say.

Basically it’s a good chance for a clear out of all your old rubbish/unwanted gifts/unwise purchases and fashion horrors. You then load these into your car, rock up to a local leisure centre or field (weather depending and also it helps to have the farmer’s permission and the participation of other car booters or you might get whisked away by the local police for fly tipping or bonkers behaviour) and sell your stuff out of the car boot. If, like me, you love to recycle and reuse and you think someone else’s unwanted stuff could possibly be your treasure and live in hope of coming across a Lalique Vase or Fabergé Egg for pennies which you will then sell for an enormous fortune, then car booting is for you. If the thought of rummaging through someone else’s rubbish turns your stomach….perhaps not.

Recently I bought the world’s most enormous slow cooker for a few pounds at a Car Boot Sale. Result! I’ve wanted one for ages but as nouvelle cuisine sized portions are not my thing (I’m more an Army Catering sort of Chica) I’ve struggled to find one that will let me cook up a good sized pot of food with plenty for dinner then leftovers.

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My first experiment was a chick pea dish, even though it was a hot, hot day. Delicious, the chick peas were melt in your mouth tender, although it was more a dish for a cold winter’s night.

Flushed with the success of my chick peas I thought I’d try cooking a piece of meat and a rolled lamb breast in the freezer beckoned to me. To be honest, it wasn’t that huge, but made plenty for two good meals for both of us.

Probably not the most photogenic meal in the world, but so tasty, the anchovies melt and just give a depth of flavour to the vegetables (not fishy at all) and can be easily cooked in a regular oven on low/medium for about 3-4 hours.

Ingredients (to serve 4)

  • 1 boned rolled lamb breast (about 800g)
  • 8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 4 medium onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced (I used both red and white)
  • 1 head of garlic, the cloves separated but not peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 tin of anchovies in oil
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A glass of white wine

Mix all the ingredients (except the lamb, salt & pepper and wine), together and put into the bottom of the slow cooker or a deep ovenproof dish. Place the lamb on top, season well and pour the wine over. Cover with a lid and cook in the slow cooker for about 10 hours on low or in the oven (as explained above).

When cooked, slice the meat and serve over the potatoes which will be cooked but still holding their shape, and the onions which will be melted and tender. Pour over the juices and congratulate yourself on how fabulous you are at making something so tasty with so little effort. Or is it just me that does that?!

Ottolenghi Inspired Stuffed Peppers

Yes, the love affair with Mr O continues. Today the recipe is inspired by one from his book Jerusalem, and is, in turn, one of his own mother’s recipes. Momma knows best, we all know that.

As ever, I used what I had to hand, the original ingredients are in brackets following my version. It makes a stunning main course accompanied by a salad packed full of all your favourite leaves, or an excellent starter if you use smaller peppers and restrain yourself to eating only a half. Tough choice.

Stuffed Peppers (4)

Ingredients (to serve 4 as a main course or 8 as a starter – easily halved, or even doubled for a party)

  • 4 red bell peppers (which I halved and blanched in boiling water for about 3 minutes) (8 romano peppers, no need to blanch)
  • 2 cups of homemade tomato sauce or (1 large tomato roughly chopped, 2 medium onions roughly chopped, about 500ml vegetable stock)

Stuffing

  • 140g basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp Allspice (1 ½ tbsp baharat)
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 400g minced pork (400g minced lamb)
  • 2 ½ tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint (2 tbsp chopped dill, 1 ½ tbs chopped dried mint)
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • Salt and black pepper

Put the rice in a saucepan and cover with lightly salted water. Boil for 4 minutes, drain, rinse and set aside.

Dry fry the spices, add the olive oil and onion and fry until the onion is soft. Pour this and the stuffing ingredients into a large bowl and mix). Season.

Stuff either the half peppers or if using the romanos cut a slit lengthways without cutting in half completely and stuff each pepper.

If not using previously made tomato sauce, place the chopped tomato and onion into a large pan with a tight fitting lid (or pour your sauce in). Sit the peppers on top, cover with a lid and either simmer on the stove top on a low heat for about an hour or cook in a medium oven until the peppers are tender. If using the stove top, make sure the sauce does not dry out by adding a little water if necessary.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lamb & Beef Meatballs with Broad Beans & Lemon – The Colours of Spring on a Plate

Broad Beans to me mean spring. Perhaps because in Spain we would normally be harvesting our own from early spring. That beautiful vibrant green of the inner pod is the colour of new life springing from the earth. It’s enough to make you start writing poems about daffodils and wandering lonely as a cloud.

Well, it’s enough to inspire me to cook with them and the discovery (yes, at heart I’m a country girl who normally reaps what she sows) of frozen broad beans has been very exciting for me. Add to this the delightful recipes of Mr Yotam Ottolenghi and his Jerusalem cookbook (again) and I had no choice but to make his Meatballs with Broad Beans and Lemon.

Meatballs with Broad Beans Main Photo

Enough waxing lyrical and on with the cooking.

Ingredients

  • 4 ½ tablespoons of olive oil
  • 350g broad beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 whole thyme sprigs
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 8 spring onions cut into 2cm segments, at an angle if you want to be fancy
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 500ml of chicken stock
  • Salt & black pepper

For the meatballs

  • 300g of minced beef
  • 150g minced lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 120g fresh breadcrumbs (I used a little less and it was fine)
  • 2 tablespoons each of chopped flat leaf parsley, mint, dill and coriander plus about ½ tablespoon of each to finish the dish
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of baharat spice mix (I had to make mine but it was easy)
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped capers (I couldn’t find any but it was still tasty without)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Makes about 20-24 meatballs about the size of ping pong balls

Place all the meatballs ingredients into a large bowl and add salt and pepper to taste and mix well with your hands. Form into small meatballs and sear them in batches with some of the olive oil until browned. Remove from pan and wipe the pan clean.

Blanch the broad beans in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes then run under cold water. Remove the skins from about half the beans and discard the skins. Keep the beans separate from each other.

Lamb & Beef Meatballs (2)

Heat the remaining oil in the pan you used previously and add the thyme, garlic and spring onions and sauté over a medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the unshelled broad beans, 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice, 80ml of stock, a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes.

Now add the meatballs and remaining stock, cover and continue to simmer for about 25 minutes. This can be made ahead but as they cool, the meatballs will continue to absorb the stock. If necessary, add a little water when reheating. Before serving taste for seasoning, add the remaining herbs, lemon juice and the shelled beans.  Delicious with rice.

It’s a fabulous dish to make for guests as it can be prepared ahead and pulled together at the last minute. I do confess to having been outraged at having to buy all the herbs I would normally just step outside my back door to pick. But..buying or picking, it’s a stunning dish and well worth the little bit of effort you have to put in.

For another beautiful Ottolenghi meatball dish, check out my recipe for Lamb with Quince, Pomegranate and Coriander.

Lamb with Quince, Pomegranate and Coriander

The 6th January is the Feast of Epiphany, celebrating the arrival of the Three Kings to Bethlehem. In Spain el Día De Los Reyes is a feast Day, and widely anticipated and celebrated by young and old. Traditionally a Roscón de Reyes (a Cake of Kings) is made. Check out my recipe from last year here, or Giovanna´s beautiful creation here.

Although we´re currently in England, we weren´t going to let a celebration pass us by, and the opportunity to celebrate it with best friends and parents was too good to miss.

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We may have had to eat off a folding table in a half decorated room with mismatched plates from charity shops, but we were going to eat well.

We started with Jamon y Queso (Ham & Cheese) and Habas con Jamon (Broad Beans with Ham) and a delicious Brandada. Check out Mad Dog´s fantastic post all about this Catalan delicacy.

Our main course was inspired by my Christmas present from Big Man, the beautiful book Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi. We had bought a couple of quince back from Spain with us, although I didn´t have quite enough so added in chunks of butternut squash (Ottolenghi recommends pear) which worked really well.  Below is how I cooked the recipe with the original recipe also shown.

Ingredients (serves 4 as a main course)

  • 400g minced lamb
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 red chili, chopped (I used 1 tsp hot pimentón)
  • 20g chopped coriander plus 2tbsp to garnish
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 1tsp allspice
  • 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 medium onions peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium free range egg
  • 4 quince (1.3kg in total) I used 2 quince and a small butternut squash
  • ½ lemon squeezed plus 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses (I couldn´t find this so used honey plus the juice of an extra half a lemon)
  • 2 tsp sugar (I left this out)
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Seeds of ½ pomegranate
  • Salt and black pepper

Place the lamb in a bowl with the garlic, chili, coriander, breadcrumbs, allspice, half the ginger, half the onion, egg and seasoning. Mix with your hands and then form small meatballs. The original recipe suggests stuffing halves of quince, Believe me, this is very hard work as quince are very hard to peel and chop, so I went with his other suggestion to chop the quince and cook with the lamb meatballs.

Lamb with Quince (2)

Peel and chop the quince/squash into large chunks and finely chop about a quarter of the chunks. Leave the larger pieces in a pot of water with the juice of half a lemon to stop the quince turning too brown. Or don´t bother – it will still look and taste good when cooked!

Heat the oil and add the finely chopped quince/squash, onions, ginger and cardamom pods. Cook (covered) until softened then add the molasses and lemon juice (or honey and lemon juice), sugar (if using), stock and seasoning. Now add the quince/squash and meatballs and cook gently for about an hour (covered) or until the fruit is soft. Remove the lid and turn up the heat and cook for a further few minutes until the sauce is thick and pulpy, check for seasoning and sprinkle with the pomegranate and fresh coriander before serving. I also added an extra squeeze of lemon juice.

Tastes even better if made the day before (just don´t add the coriander and pomegranate). I served it with basmati rice into which I stirred browned onions and cumin seeds (toasted and crushed with a pestle and mortar).

Fruit Platter (1)

Phew – a lovely meal with friends which was rounded off with singing and dancing (of the silly variety), Roscón and a fruit platter which went some way to convincing us that we hadn´t consumed any calories at all over Christmas and New Year.

Making progress…Making Food

It´s been a while, I´ve missed you all. Lots of news to update you with though.

Work has been going well, the kitchen has now moved on from this…

To this…

Just the final touches to the units (handles, skirting boards), then the wall units to follow. There´s still wall tiling to go but … pah…easy peasy compared to some of the things we´ve been doing.

Of course, when you have a hob and an oven (as of yesterday) you can COOK!! Oh what joy to have a relatively dust free area to prepare meals that are not sandwiches filled with cement or fried eggs lightly dusted with sawdust.

Supper was a simple meal of grilled lamb chops sprinkled with Malvern sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice, with rice mixed with garlic mushrooms. It was nothing complicated but with a good glass of wine it tasted like the food of the gods.

Lunch today was a sharing platter (we have a lot of those as it means less washing up, very important when you´ve had to wash up with cold water in a bucket!). Good old tortilla, a leftover corn cob and some salami from home with a little salad made with sweet juicy local tomatoes.

Hopefully soon I´ll be able to get a little more adventurous in the kitchen, and we´re not talking about power tools here.  So…a little more news which may leave some of you wondering if we both need to get our heads examined. Things have gone so well, and we have learned so much…we´re going to do it all over again when we´ve finished this house. Yes, you heard right. Just around the corner from this house was another one crying out for some love and attention. It has a very similar scary carpet but we´ve learnt not to fear the shag pile.

It´s been more recently modernized…we´re talking some time during the late 1970s as opposed to the early 1960s in the current house, so a little less work. But not much.

No…your eyes do not deceive you…that´s a downstairs bathroom coming off the “oh so modern” kitchen.

We´re getting the internet installed though, so cross your fingers, toes and eyes for us and hopefully in about a week I´ll be chatting away to you all in my usual fashion and hopefully doing a bit more talking about cooking and a little less about house renovating. But I´m not making any rash promises!

Harira Style Soup

You know when you buy a new cookbook and it´s full of lovely recipes, but the reality is you probably won´t cook that many of them and feel a bit let down? Mmm, yes, we´ve probably all been there. Well, not so with my new Ottolenghi book. In fact, I had intended to leave it in the UK to use when we return in a few weeks to start work on the house renovation. But it kept whispering to me, “take me with you, take me with you”, so back to Spain it came and I have been cooking from it already with plans for many more dishes.

First up was Harira, a Moroccan soup made with chickpeas and lamb. Yes, I´m trying to clear out my freezer a little before we leave, so out came a piece of lamb.  And you know how we love our chickpeas in Andalucía…it was meant to be. Of course, I made a few changes but I am sure Mr O won´t mind.

It´s not quite like other Harira soups I´ve made, but I was very pleased with the results. I think it would also be a very good vegetarian soup if you leave out the meat and use vegetable stock or water. I have also made this soup with rice and lentils also included.  This is a lovely recipe too from Robert Carrier.

Ingredients to serve 4-6

  • 200g dried chickpeas soaked overnight in water with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda (I don´t know the quantities for using ready cooked, canned but I would imagine it would be at least double the weight)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 200g lamb fillet cut into 1cm dice (I used a piece of neck fillet on the bone which I cooked whole then pulled the cooked meat off and stirred into the soup
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp sugar (I used 1 tsp)
  • 1kg tinned chopped tomatoes (I used about half this amount of my own tomatoes)
  • 1.2 litres of chicken stock or water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • A pinch of Saffron strands (I used a teaspoon of turmeric)
  • I also added 1 tsp each of cinnamon and hot chili powder
  • 100g baby spinach (I used chopped chard from the veggie garden)
  • 4 tbsp chopped coriander (didn´t have any, so omitted)
  • 4-6 lemon wedges
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

Cook the chickpeas in plenty of water until completely tender (about an hour or an hour and a half), drain and reserve.

In a large saucepan over a medium heat, gently fry the onion until translucent. Increase the heat and add the lamb and fry until sealed.

At this point I added the spices (Mr O does this later in his version). Now add the tomato purée, and sugar, cook for a couple of minutes then add the chopped tomato, drained chickpeas, liquid and a little seasoning.

Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 35-45 minutes until the meat is tender. Squeeze in a little lemon juice (I didn´t add it all at this stage as per the recipe) and this is where Mr O adds his spices.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. Just before serving, bring the soup back to the boil and add the finely chopped spinach (chard in my case) then remove from the heat. Serve with lemon wedges.

Very delicious, I may even spice it up a little more next time. And yes, the book will be coming with me again to the UK….it likes to travel.

Cortijo Curry – North Indian Goat (or Lamb) Curry and a Simple Raita

Without further ado, here´s the recipe for the beautiful curry we made recently when Best Buddy came to stay recently.

We adapted the recipe (just a little) from one in Anjum Anand´s book Indian Food Made Easy. She uses lamb, we used goat. We served it with roti, plain boiled basmati rice, tarka dhal, and poppadums. In the excitement I forgot to make a cooling raita to accompany it. As it turned out, the dish was not hot at all (I would add more chili next time, but that is just personal taste). However, this did allow all the beautiful and individual spice flavours to shine through.

Leftovers were to be for me, me, me. Unfortunately Big Man got in on the act and decided that it was really rather a fabulous tasting dish, so they ended up being for us, us us. This time without poppadums or roti, but with raita. Recipes for the tarka dhal, spinach and roti to follow soon.

Ingredients (the recipe says it serves 6-8 but we thought it was for 4, even with all the accompanying dishes we made)

  • 25g fresh ginger, peeled
  • 10 large cloves of garlic, peeled (to weigh about 30g)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 each black and green cardamom pods (we used all green)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 800g lamb cubes with bone in (I used goat with boneless meat from the leg and ribs, chopped into small pieces)
  • 1-2 whole green chilies (the recipe says optional – we used 1 but I would use 2 or 3 next time)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala (we used a garam masala spice mix made for me which we then ground)
  • Salt, to taste (we found it needed quite a lot)
  • 4 medium tomatoes, puréed (we used conserva)
  • 500ml water
  • Chopped coriander to stir in when dish is cooked

Make a paste of the ginger and garlic, adding a little water to help blend.

Heat the oil in a large non stick pan or pot. Add the whole cardamom pods and bay and stir into the warm oil before adding the onion. Fry until the onion starts to brown, then add the lamb and stir until the meat is sealed. Now add the ginger and garlic paste, the spices and a little salt (you can adjust the salt at the end of cooking). Cook for a few minutes until the pan is dry.

Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil then simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Add the water, bring back to a boil then simmer (covered) for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.  We removed the lid for the last 5 minutes as there was a lot of liquid. When cooked, taste and adjust seasoning and stir in the coriander.

To make a simple raita mix together about 2 tablespoons of finely chopped mint, a finely chopped (small) red or white onion, a finely chopped piece of peeled cucumber (about 10cm long), 2 tbs lemon juice, a good pinch of salt and half a cup of creamy natural yogurt.

Braised Goat (or Lamb) with Squash and Red Wine

Finally we have had a small drop in temperatures and it looks as though rain may well be a real possibility in the next few days.  Me, a Chica who hates the cold and damp, breathing a sigh of relief at the thought of rain which is so badly needed for the olives, the fruit trees, the rivers.  What a long way I have come on my Andalucían journey!

Winter weather means warming winter food.  After having friends over recently, I was left with half a kilo of chopped goat which had not been cooked so I froze it for a rainy day. That rainy day came round and to make a change from the simple local way of cooking it with garlic, chilli, bay leaves, peppercorns and white wine I decided to make a stove top casserole.

We are still being supplied with squash by Big Man´s cousin and I wanted to use some of this too.  I also felt that if I “disguised” the squash slightly with lots of warming flavours, I might be able to persuade Big Man to enjoy it as much as me.  I think it worked, he ate it with gusto and even had seconds.  No leftovers for the dogs or to serve as tapas the next day with this dish!

Ingredients (to serve 2 if the meat has bones, 4 if it is boneless)

  • 500g chopped lamb or goat (use a cheap cut like neck which is full of flavour)
  • 500 squash or pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • About 5 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • ½ litre of lamb stock or use chicken stock plus a teaspoon of marmite or a beef stock cube
  • 2 glasses of red wine (or replace with stock if you prefer not to cook with alcohol)
  • 2 tsp of tomato purée
  • Salt and pepper
  • A sprig of rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
  • Olive oil for frying
  • About half a cup of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard powder
  • 1 dried red chili crumbled (optional)

Mix the mustard powder with the flour and season and toss the cubs of meat in it. Fry the meat until slightly browned and remove from pan.

Add more oil if necessary and gently fry the onions, garlic and squash until the onion is soft and transparent.

Add the meat to the pan, pour over the stock and wine, and add the tomato purée, rosemary and chili (if using). Let it bubble for about 5 minutes then reduce the heat and cover.  Cook gently for about an hour and half until the meat is tender and the sauce thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning.

We ate this with some fried polenta, but it would also be great with rice or mashed potato and a glass of that lovely red wine you opened to put into the cooking sauce.