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Provençal Style Lamb Casserole


(serves 4)
This is a minimalist Provencal Lamb Casserole which is easy to prepare and its hearty ingredients are perfect for cold weather meals. The lamb is braised in a white wine and anchovy stock while the gamey flavour of the meat is tempered with lots of garlic and herbs. The other main ingredient of this rustic Mediterranean dish is eggplant.      
 

Ingredients

  1. Lamb Belly (500g)
  2. Eggplant (1)
  3. Shallots (6)
  4. Garlic (2 bulbs)
  5. Anchovy In Oil (25g)
  6. White Wine (3/4 cup)
  7. Bread (2 slices)
  8. Flour
  9. Worcestershire Sauce
  10. Mustard
  11. Pesto
  12. Oregano

Preparation 

  1. Peel the garlic bulbs into cloves and peel the shallots but leave them whole.
  2. If your lamb belly doesn’t come as cubes, cut them into cubes. Put the lamb into a zip lock bag and spoon in 2T(heaped) of flour. Shake until the lamb is evenly coated in the flour.
  3. Heat up a frying pan with 3T of oil. Brown the lamb in the pan a few pieces at a time and then arrange the pieces of meat into a casserole dish.
  4. Push half the garlic cloves and all the shallots snugly between the pieces of meat as shown.
  5. Pan fry 25g (about 1T) of anchovy in its own oil, in the same pan you used to brown the lamb without washing it. Mash us the anchovy until it is a fine suspension and deglaze with 3/4 cup of white wine. Add 2T of pesto, 1t of worcestershire sauce, 1t of sugar, 1t mustard and 1t of oregano. Pour in 1/2 a cup of water. Bring to a simmer for 1 minute. This will be the braising liquid.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200oC (390oF).
  7. Pour the braising liquid into the casserole.
  8. Slice the eggplant and arrange the slices over the lamb in the casserole.
  9. Cover the casserole and place it in the oven for 2 hours. After half an hour reduce the temperature to 150oC (300oF).
  10. Lightly toast 2 slices of sandwich bread. Cut the toast into mini croutons.
  11. Mince the remaining garlic cloves in a garlic press.
  12. Fry the minced garlic in a pan with 3T oil on low heat until it stops clumping together. At this stage add the bread and stir fry until the croutons are crispy and a nice shade of golden brown as shown. Leave to cool in the pan.
  13. With 10 minutes to go on the baking time, take the casserole out and sprinkle on some black pepper and all the garlic croutons. Return to the oven uncovered for the last 10 minutes.
  14. Serve the lamb in the casserole dish directly from the oven to table.

NotesLamb Casserole 1004

  • This lamb casserole is not meant to be eaten by itself. You should serve it with a separately cooked staple, like potatoes or polenta.
  • While the Provencal Style is French, it has some similarity with Italian and Greek cuisine because they all share the same Mediterranean climate.
  • You can consider crushing the croutons into breadcrumbs after they cool. Its a trade off. You will lose some of the crunch of the bread, but it give a nice appealing look to the casserole. To accompany this look you can also slice the eggplant thin and arrange the slices in a ratatouille style overlapping spiral.
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Posted by on January 17, 2018 in French, Main Courses, Recipe, Red Meat

 

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Lamb Sausage Ragu with Conchiglie


(serves 3)
This is a speedy (relatively) and convenient method of making a Lamb Ragu Pasta that makes no compromises on taste. I avoid the arduous task of slow-cooking mutton by using the minced meat from lamb sausages. In fact I find the starch, fat, herbs and spices of the sausage actually make for a better pasta sauce. The result is a delicious wholesome and flavourful meat sauce that can’t be beat.
 
Ingredients Lamb Conchiglie 1200
  1. Lamg Sausage (350g)
  2. Brown or White Mushrooms (100g)
  3. Onion (1)
  4. Garlic(1 bulb = 12 cloves)
  5. Conchiglie (3 cups)
  6. Oxo Stock Cube (2)
  7. Red Wine (1 cup)
  8. Turmeric
  9. Coriander Seed Powder
  10. Oregano

Preparation

  1. Peel and then cut your onion into 6 wedges. Then slice them coarsely and pan fry in a large pan with some oil on low heat.
  2. In the meanwhile, slice your lamb sausages lengthwise on one side and peel off the skin. Place all the minced lamb in a bowl with half a cup of water. Mix well to loosen up the meat.
  3. Remove the onion from the pan, turn up the heat, add some oil and throw in the meat. Break up the clumps of meat as the water boils away. When the meat begins to brown, return the onion plus any drippings to the pan and continue stir-frying for another minute.
  4. Next add 1 cup of wine. Then add 2 oxo stock cubes (I normally use beef but you can also use lamb) dissolved in 2 cups of hot water.
  5. Peel your garlic bulb and throw the individual cloves into the pan. Quarter each mushroom into and add them to the pan as well.
  6. Add 1t sugar, 1t turmeric, 1t coriander seed powder and 1T oregano. Turn down the heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes to1 hour – until the sour taste of the wine is gone. Add water as needed such that you end up with a light sauce. You can make the sauce ahead of time, just keep it in the fridge til its needed.
  7. Boil your pasta in a pot of water with a dash of olive oil until it is about 2/3 cooked. Strain and then add your pasta to the pan and stir fry until the pasta is al dente. Add water as required such that you end up with a thick sauce just as the pasta is done. Splash on 4T of olive oil after turning the fire off.
  8. Sprinkle on some black pepper and perhaps some parsley after plating.

Notes

  • You can use 3/4 cup red wine plus 1/4 cup Marsala wine for a more authentic Italian taste – remember to skip the 1t of sugar in step 6.
  • Conchiglie a.k.a. seashell pasta is the best choice of pasta for this kind of sauce as it can hold the bits of meat better. Another type of paste suitable for this dish is farfalle, a.k.a. butterfuly pasta.
  • The picture would look nicer if I had just cooked the pasta separately and then poured the sauce over it, but then it wouldn’t taste nearly as good. Sometimes you have to sacrifice looks for taste.
  • Ragu and Ragout are both a dish made from gamey meat and chopped vegetables. Ragu is Italian and is usually cooked as a sauce. Ragout is French and is usually a stew.
 
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Posted by on July 18, 2016 in Italian, Main Courses, Pasta, Recipe, Red Meat

 

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Pesto Crusted Lamb Chop Medallions


(serves 2)
This is a delightful main course which improves on your run-of-the-mill pan fried lamb chops by a mile. It solves the thousand year old lamb chop connundrum by cooking the tender eye seperately from the tougher bone portion, plus it uses the trimmings to create an incredibly intense sauce. If I must say so myself, the pesto crust works really well with lamb. This recipe does however require a tad more time and effort, but its ooh so worthwhile in the end.
 
Ingredients Pesto Crusted Lamb Medallions
  1. Lamb Chops (8)
  2. Pesto (2T)
  3. Parmagiano Reggiano (1T)
  4. Bread (1 slice)
  5. Garlic (0.5 bulb = 6 cloves) 
  6. Fennel Seeds (2T)
  7. Mint Leaves (1T)
  8. Rosemary (1T)
  9. Thyme (1T)
  10. Cognac (2T)
  11. Woustershire Sauce
  12. Dijon Mustard
  13. Misc Vegetables 

Preparation – Earlier in the Day

Buy the type of lamb chop which has some meat clinging to the rib end of the bone. Cut each chop into three parts:

    • The first part is the round meaty eye, which will become your medallions (chopping board, left). Make sure you trim away most of the white bits as you won’t be cooking the medallion too long.
    • The second part is the flank, basically the fleshy portion around the long end of the bone (chopping board, right). You can leave the white bits on for these cuts.Lamb Chops Deboned
    • The third part will be the trimmings (on the plate), basically the bone and chunks of fat and connective tissue.
  1. Marinate the medallion and flank pieces in 2T olive oil, 1T cognac, 1T thyme, 1T fennel seeds, 0.5t salt, a pinch of sugar and a dash of woustershire sauce. Lamb is one of the more gamey meats and you should marinate it for a minimum of four hours.
  2. Boil the trimmings in a pot, with just enough water to cover everything. Add to the pot, 1T mint leaves, 1T fennel seeds, 1T rosemary, 1T Cognac and 6 garlic cloves. Simmer with the cover on for a minimum of half an hour. Follow up by microwaving the meat and stock on high power, covered, for 3×3 = 9 minutes, allowing the meat to cool between cycles.
  3. Leave a piece of bread uncovered in the fridge to dry out.

Preparation – Before the Meal 

  1. Cut the piece of bread into little cubes. Toast the cubes into croutons and smash them in a zip-loc bag with the flat end of a meat mallet or rolling pin to produce some fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix 2T of these breadcrumbs, with 2T of pesto and 1T of finely grated Parmagiano Reggiano. This will form the pesto crust.
  3. Pick out the marinated flank portions and pan fry these on low heat with a spot of oil till they are nicley browned. These bits have to be fried as they take much longer to become tender.
  4. Set aside the flank pieces, leaving the pan unwashed. Pour the lamb stock Lamb Medallions ready to Grillthrough a strainer into the same pan. Boil the stock down until it becomes a thick sauce. Take the opportunity to cook any vegetables you would like to serve with your lamb medallions in the stock as it is thickened. Examples include baby corn, baby carrots or peeled shallots. 
  5. When the sauce has thickend, remove the vegetables and stir in one t of dijon mustard. Taste and add salt as required – only at the end.
  6. In the meanwhile, spoon the pesto mixture onto the lamb medallions. Its alright for the crust to be thick so use up all of the mixture you made.
  7. Oil a baking tray and preheat it. Arrange the medallions in the middle (you should hear a slight sizzle) and then the pre-cooked flank pieces around the edges (as per photo on the right). Cook in a preheated toaster oven (heat on top and bottom) for about 7 minutes, or until the pesto crust begins to bubble and harden.
  8. Spoon the sauce onto the serving plate first, followed by the lamb and finally the vegetables. 

Notes

  • You have a couple of options regarding the bones. The lamb reduction sauce is very good as it contains all the tastes you normally associate with lamb but can’t apply because of the pesto crust: mint, garlic, rosemary, mustard etc. If you really can’t bother with the sauce, just throw the bones away and use the drippings from the medallions as ‘jus’. Alternatively, you can boil the stock as per above but serve it (still strained) as a mutton broth to go with the medallions.
  • I used a toaster oven because it gives just the right heat to form the crust without overcooking the lamb. If you are making portions for more than 2, you can just use the grill in your oven. 
  • The microwaving helps melt the remaining fat and connective tissue. If you don’t own a microwave, then you’ll just have to simmer the lamb bones old style for a long time, until the gelatine is released.
  • FYI. I grilled the tomatoes with cheese topping seperately. Those were not cooked in the sauce pan with the baby corn.
 
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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Italian, Main Courses, Recipe, Red Meat

 

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