I have a penchant for slow roasted lamb and my seven hour lamb recipe is the most popular page on this whole blog. I know! I was sure those posts about depression, anxiety, giving birth and breast feeding would hit the high hit market and bring me the big bucks. Now I just feel cheap and used.
So, lamb. This was inspired by Chocolate and Zucchini’s slow roasted lamb shoulder. I have kept the quantities pretty vague as it depends on the size of your leg and it really is pretty flexible – add more rosemary if you like it, more garlic if it’s your thing, go without the garlic if you feel like it. I will say though, don’t, just don’t omit the anchovies. I know I know, lots of people ‘hate the anchovy’ but in this you certainly don’t taste anything remotely like it but it adds a complex saltiness that is incredibly moreish. So look, just relax and go with it. It is an absolute sensation.
Slow roasted lamb with rosemary, lemon and anchovies
- 1-2 large sprigs of rosemary
- rind from 1-2 lemons (peeled thinly using a vegetable peeler)
- 10 anchovy fillets
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons whole mustard seeds (I’ve used wholegrain mustard before and it works a treat)
- freshly ground black pepper
- A good splash of balsamic vinegar
- An equally good splash of olive oil
- 2-2.5kg leg of lamb or lamb shoulder
- white wine
- 2 onions
- 2 large carrots
- 1 stick celery
- Put everything except the lamb (obviously) in a mortar and pestle and pound the absolute crap out of it.
- No really, you want it all reduced to a paste so don’t use one of those pissy little useless ones.
- OK, use a blender if you must but you get a much nicer texture if you put a bit of elbow grease into it.
- Rub the paste all over the lamb and let it marinade for as long as you can
- Preheat the oven to 220C and bring the lamb to room temperature
- In a baking dish place the roughly cut up onions, carrots and celery and then put the lamb on top of it
- Pour a couple of glasses of wine and stock into the base of the baking dish
- Roast at 220C for 30 minutes
- Turn the meat and turn the temperature down to 120C (or a smidge higher if your oven isn’t fan-forced)
- Cook for 2.5hours, turning the meat every half hour or so
- If your baking dish starts to dry out then add some more stock (mine does this as it’s a hot fast oven and I always forget to turn it down low enough due to pathetic obsessive tendencies of thinking it won’t cook in time)
- If it’s browning too quickly cover with some foil
- Once it’s cooked remove from pan, cover and set aside.
- Tip everything in the pan into a sieve and using the back of a large spoon or ladle push all those beautiful juices through, discard the pulp, return to the stove and add a little more stock if it needs thinning out.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
When I was little Shepherd’s Pie was for dinner the night after we’d had a roast leg of lamb as sure as the sun would rise. Mum had a mincer that attached to her Sunbeam mixer and the lamb, onion and carrot would all go through it.
I can’t say that I remember it that fondly but I do remember the ritual of it – the fascination with this scary looking mincer, the mash on top peaked by the prongs of a fork and the slathering the whole thing with tomato sauce.
I don’t have a mincer and finely chopping it by hand is not the same. And I was never able to bring myself to make it with mince until I saw this Terry Durack recipe for it in The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend magazine a few months back (It was part of his spread for an Easter lunch or something like that.) Terry’s had 200g of mixed mushrooms in it but I have a boy and a mother who don’t eat mushrooms so I just ditch those and cook it a little longer so the sauce isn’t too runny. Also, I have a mother (the same one in fact) who doesn’t like tomatoes, so while Terry’s calls for a 400g can of chopped tomatoes I just put a couple of cherry tomatoes or baby Roma tomatoes or two normal toms diced.
All that considered, it’s an absolute winner.
Adapted from Terry Durack, Good Weekend magazine, The Sydney Morning Herald
- Olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped (I never have celery in the house so have made this more times w/out than with)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 500-600g lamb mince
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 125ml red wine
- 300ml stock
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tomatoes, diced (or about 1/2 dozen cherry toms)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme (which I hate so I use parsley instead)
- 2 bay leaves
- 800g potatoes
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 100ml milk
- 3 tbsp parmesan
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Heat a little oil in a large pan and fry the onion, carrot and celery until nice and soft
- Add the garlic and cook off a little
- Add the lamb and cook for a few minutes, breaking up the meat so you don’t get any of those manky big lumps of mince (gag)
- Sprinkle over the flour and cook, stirring, for a minute or two
- Add the wine, bring to the boil (whenever I add it it kinda gets absorbed straight away so I just cook it out for a little)
- Then add the stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste and herbs
- Season and simmer for about 40 minutes until nice and thick
- While that’s simmering boil the potatoes until soft, about 15 mintues
- Drain and mash, then beat in the butter, egg yolk, milk, parmesan and the green onions
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Pour the meat into a baking dish, top with the potato, rake over with a fork and scatter over some more knobs of butter
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the meat is bubbling and the potato topping is nice and golden.
- Spread potato on top of the meat
I really like Matthew Evans. He had the unenviable task of taking up the mantle of restaurant reviewer for the SMH’s Good Living following Terry Durack and well, one of the few reviewers I love more than Matthew would be Terry. I still make Terry’s White Cut Chicken recipe w/ dipping sauce from his book Yum years after I first tried it and every mag has run a recipe for it a hundred times since. See, I’m extending my sentences to a point it’s unbearable even for me.
Anyway, Matthew has a column in the SMH’s Good Weekend magazine each Saturday and well, it is always so much more accessible and indeed tantalising than the fancy double paged food spread that lies before it.
This is one of his recipes from that publication. I think it ran last year but it could even have been from a year before that. Anyway, it is sensational and a great dinner for winter on those days you’ve got kids at various activities after school and need dinner the minute you walk in the door. He also suggests you can smear the lambe with the olive and garlic paste and roast for an hour instead, but I like the idea of getting it on mid afternoon and it looking after itself for a couple of hours.
Four Hour Olive and Lemon Scented Leg of Lamb
Matthew Evans, Any fool can cook column, Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald
- 1 medium sized leg of lamb
- about 10 fleshy black olives, pitted
- about 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 3-4 slices of lemon
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup water
- salt and pepper
- Take the lamb out of the fridge about half an hour before it needs to go into the oven
- Preheat oven to 150C
- Blend or pound the olives with the garlic until a coarse paste is formed
- Smear the paste all over the lamb, particularly the fleshy bit that will face upwards
- Place in a large sealable pot (or a tray and foil) and lay the lemon slices and bay leaves on the lamb
- Put the onion, red wine and water in the base and season – go easy on the salt due to the olives
- Put the lid on, pop in the oven, turning it down to 110C and cook for 3 to 4 hours
- Check it every now and then to ensure the pot hasn’t dried out (it shouldn’t but if it does add a little more water)
- Serve with baked potatoes and veggies.
I adore lamb cutlets and believe they are one of the best kid foods around – all except for one small but important point. Cost. Those little buggers are expensive and when you have hordes of children to feed it all just gets ridiculous. But the other day I went fuck it and bought some delightful french trimmed lamb cutlets. And thanks to a Bill Granger recipe they were a taste sensation.
Marinated Lamb Cutlets
From bills, Bill Granger
- 1tsp crushed coriander seeds
- 1tsp crushed fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (I used the weeniest bit due to young tastebuds)
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil (I used only 1)
- salt and pepper
- 12 French-trimmed lamb cutlets
- Place everything in a bowl and marinate for two hours, bringing to room temperature for the last 30 minutes
- Heat a frying pan over high heat and cook cutlets fo r 1-2 minutes on each side.
Warm lentil and rice pilaff
- 1 cup Lentils du Puy
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the lentils, cooking for 10 minutes
- Add the rice and lemon and cook for another 12-15 minutes until the rice and lentils are tender
- Drain, discard the lemon and place in a serving bowl
- Meanwhile, heat oil ina frypan and cook the onion for 10-12 minutes or until the onion is a rich golden brown, stirring frequently.
- Sprinkle the pilaff with salt, pepper, parsley and half the onion, toss to combine. Top with remaining onion (I just tossed the lot through)
Ginger tomato sauce
- Fry a little chilli, ginger and garlic in some olive oil until fragrant.
- Add 600g (4lb5oz) chopped tomatoes and cook gently for 25 minutes.
I loved this little vignette to the recipe – and it really made the dish. I used one biggish garlic clove, about a teaspoon of finely chopped ginger and crumbled in a small dried chilli. It just gently bubbled away while I made the rest of it. Yum.
So my mum used to cook. Then she got divorced, had to go back to work and basically raise two kids on her own so she stopped. It all happened around the time I discovered that I liked to cook, which was fortuitous. Even so, my mum doesn’t eat much – like pasta, tomatoes, chilli, anything with spices and so on and so forth.
That said, she makes a vegetable barley soup and a chop casserole I can never match.
But with a recent pocket of cooler weather I desperately needed a casserole, so attempt it I did. And lo, it came to pass that it was delicious.
Now the amounts below are, I confess, a bit of a guess. Casseroles are a moveable feast as far as I’m concerned, sometimes featuring a tin of tomatoes, sometimes some beer of some sort, sometimes mushrooms, you get the picture. So use the following as a lose guide rather than some ‘to be followed to the letter’. I’m just saying is all.
Lamb chop casserole
- 6 – 8 lamb loin chops
- a piled heap of plain flour
- olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 heaped tblsp tomato paste
- glass of red (or white) wine
- 1.5 litres of water or stock
- 4 potatoes (depending on size) halved or quartered depending on size
- 2 carrots, cut into chunks or thick fingers
- handful or two of fresh herbs of choice, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Season the plain flour with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Heat the oil in a large frypan
- Dust the chops in the flour and sear in the frypan until you get good colour on them. Do this is batches and place the browned chops in a deep casserole dish as you go, throwing in some of the potatoes and carrots as you go
- Once all the chops are done, add a splash more oil and brown off the onion and garlic
- Pour the wine into the frypan and let it come to a rapid boil as you scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pan into the winey oniony garlicky juices
- Scatter over a good heaped tablespoon or two of the flour that you were using to coat the chops and cook off for a minute or two
- Then add the stock in batches, stirring madly as you do so it doesn’t go lumpy. Never fear if it does, I’ve been known to take the whole lumpy mess and dump it into a jug and then blitz with the stick blender, then pour back into the pan as if nothing ever happened.
- Somewhere in here add the tomato paste – sometimes I add it to the onions to cook it off a bit, sometimes I forget completely and just stir it in once I’ve got the gravy well underway
- Add the herbs and cook for a little while – the trick here is that you don’t want it too thick nor too runny. But you know what? So long as it tastes good, it doesn’t really matter.
- So, put the lid on, bang the whole thing in the oven and leave it there for at least two hours. The other day the one pictured above had almost four and the meat was just dissolving, which I find absolutely divine. In this instance I’d made a cartouche (sp?) of a piece of baking paper I had wet and scrunched up and then placed over the top of the casserole before putting the lid on. No idea if it made a difference but I felt fancy pants doing so.
- Serve with peas.
- This makes enough to feed an army.