mutton & tomato stew

Mutton is meat from older sheep; about three years old. The meat is an intense color of red and quite fatty with a strong, gamey flavor. The fat makes it the perfect cut for this stew giving it big, bold flavor. Exactly what I had in mind.
Very similar to the traditional South-African tomato ‘bredie’ this stew is perfect for a cold, wet winters’ night.
Your freezer is your friend…leftovers are perfect for mutton ragu that you can use for a future pie, to toss through pappardelle or on an open pulled mutton sandwich.

Serve with a side of rice, mashed potato, roasted sweet potato or butternut mash.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
1.3kg stewing mutton, bone in
1/2C flour
1/2t salt
1/2t white pepper
3T olive oil plus more for browning meat
1T butter
1 large white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
5 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
3 large carrots, cut into big chunks
2T paprika
3 bay leaves
2T tomato paste
1.5t dried oregano
3 rosemary stalks, leaves only
1.2C red wine
1 can crushed tomato
3C beef stock
2T brown sugar
1t salt
1t black pepper
2T fresh parsley

how to to do it
Mix the flour, salt & white pepper and dredge the meat in the flour mixture and shake excess flour off. Discard any leftover flour. Heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven and brown the meat in batches, adding more oil as needed.
Set aside.
Add two tablespoons of oil and the butter to the pot without cleaning it and saute the chopped onion until glossy, stirring occasionally. About three minutes.
Add the tomato paste, stir and cook for one minute. Pour the red wine into the pot to de-glaze. Cook for about two minutes to reduce.
Add the paprika, rosemary, garlic & dried oregano and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes and stir to coat. Pour the crushed tomato into the pot and add the bay leaves, sugar and seasoning. Stir and cook for two minutes.
Pour the stock into the pot and give it a good stir. Lastly add the meat. Stir everything together and bring it to a boil.
Turn the heat down to low for a gentle simmer, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for about 2 hours, stirring a few times during cooking. Now add the carrots, place the lid back on the pot and cook for a further 1.5 – two hours.

Check the meat, which should be fall off the bone tender. If you prefer it falling off the bone completely, cook for a further 30 minutes to one hour.
Carefully remove the lid, increase the heat to a moderate simmer and cook for 30 minutes, uncovered to thicken the sauce if desired. Take care not to burn the bottom of the pot by occasionally stirring during cooking.

Once cooked, stir through the chopped fresh parsley and serve with a side of your choice.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

lamb casserole with mustard dumplings

I love a slow cooked meat stew packed with vegetables, taste & earthiness and a lot of love. The secret to any good stew or casserole is time, patience and attention.
I had a fair amount of cooked leg of lamb in my freezer, which was perfect for this dish. The meat cooked slowly at a low heat in a thick beef & wine broth with a mixture of carrots, leeks & celery.
Good substitutes for the leg of lamb are lamb shoulder, stewing beef, lamb neck and even brisket.
The dumplings make the perfect accompaniment here, soaking up all that wonderful flavour and bringing that extra little something to an already perfect meal.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
900g cooked leg of lamb (or any other cut, raw)
3T olive oil
3T butter
350ml good red wine
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, sliced
3 carrots, sliced diagonally or 200g baby carrots
3 celery ribs, sliced diagonally
2 large leeks, halved and sliced
3T tomato puree
3T all purpose flour
3T worcester sauce
6 sprigs thyme
2T brown sugar
500ml chicken or lamb stock
1t salt
1t black pepper

150g self raising flour
130g plain / Greek yogurt
1.5T english or dijon mustard (or a mixture)
handful parsley, finely chopped
handful chives, finely chopped
1/2t salt
1/2t black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Slice the cooked lamb to the desired size and set aside.
Alternatively, if using uncooked meat, cut it into the desired size. Heat oil in a large skillet and brown the meat all over. Remove and set aside.
Heat the olive oil & butter in a large skillet. Fry the onion until glossy. Add the carrots, celery & leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato puree, stir and cook for two minutes.
Now add the flour and stir through. Deglaze the skillet with the red wine and cook the mixture for about two minutes, while stirring. Tip the meat back into the skillet and stir to mix.
Add the worcester sauce, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper & brown sugar. Stir.
Pour the stock into the pot and bring the mixture to the boil.
Turn the heat down, cover with a tight fitting lid and carefully place the skillet into the preheated oven for two hours.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings.
Mix all the ingredient together to make a wet dough. Roll the dough into equal sized balls and set aside.

Carefully remove the casserole from the oven. Place the dumplings on top of the meat mixture and cover with the lid. Place the skillet back into the oven and cook for a further 20 – 25 minutes.

Garnish the dish with fresh parsley or chives or thyme leaves and serve with a side or couscous or rice.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

mutton stew

And so, with the seasons slowly starting to change as we make our way into autumn, stews and casseroles are becoming fashionable again. The slow cookers are taken out from their hibernation closets, dusted off and rinsed out and grandma’s little book of cooking notes are lying next to the stove, filled with moreish casserole ideas and tips.
The simplicity of stews and casseroles fits in with anyones schedule as the stove or oven does the work for you. And leftovers can be deboned and used for a mutton pie or baked potato and pulled mutton with a mint/yogurt dressing.
I couldn’t be happier. I love cooking warm, spicy, hearty dishes that i can slurp up next to a fireplace with a bottle of good red wine. Winter is my ideal. And the food that we can cook during this season always blows my mind. And my palette.
Stewing lamb or mutton is an inexpensive cut and loves being cooked low and slow and served with mashed potato, rice or couscous. It is a meal cooked from the heart that boasts beautiful rustic flavours. A must have autumn / winter recipe and one i return to again and again.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
1kg stewing lamb / mutton
1/3c flour
5tbs olive oil (not extra virgin) & 2tbs extra
good knob of butter
1 white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
3 carrots, rinsed and roughly chopped
4 leeks, rinsed and roughly chopped
4 celery ribs, roughly chopped
2tbs tomato paste
1 can chopped tomato
2c beef broth
1.5c red wine
2tbs brown sugar
1tsp onion seeds
1tsp coriander seeds
1tsp dried oregano
1tsp salt
good grind of black pepper
handful fresh parsley, chopped

make it
preheat the oven to 165 degrees C. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Dust the meat pieces with the flour and brown on all sides. Set aside.
In the same skillet, add a drizzle of oil and the butter. Heat. Sauté the onion until glossy. Add the tomato paste, brown sugar, onion seeds, coriander seeds & dried oregano and stir to coat. Cook for one minute.
Add the carrots, celery & leeks and cook for three minutes, stirring to coat. Deglaze the skillet with the red wine and cook on a low simmer for about seven minutes until the alcohol has evaporated and the mixture reduced a little.
Pour the chopped tomatoes and garlic into the skillet, stir and cook for two minutes. Add the beef stock to the skillet, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Season with the salt & pepper.
Carefully lower the meat into the skillet and bring the mixture to the boil. Turn down the heat, cover with a tight fitting lid or tinfoil, place into the oven and cook for 2 – 2.5 hours until the meat almost falls off the bone. (Check the meat after two hours.)
Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and stir the chopped parsley through the mixture.

Serve with your choice of mash, rice, couscous or new potatoes.

Form my kitchen to yours, with love x

leftover leg of lamb – open lasagna of lamb & mushroom

I do not waste anything in the kitchen. Quite honestly, no good Chef wastes any food produce. And minimal waste equals great saving. Simply freeze items in freezer friendly containers or resealable freezer bags, name and date it and safely reuse it in the not so distant future. Easy.
I had some leftover leg of lamb from Sundays’ roast and since pasta is another one of my secret romances, last night was undoubtedly pasta night in my home. Use whatever meat you prefer or may have tucked away in your freezer. Or fry some bacon or sausage, like chorizo and add it to the dish. Even leftover oxtail will make an amazing alternative to the lamb.
There is great effort in making a lasagna…a good lasagna, that is. So this is my take of a lazy lasagna when I actually don’t have the time to make all of the elements to the traditional lasagna we all love so much.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
10 lasagna sheets
2tbs olive oil
700g leftover lamb (or any other red meat that you would like to use)
3tbs olive oil
3tbs butter
1 punnet wild mushrooms, halved
4 leeks, washed and sliced at an angle
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 white onion, quartered
1.5c cream (full fat)
1c beef stock/broth
8 sprigs thyme, leaves only
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves chopped
1/4c brandy
1tsp dried oregano
1/2tsp salt
black pepper
parmesan (garnish)
fresh chives, garnish
handful fresh parsley, chopped
150g creme fraiche

how to
run water in a large pot and add two tablespoons of olive oil & salt. set aside.
heat the two tablespoons olive oil & 2 tablespoon butter in a large skillet / pan and fry the mushrooms until just cooked. about five minutes. set aside.
in the same skillet, add the remaining one tablespoon olive oil & one tablespoon butter. sauté the onion & garlic until translucent. add the brandy and cook until the alcohol has evaporated, about two minutes. (or flambé if you feel gutsy.)
add the herbs (thyme, rosemary oregano) & the leeks and cook for one minute. add the beef stock and mushrooms and cook until reduced by almost half and slightly thickened. about five minutes.
pour the cream into the mixture and cook for about three minutes. turn down the heat and get on with the meat and the lasagna sheets.
bring the pot of salted water to the boil. add the lasagna sheets one by one and give it a gentle stir. cook for about 8 minutes.
using tongs, pick the sheets out of the water directly into the cream mixture, twisting the sheets to sit, folded, in the creamy sauce, making space for all then sheets. (the starchy water will give a beautiful shine to your sauce.)
in a separate pan, heat a little olive oil and toss the meat until warmed through and slightly crispy on the outside.
turn the heat of the cream mixture on a low simmer and very gently move the lasagna around so to cover it with the sauce.
once warmed through, garnish with the chopped chives and parsley and liberally top with parmesan shavings.
top the lasagna with the meat or serve the meat separately.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x

lamb vinaigrette

i love cooking lamb and i obviously love eating it. whenever we decide to cook lamb on the ‘braai’ (bbq) like we did this weekend, i lose the base of the sauce i love making so much. purely because it is lost next to the fire, whilst slowly cooking for about 3 hours.
the effort of starting a sauce from scratch is not always on my agenda on a sunny, relaxing day whilst sipping on champagne. and, on these beautiful summer days spent at the coast i simply cannot imagine a more perfect sauce to accompany a beautiful piece of deboned leg of lamb.
finding the beauty in the simpler things in life is so rewarding and the same goes for food. keeping it simple yet flavourful have always been my preferred method of cooking… good food kept simple!
gremolata is a great side to any lamb dish and so easy to make. three ingredients that burst with flavour and compliments lamb like the perfect match made in heaven.
this vinaigrette is quite similar to gremolata but with a few extra ingredients including olive oil.

juice of 2 medium lemons
zest of 1 lemon
2tbs white wine vinegar
1/2c olive oil
1tbs rosemary, finely chopped
2tbs red onion, finely chopped
2tbs parsley, finely chopped
1tbs fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
1tsp lime juice
1/2tsp fine salt
grind of black pepper

how to do it
mix all the ingredients except the salt & pepper together in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. shake until emulsified.
or whisk the ingredients together in a deep bowl until emulsified. set aside for about ten minutes.
season with salt & pepper. mix well. taste and add more salt if needed.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x