red wine & vegetable braised lamb neck

It has been years since I last cooked lamb neck and I feel I have missed out on beautiful & succulent, tasty and very tender meat. It was a delicious dinner and I had lots of leftover lamb meat, which was recycled into two beautiful lamb & vegetable pies.

My preferred method of cooking here is low and slow, braised in lots of red wine with vegetables and good stock. Others may argue that it is best treated like a steak and cooked on the fire, quickly on a high heat and served pink.
I will definitely give this a go as soon as the weather allows it.

Delicious with roast potatoes, garlic mash, rice or couscous and a side of buttered vegetables.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | a little effort
1/2C flour & a little more if needed
4/6 lamb necks (depending on size)
olive oil for browning meat + extra for vegetables
1 large white onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
5 garlic cloves, sliced
2T tomato paste
1 can crushed tomato
600ml red wine
4 C good quality chicken stock
4 rosemary stalks, sprigs only
2t fresh thyme leaves
3 bay leaves
1/2t juniper berries, crushed
1/2t cumin seeds, crushed
1/2t coriander seeds, crushed
2T brown sugar
1/2t salt
black pepper
2T butter

method
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/340 F/150 with fan.
Dredge the lamb necks in the flour. Heat olive oil in a large oven proof pot or Dutch oven and brown the meat on all sides until beautifully caramelized.
Set aside.
Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same pot without wiping it clean. Add the butter and melt. Saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, carrot & celery and cook for a further two minutes.
Add the tomato paste and brown sugar and cook for about three minutes, while stirring.
Crush the cumin, juniper berries & coriander seeds in a pestle & mortar and add it to the vegetables. Cook until fragrant, about two minutes.
Pour the red wine into the pot to deglaze while scraping any bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour the chicken stock into the pot, add the crushed tomato and stir.
Add the rosemary, bay leaves and thyme, salt & pepper and bring the mixture to a light boil.
Submerge the lamb neck into the mixture, cook on a light boil for about two minutes. Turn the heat off, cover with a tight fitting lid or tin foil and carefully place the pot into the oven.
Braise for 3 – 3 1/2 hours, until the meat is almost fall off the bone tender.

Carefully remove the lamb neck from the pot and set aside.
Using a handheld blender, blend the vegetable mixture until smooth and strain it into a sauce pot. If the mixture is a bit thick, add a little more chicken stock or water.
Alternatively, simmer until reduced. Season with salt, pepper and a little sugar if needed.

Place the lamb neck onto a serving dish and drizzle with a little of the rich, red sauce.
Garnish with fresh mint & parsley and serve with extra sauce on the side and your choice of starch and vegetables.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x


Moroccan lamb stew

Stews are my go-to meals in winter. I love the process…the time it takes to prepare as well as the time it takes to cook. All this while i quaff on a glass of good red wine with a crackling fire in the background.
Any good stew needs time and good quality, fresh ingredients. I chose lamb knuckle for this dish although other cuts like lamb shoulder or leg are also delicious choices. The end result with any of these cuts will be meltingly tender meat with fantastic flavor.
The spice ‘ras-el-hanout’ is a spice found in varying forms and means “the head of the shop.” It is a blend of over a dozen of the best spices in different proportions.
Ras-el-hanout is certainly a pantry staple in my home.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
1.3kg lamb knuckle or stewing meat
1/2C flour
2T olive oil (and more for browning the meat)
2T butter
1 large white onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves chopped or sliced
3 large carrots, roughly chopped
3 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 yellow pepper, cubed
1 cinnamon stick
3t ras-el-hanout
1t fresh ginger, grated
1 can crushed tomato
2.5C beef broth
1 can chickpeas, drained
salt to taste
pepper to taste
handful fresh parsley, chopped (garnish)

how to
Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C. Dredge the cubed meat with the flour.
In a large oven proof dish like a Dutch oven, heat a glugg of olive oil and brown the meat, in batches, using a little more oil as needed. Set aside.
Drizzle the 2 tablespoons olive oil into the pot and add the butter. Heat these together until the butter has melted. Add the chopped onion and saute until glossy, about three minutes. Add the garlic and ras-el-hanout, stir and cook until fragrant, about two minutes.
Add the carrots, potato & yellow pepper, stir to coat and cook for about two minutes. Add the ginger, cinnamon stick, crushed tomato & beef broth and bring the mixture to a lightly simmer. Tip the meat back into the pot, stir and leave to cook on medium heat until boiling.
Season with salt & pepper and stir through.
Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid or tin foil and place into the oven to cook for 2 – 2.5 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven, add the chickpeas and cook for a further 15 minutes. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Garnish with the parsley and serve with couscous, rice or mashed potato.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x


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

dumplings
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