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



beef & beer casserole

These beautiful winter days make me want to curl up with good red wine and good food.
The secret to any good stew or casserole is patience. But, the ingredients, of course, also play a very important role. Essentially what you want from a stew is big flavor and beautifully tender meat.
Ask your butcher for advice on the best cuts of meat and source the freshest vegetables you can get your hands on.
The quality of our food really lie in the quality of the ingredients.

ingredients | serves 6 | patience
1.2kg stewing beef, bone in, cut into smaller cubes
1/4C flour
Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced or chopped
4 large carrots, cut in similar sizes as the meat
300g small (baby) onions
500ml beer or ale
2.5C beef stock
2T tomato paste
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves only
4 thyme sprigs, leaves only
4 bay leaves
1T brown sugar
1/2t salt
1/2t black pepper
fresh parsley, garnish

how to
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.
Dredge the meat with the flour. Heat olive oil in a large oven proof skillet and brown the meat on all sides. Set aside.
Without wiping the skillet, heat a little more olive oil and saute the chopped onions until translucent. Add the tomato paste to the skillet and cook for about one minute.
Add the carrots, baby onions and garlic and cook for about two minutes. Pour the beer into the skillet and deglaze the pot while scraping the bits from the bottom. Leave to simmer for about three minutes.
Add the herbs, sugar, salt & pepper to the skillet and stir through. Add the meat to the pot and slowly pour the beef stock around it.
Bring everything to a gentle boil. Cover the skillet with a lid, leaving it slightly tilted to allow more steam to evaporate while cooking.
Carefully place the skillet into the preheated oven and cook for 2.5 – 3 hours, stirring halfway through cooking.

If you would like a thicker sauce, mix two teaspoons corn flour with two teaspoons water. Add it to the pot and bring it to a gentle simmer.

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve with mash or basmati rice.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x


braised beef short rib with mushrooms

I am very passionate about stews and casseroles so generally look for any excuse to cook another rich, hearty one pot. (Not that i ever need an excuse to cook anything!)
Good quality meat is the perfect start to any good stew or casserole followed, of course, by fresh vegetables and drinkable red wine. I always buy good quality boxed red wine and keep it in my pantry. It lasts much longer than bottled red wine, making it cost effective.
These dishes need a lot of love and patience, which is all worth it once you lift the lid and sniff the wonderful aroma of slow cooked meat, garlic, herbs and red wine.
Short rib is a fairly inexpensive cut of meat and is beautiful served on its own in portions or pulled in a beefy BBQ sauce or use the pulled meat for a short rib pie in a puff crust.
If this kind of food does not do something for your soul, i really am not sure what will.

ingredients | serves 6 | a little effort
2kg beef short rib (portioned by your butcher)
5T plain flour
200g bacon, diced
1 punnet (250g) button mushrooms, halved
3 stalks rosemary, leaves only
1 garlic head, halved
2 medium carrots, grated
3 leeks, diced
1 large white onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, diced
2T tomato paste
1t salt
1t black pepper
3T olive oil plus extra for browning meat
2T butter
600ml drinkable red wine
2C beef stock
1T brown sugar

how to do it
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Dredge the meat in the flour and shake off any excess. Heat about four tablespoons of olive oil in a large oven proof skillet and brown the meat in batches until it has a beautifully coloured crust. Set aside.
Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until browned and crispy. Set aside.
In the same skillet, melt the three tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter. Sauté the chopped onion until glossy. Add the garlic and press it down, releasing the garlic flavour into skillet.
Add the grated carrot, diced leeks & celery and stir. Add the tomato paste and allow this to cook for about one minute.
Add the brown sugar, salt & pepper and stir to combine.
Pour the red wine into the skillet and allow to cook for about five minutes. Now pour the stock into the pot, add the bacon and the short rib and bring the mixture to the boil.
Cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid or tin foil and carefully place in into the preheated oven to cook for 2.5 – 3 hours until the short rib is soft and almost falling off the bone. Meanwhile, heat butter and olive oil in a pan and fry the mushrooms until just cooked. Set aside.

If you prefer a smooth sauce like i do, remove the meat from the skillet and strain the sauce through a sieve. Press the garlic out into the sauce. Pour the sauce back into the skillet and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce until thickened. Add the meat and mushrooms to the skillet and gently simmer for about five minutes to heat through.
Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve with smooth, garlicky mashed potatoes.

If you prefer to keep the sauce in its natural form, simply remove the garlic head, press the garlic out into the sauce and do not strain. Follow steps as above.

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