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

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

paprika & red wine lamb shank

i love meat and lamb is definitely at the top of my list when it comes to meat love.
Sundays in my home are for family, cooking, eating, drinking wine and repeating this almost until bed time. whether it is a lamb roast, chicken roast, pork belly, shanks or oxtail; meat is certainly always on the menu.
lamb shank is known to be one of the ‘cheaper’ cuts of meat and needs long, slow cooking. the taste and flavour is absolutely worth the wait. i usually start the shanks off on the stove and then stick them in the oven, covered. however, this version was cooked on the stove in my dutch oven and the result…perfectly tender, beautifully aromatic, fall off the bone meat.
leftover meat can be chopped and frozen and used for a lamb pie or served on a bed of herby, spicy couscous. any leftover jus can also be frozen. this makes the most amazing sauce for any meaty pasta dish.

i served the shanks with a buttery, spicy mash and green vegetables. the sauce was served separately.

5-6 lamb shanks
flour for dusting
olive oil
3tbs butter
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
4 leeks, sliced
2tbs tomato paste
1 can chopped tomato
4 stalks thyme
4 stalks rosemary
3tsp paprika (not smoked)
2c red wine
2.5c beef stock
10 dried juniper berries
2tbs brown sugar
2tsp cornstarch
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh chives, chopped

dust the shanks with flour. heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven and sear the shanks until brown all over. set aside.
in the same pot, add a little more olive oil and butter and cook the onion until translucent. add the carrot, celery, leek, paprika, thyme, juniper berries rosemary & tomato paste & brown sugar and cook for about 3 minutes.
add the red wine and reduce by almost half. pour the beef stock into the pot with the chopped tomato. place the shanks into the sauce. cover with cold water. bring the mixture to the boil. season with salt & pepper.
turn the heat down to a low, gentle simmer, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for about 1.5 hours, checking every half hour.
if needed, cook the meat for a further 30 minutes.
remove the shanks from the pot and set aside. pour the stock into a blender in batches and blend until smooth. pour through a sieve into a pot. simmer until reduced to about three quarters. mix the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water and add it to the sauce, off the heat. place the pot back on the heat and simmer on low, while stirring, until thickened.
season to taste.
place the shanks back into the sauce. garnish with parsley & chives and serve.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x

lamb knuckle stew

as promised, my lamb knuckle recipe.
this is another cut of meat that needs longer cooking time but the wait and little bit of effort is certainly worth it.
a rich, flavourful sauce with fall off the bone meat and soft marrow is the perfect meal for any chilly day, lunch or dinner.
i served the stew with a parsnip & potato mash, which was the perfect accompaniment to this dish.
the most effort lie in the chopping of the vegetables but this is another one pot wonder that is super easy and super tasty!
i used a moroccan spice that i bought from Woolworths and extra cumin for added flavour. any leftovers are great for a quick pasta the next day, topped with fresh parmesan shavings.
serve this with a glass of good quality red wine and you will love yourself for a very long time…

ingredients | serves 4
1.5kg lamb knuckle
olive oil
2tbs butter
flour for dusting
2tsp moroccan spice
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp oregano
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, cut into blocks
4 celery sticks, sliced
3 small leeks, sliced
2tbs tomato paste
1 can chopped tomato
2tbs brown sugar
1/2c red wine
500ml lamb or beef stock
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves only
fresh parsley, for garnish
1tsp salt
black pepper
1/2tsp chilli flakes
2tsp corn flour (if necessary)

preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. dust the lamb knuckles with flour.
heat oil in a large oven proof skillet / pot / dutch oven. brown the meat on all sides and set aside. add a glugg of olive oil and butter to the same skillet and sauté the onion, moroccan spice, cumin & oregano until glossy. add the carrots, celery, leeks, garlic, tomato paste &. brown sugar and cook, while stirring, for three minutes.
deglaze the skillet with the red wine and cook on low heat for about ten minutes until the alcohol has evaporated.
add the stock, chopped tomato, rosemary, salt, pepper & lemon juice and bring to the boil. nestle the knuckles into the mixture and bring to a simmer.
cover with a tight fitting lid or tin foil and place into the preheated oven for two (2) hours until the meat is beautifully tender.
for a thicker sauce, mix the corn flour with two teaspoons water and place the skillet back onto the stove and bring to a gentle simmer. pour the slurry into the pot while stirring and cook until slightly thickened.
garnish with the fresh parsley and enjoy.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x