Friday, November 19, 2010

Connemara Lamb with a Lebanese theme

Lebanese Lamb casserole
with sesame lemon cous-cous and parsnip fennel puree

This recipe is based on Lebanese cuisine so the combination of herbs and spices makes this casserole spicy but not hot. To make it hot, add 1/2 tsp of Harissa paste or some chili's.
It's a great way to prepare the cheaper, tougher but more flavoursome cuts of lamb like shoulder.
Its a deliciously warming, spicy one-pot dish that's easy to prepare - great winter food.

Lebanese cuisine has a lot of fruits, vegetables and seafood.
When they use red meat it is usually lamb on the coast and goat meat in the mountain's.
It also includes lots of garlic and olive oil, often seasoned by lemon juice, butter and cream are rarely used.

Lebanese food concentrates on herbs and spices more than sauces, but the combinations they use are fantastic.

You can use stock cubes for this meal, but I don't see the point in this when you are trimming the chops anyway. The home made stock can be used for more than one meal, so as a gardener and cook you get great value for money and delicious winter soups.


400g lamb shoulder chops, boned and trimmed - the bones and trimmings are retained.
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large onion, sliced
1 leek, sliced
2 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tbsp oregano,
400g skinned, de-seeded chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
500ml lamb stock
black pepper



Take the bones and trimmed off fat, add to a pot with a little olive oil and brown them.
Add the leek offcuts, tomato peels and seeds, coat them in the rendered fat and add 1 litre of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes - strain off 500ml for the casserole.

When this is done, retain the bones etc. add a 1.5 litres and leave the stockpot on the stove if you have one - it creates a lovely base for soups, lamb stock is particularly good with lentil, pumpkin and parsnip soups.
A stock pot is a great idea, just add any veg trimmings you have - for example, I did this dish with squash, so I added the seeds to the stock. On another I used parsnip and fennel, trimmings were added.

A handy idea if you have space is to freeze stock in lunch boxes or old ice cream containers for use in the future.

Toss the lamb in a mix flour and spices (ground coriander, turmeric & cayenne) just like with the Hungarian style liver

Fry the lamb gently for 2-3 minutes or until brown. Add the garlic, onion, oregano and leek 
Cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft.
Place in the casserole dish. Add remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and place in a preheated oven 170°C for 2 hours or until tender.
Or, alternatively, cook very gently on the hob in a heavy based pot on the lowest heat for 2 hours or until tender.
As an oven dish, it can be served with baked potato's to save on energy, but I really like it with rice or cous cous.

Served with corriander rice and squash

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