“ The terms lamb, hoggett or mutton are culinary names for the meat of a domestic sheep. The meat of a sheep a year old or younger is generally known as lamb, whereas the meat of an older sheep is either hoggett or mutton depending on its age and characteristics. Some people who rarely eat these meats refer to all of them as lamb. All of these are known generically as sheepmeats. The meat of a lamb is taken from the animal between one month and one year old, with a carcass weight of between 5.5 and 30 kilograms. This meat generally is more tender than that from older sheep and appears more often on tables in some Western countries, most often on Easter (as a commemoration of the Last Supper). Hoggett and mutton can taste more flavorful than lamb because they contain a higher concentration of species-characteristic fatty acids; many therefore prefer the stronger flavour of older animals. Hoggett and mutton also tend to be tougher than lamb (because of connective tissue maturation) and are therefore better suited to casserole-style cooking. „
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I admit I don't often buy lamb, it's not that I don't like it, I love lamb. I just don't like the smell of it.
Anyway this is a version of a rogan josh I picked up a few years ago. One of my friends cooked it when I was round at her house for the evening hence I can't say where she got the recipe from. I have adjusted it slightly to my own taste and added a few other spices but things like the amount of chilli powder can be changed to suit your own tastes. I tend to like mine with a fair bit of heat. Whilst my friend added quite a bit of salt to her's I have left this out here as I don't personally like food to be too salty and the stock especially if you use a stock cube has more than enough salt in it.
For this I tend to use lamb shanks and cook them on the bone as I find this adds extra flavour to the dish. Ideally this should be cooked slowly so you can set it going and then as long as you keep checking it now and then you can get on with other things. When cooked this can be served with rice or equally a salad.
In the past I have cooked the lamb in this way then finished them off on the bbq for a couple of min and served them with the sauce. Although with the weather so far this summer I'm not holding out much hope of getting this done this year.
This is enough to serve 4 people
Although I have said about 1 lb for each lamb shank don't forget you have the bone here as well so it isn't 1 lb of meat. You could ask for them to be boned that way you are not paying for the bit you won't eat.
2 tbs plain flour
1 tbsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1/2 tbs paprika (I find the smoky kind works best but sweet will do)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp fresh grated root ginger or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
4 lamb shanks about 1lb (aprox 450g) each
2x2 tbs vegetable oil
1 large onion thinly sliced / finely chopped
1/2 pint (300ml) plain greek style yoghurt
3/4 pint (450 ml) hot lamb or veg stock
4 cracked cardamom pods
4 small tomatoes each cut into 4 wedges
How to make it (oven 180 deg C, 350 deg F, Gas 4)
mix together the flour and the spices except the cardamom and dust the lamb shanks with this mixture. Keep any excess flour mixture back for later
in a large frying pan heat the first 2 tbsp of oil over a high hear and cook the lamb for around 10 min turning the meat over a few times until well browned then transfer the meat to a large plate and set aside.
in a deep saucepan add the second 2 tbsp of oil and over a medium high heat add the onion to the pan and cook until golden brown. Add any reserved flour and cook for another minute stirring constantly. Stir in the yoghurt and the stock.
Now add the lamb to the saucepan and add the cardamom pods and bring to the boil. Cover the pan tightly with foil and over a medium heat cook for 1 and a half hours. After this time add the tomato wedges and then recover and cook for another 30-40 min. serve hot.
You can also cook this in a slow cooker. Here add the tomatoes with the lamb and cardamom cover and cook on low for about 7 hours.
The longer this cooks the more tender the meat becomes but you will have to keep an eye on it as you may need to add some water or preferably stock to prevent it from drying out.
For a bit of a twist on this try adding about half a cinnamon stick and 4 cloves to the oil as you are frying the onion. The cinnamon can be left in as the dish is cooking but will need to be removed as you dish up. I would advise removing the cloves before you cover it for its 1 and a half hour simmer as the taste of the cloves can overpower everything else if they are left in too long.
This dish does work well with mutton as well. Mutton is fairly cheap as few people want to buy it as it can be tough. However, mutton is ideal for slow cooking and will become much more tender during the cooking of this dish.
The tase for me is one of the depth of the spices and the chilli gives it that kick without setting fire to your mouth. The lamb is tender enough to just fall off the bone and the taste of the lamb is not overpowered by the spices. As it is a rogan josh there is also the taste of the tomato. This could be made stronger by the addition of about half a tablespoon of tomato puree but this is not really needed.
Although I wouldn't always eat a lot of red meat in my diet, I do like the distinctive taste of lamb, and would very often select a dish with lamb from a menu when out.
My husband is a huge lamb fan and so when we got married, he would regularly dropped hints for me to cook lamb for our evening meal as opposed to chicken etc. Now, none of my own family eat lamb, so I had never cooked it myself before, or watched my mother whilst I was at home.
Thankfully, a friend gave me this recipe for irish stew with lamb. Now, I have made irish stew plenty of times with beef, but exchanging beef for lamb was something new to try, and this is now a regular feature on the weekly menu!
These ingredients make enough for 4 people.
450g thinly sliced potatoes
600g lean stewing lamb cut into small chunks
3 oninos, thinly sliced
900ml lamb stock
1. Heat some oil in a large saucepan and brown the sliced potatoes.
2. Remove the potatoes and reserve.
3. Layer the cut lamb, onion and potato in a saucepan, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper (I often omit the salt)
4. Pour the stock over the stew and bring slowly to the boil.
5. Reduce the heat to very low.
6. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 2 hours or until meat if cooked through and tender.
7. Garnish teh stew with parsley.
I usually serve this with some vegetables.
This is a really tasty, and very simple irish stew, that will fill you up, and stop after tea snacking. I love the fact that you can leave it to simmer for a couple of hours, and go and do other things without having to watch or stir it continually.
If you are looking to try a new lamb dish, then give this a go!
Ive just checked out the weather forcast for the Bank Holiday Weekend.
Im pleasantly suprised, 17c and sunny intervals ... Practically summer!
Inevitably the BBQ will take an airing and Im sitting writing my shopping list !
I dont often eat lamb but love it on the BBQ with that slight charcaol taste!
Thick slice of leg of lamb, approx 2lb in weight, cubed
8 rashers streaky bacon
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, skinned and crushed
4-6 small tomatoes halved
8-12 button mushrooms
few bayleaves, optional
2-3 small onions quartered
8 skewers (if using the wooden type then soak before use)
1. Marinade your cubed lamb pieces for a minimum of 2 hours ( preferably overnight if you can be that organised) in the olive oil, lemon juice, seasoning and crushed garlic. Just toss it all together and refrigerate.
2. Thread skewers alternately with lamb cubes, halved tomatoes, onion, bacon and whole button mushrooms, Add a bayleaf here and there near the meat if you like your herbs and garnishes.
4. Brush writh melted butter and cook on the BBQ for 10 minutes, turning the kebabs regularly, until the meat is tender. You do not want to be cooking these in a flame just a low heat really.
I like to serve them with a pitta bread that ive warmed on the BBQ and some lemon rice salad or lemon couscous on the side.
As always before a BBQ, spend hours planning, shopping and preparing then let the man in your life stand by the BBQ for an hour with the obligatory silly apron on, lager in one hand and tool in the other and let them take all the glory!!
My children like this recipe as they get to "make their own". I like the flavours! The meat is mildly spicy - you can increase or decrease the amount of spices to suit your taste. I made it too hot once so we put banana slices in too ...
The salad, pita, and meat mixture gives a variety of textures in your mouth at once, which I like. My daughter wouldn't eat lettuce or grated carrot on its own but she'll have them like this.
--- Ingredients ---
4 tsp cumin
4 tsp dried coriander
1 pinch of nutmeg
4 tsp ginger
2 cloves garlic
Half an onion
a little olive oil
500g lamb mince
pack of 6 pita breads
couple of carrots
a jar of mint raita, or some houmous, or even mayonaise
--- Method ---
Mix 4 teaspoons of dried cumin, 4 teaspoons of dried coriander, a pinch of nutmeg and 4 teaspoons of dried ginger.
Peel and chop 2 cloves of garlic. Peel and dice the onion.
Fry the garlic and onion in the olive oil.
Add 500g lamb mince.
Add the spices.
Mix, and fry till it is cooked.
Meanwhile shred the lettuce.
Peel and grate the carrot.
Dice the cucumber.
Put the mince in one bowl, the lettuce in another, the carrot in another, the cucumber in another, the pita breads on a plate.
Then everyone can sit at the table and stuff their own pita breads with meat, salad, and houmous/raita.
Biriyani is a dish that comprises of Meat and Rice , layered and cooked together with some spices..It is derived from the Persian word 'Birian' which means roasting before cooking.
This very tasty dish has its origins in Arabia or Persia.The story goes that the nomads and the tribals carried some dried meat and rice with them during their travels, and they layerd the rice and the meat and added some dry herbs and nuts and let it simmer on a wood fire for sometime and then buried it under the sand for a few hours, after which the dish was ready.It was a fairly simple form of preparing biriyani those days, making use of nature and her resources.
Biriyani has taken many different forms since then, and gone on to become a gourmet dish, that has been evolved and finetuned to such an extent , that now one comes across at least 50 varieties of biriyanis.I may be wrong there, as the number may be greater.
Biriyani has Rice and Meat as its basic ingredients.The rest of the ingredients , the spices that go into it vary.
Hyderabad in India is known as the Biriyani capital of the world.There are mind boggling varities of Biriyanis prepared here at different restaurants.Some of those recipes are closely guarded by restaurants and families , as they have been handed down through several generations.The Mughals brought Biriyani with them when they invaded India. it is one of the many influences that came to india with the Mughals and became extremely popular here and further evolved.It also took on some local flavors to suit the spice loving Indians...
A good Biriyani consists of perfectly cooked meat and the right blend of herbs and spices, cooked together with the rice.The Rice and Meat is never mixed while cooking.They are both cooked seperately.The final stage of the preparation consists of layering the two alternatively and generally cooked either in an oven or on traditional wood fire,using gentle heat.One is careful not to mix the Biriyani even while serving.
Here I am going to share my recipe which I have tried to simplify to my own practical needs. Iremeber the good old times during my childhood when the preparation for Biriyani began early in the morning in my Ancestoral house, with the men folk chasing the Chicks ( for Chicken Biriyani) or the livestocks or Mutton Biriyani and the dish was prepared on coal fire .Whereas now things are simplified, I go to the supermarket for the Meat and the other ingredients and I use the rice cooker to make the Biriyani and, find it tastes no different from what the other more complicated forms of Biriyani's tasted.
Basmati Rice 3 and a 1/2 cups washed and soaked in water for 2 hours
Meat or chicken 500 gms, cut into medium sized pieces
Onions 4-5 sliced
Tomatoes 2 large sliced
Yogurt 1 cup
Ginger and garlic paste 1 tb sp
Gharam masala powder 2 tb sp
Red chilly powder 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
salt to taste
Ghee 1 cup
Clove, cinnamon,nutmeg and cardomoms
For the Green Masala paste:-
Mint leaves a bunch
Coriander leaves a bunch
Green chillies 4-5 or more if needed
A small piece of ginger and 5-6 garlic flakes
Grind the above into a fine paste
A few strands of Safforn soaked in a quarter cup of milk
Method of Preparation :-
Drain the rice. In a large frying pan or wok heat 4 tablespoonfuls of Ghee and fry the rice till slightly crisp, add the cloves , cinnamon, crushed whole cardamoms, nutmeg gratings and transfer the rice to a rice cooker and add 5 cups of water and enough salt . Leave it to cook.
Slice 3 onions into fine long pieces, and fry with some ghee till very crisp and brown and keep aside.
Marinate the meat with the gharam masala, turmeric powder, chilly powder and yogurt and the ginger garlic paste. Pressure cook with green chillies, coriander leaves and the tomatoes.
In a frying fan heat some ghee and fry the rest of the onions ,add the ground green masala paste , and mix well. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes after which transfer the contents from the cooker. Let the meat mixture simmer for a couple minutes or until the gravy becomes thick and well blended.
For layering :-
Now we need to assemble the various ingredients together. In the Rice cooker spread a little ghee and a layer of Rice, and pour a liitle of the saffron milk on top of the rice, then a layer of the meat curry, and finally sprinkle some fried onions. Repeat this process , finally sprinkle onions on the top and cook for 5-6 minutes, and the Briyani should be ready by then..
It is generally served with Raita prepared with Raw onions, Tomatoes, Cucumber and Yogurt ,mixed with some chopped fresh Coriander leaves and Green Chillies.
This is a super easy Shepherds Pie recipe for the whole family.
455g Lamb mince
1 chopped red onion
115g Carrots diced
2 tbsp plain flour
1 Stock cube
675g Peeled potatoes
4 tbsp Creme Fraiche
Salt and pepper.
1. brown the mince, onion and the carrots in frying pan for around 10 minutes, Stir the mince constantly until it is cooked.
2. Drain of any excess fat, stir in the flour, tomato ketchup and brown sauce.
3. Put the stock cube in 150ml of water until it completely dissolves, once it has done, add it to the pan.
4. Cover the pan and simmer for around 20 minutes. Add more water to the pan if it looks like it is getting a bit dry.
5. While ths is cooking, cut the potatoes into even pieces and boil them for around 15 mins, or until you can easily push a knife through them.
6. Mash the potatoes with butter and Creme Fraiche. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Heat up the oven to 190?C, 375?F or Gas 5.
8. Season the mince put into an oven-proof dish.
9. Top the mince with the mash potato, and bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Serve as soon as it is out of the oven.
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
Moroccan Lamb is a fabulous dish which doesn't take a great deal of time to prepare and you can cook it several ways.
I first encountered it when visiting a friend, he had made the dish with a shop bought sauce, though I didn't know at the time and I set out to find a recipe and make it myself, so wonderful was the dish.
After a few years of perfecting my own version, here goes:
You will need;
2 stock cubes, I like vegetable, you can choose for variety.
A handful of dried and chopped dates
A handful of dried a chopped apricots
2-4 pegs of garlic, depending how much you like, minced
Diced lamb in portions to suit you, chicken and turkey also work well
1 large or 2 small onions, diced
1 red and 1 green pepper, deseeded and diced
Salt and pepper to your own taste
Fry off the meat with a tiny bit of oil or flash fry with water in a very hot pan and throw in the onions until the meat is sealed. You only need the outside edge to be cooked to keep some shape.
Add your stock cubes to around a half pint of water, you might need more, it depends how many you're cooking for. It will reduce and you can add fluids later if you need to thin or spin out the sauce.
Stick it in a pan to simmer and add the dates, apricots, garlic and peppers and leave it to bubble just a little.
Once the stock is fully simmering and the meat is seared, add the meat to the stock pan and continue to simmer and allow to reduce to a sauce the consistancy of ketchup, keep adding water if it reduces too far for your liking.
Cook until the meat is cooked through and tender, serve with rice or couscous.
OR, the lazy way.....
Make the stock and allow it to cool, add all the other ingredients and allow to marinade in the fridge overnight or through the day.
Cook in a casserole dish or in a pan until meat is cooked through, serve with rice or couscous.
My husband and I got married in Paphos in 2007; it was here that I first tried moussaka. I absolutely loved it so was determined to try and cook it at home for us. I cooked it for my husband on Valentines Day and it was absolutely gorgeous, I will definitely be making it again. One point I will make that my recipe does not include potatoes as a lot of the Greek recipes do, but to be honest I prefer it without potatoes.
2 Medium onions, finely chopped
4 crushed garlic cloves
150-175ml olive oil
1kg lean lambs mince
100ml red wine
2tbsp tomato puree
Can chopped tomatoes
2tbsp chopped, fresh oregano
3 large aubergines
75g plain flour
50g fresh, grated parmesan
Pinch of nutmeg
2 medium eggs, beaten.
How to make:
- Cook the onions and garlic in 2 tbsp of olive oil and brown, add the mince and cook for 4 minutes. If there a lot of fat comes out of your mince then sieve the ingredients to separate the mince and then return it to the frying pan. Add the red wine, tomato puree, tomatoes, cinnamon and oregano and simmer for 30-40 mins, stirring occasionally.
- Slice the aubergines and brush with a fine layer of olive oil on each side. You must then lightly fry the aubergines on each side until browned. As there are quite a few you will have to do this in batches and place on a plate once fried.
- You then need to lay some of the aubergines over the bottom of a shallow, oven proof dish and season well. Then remove the cinnamon stick from the mince mixture and spoon half of the sauce over the aubergines. The lay another layer of aubergines over the top of the mixture and then spoon the remaining sauce over the top of these.
- Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas mark 6. You then need to make your sauce. Melt the butter in a non stick pan, add the flour and cook for one minute. Lower the heat and gradually beat in the egg until thickened slightly. It is very important that you do this very slowly; otherwise your mixture will become lumpy. Then simmer gently for 10 minutes. Stir in the cheese and nutmeg and season. Cool slightly and then beat in the eggs.
- Pour this sauce over the lamb and bake for 30-40 minutes.
The sauce thickens right up and becomes almost fluffy, which combined with the mince makes a delightful moussaka!!
I cooked this for my darling boyfriend on valentines day, they do say a way to a mans heart is through is stomach and this dish is certainly one which helps to pave the way. I cooked the shanks in the slow cooker, but they can be cooked in a casserole dish in the oven on low for about 3 ½ hours.
2 lamb shanks
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbs coriander seeds
1 tbs cumin seeds
1 tsp spicy paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
6 gloves garlic
1 inch piece of ginger (grated)
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs tomato puree
Vegetable side dish
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 red onion
4 baby aubergines
Handful of button mushrooms
2tbs olive oil
1tbs ground coriander
1tbs ground cumin
1tbs garlic powder
1tsp spicy paprika
Serve with cous cous, rice and/or pitta bread
1. Dry fry the coriander and cumin seeds for about 2 minutes and crush with a mortar and pestle.
2. Brown the lamb shanks in the tablespoon of oil a large frying pan for about 5 minutes to seal the meat, place in the slow cooker.
3. Mix together the chopped tomatoes, crushed coriander and cumin seeds, paprika, cinnamon, ginger and garlic and cover the shanks. (They should only be about a third covered). Cook in the slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours.
4. Mix together in a large bowl the 2tbs olive oil, 1tbs ground coriander, 1tbs ground cumin, 1tbs garlic powder, 1tsp spicy paprika and 1tsp cinnamon to create a marinade for the vegetables.
5. Roughly chop the vegetables and coat with the marinade, leave to stand for 20 - 30 minutes to absorb the flavours.
6. Place the vegetables in a large roasting dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until tender.
7. Cook the rice or the cous cous according to the manufacturer's instructions, and then mix with the roasted vegetables.
8. To serve place a portion of cous cous/rice on the plate and top with a lamb shank. The thicken the tomato sauce mix in 2 tables spoons of tomato puree and spoon over the shank. Can also be served with pitta bread if you don't fancy rice or cous cous
This meal, although takes a little effort, is truly delicious. The meat literally falls off the bone of the shank and the Moroccan inspired flavourings give you a warm satisfied feeling.
This is a recipe for a sauce that accompanies both lamb and duck incredibly well.
Ingredients - serves 2
1 x onion - diced
200 ml good beef stock
50ml good balsamic vinegar
2 large tbsp's Redcurrant Jelly
1. Saute the onion until soft, in a small amount of olive oil
2. Add the stock and bring to the boil.
3. Once it is bubbling add the balsamic vinegar and again bring to the boil
4. Then add the Redcurrant Jelly and stir until this is dissolved
5. Reduce the heat and leave to reduce and thicken up - to tell when it is done dip a metal spoon into the mix - if the sauce leaves a nice coating on the spoon when you remove it - it is ready.
6. Season to taste before serving
To serve I spoon it all over the meat, lamb and duck I have it with but I reckon it would be good with Venison as well, then I tuck in.
Slow cooked Lamb with beans
I love this dish because when you cook it the whole house is filled with a delicious aroma that makes your mouth water - when you finally eat it the meat melts in your mouth and the gravy is just delicious.
This is a fairly cheap but special dish to make - a half lamb shoulder will set you back about £5 or less and my recipe makes a copious amount for 4 - I have adapted a couple of recipes (heavily using a googled recipe from the Sunday Times) to make my own version. If you like the sound of this then Jamie Oliver does a version - when I made it the sauce was lacking in something - wine probably from memory!
Meat cooked this way does not make for great leftovers - but so far that hasn't been a huge problem! I am guessing that you could cook this in a slow cooker, though you may want to reduce the liquid somewhat.
If you have a large casserole or le creuset that is ideal for cooking this - otherwise use a roasting tin but seal well with foil or it will dry out.
1 half shoulder of lamb
1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 carrot finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Thyme, rosemary, bay leaves - fresh or dried, whatever you have.
Salt and pepper and olive oil
1 200g tin of tomatoes
150ml red wine
2500ml stock (probably vegetable or chicken)
1 tin of white beans - I like canellini
1) Heat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3
2) Push a knife into the lamb and put some chunks of garlic into the hole, probably half a clove and do about 5 holes.
3) Season the meat and then brown it in oil in whatever roasting tin you are going to use - this will take at least 10 minutes.
4) Take out the lamb, put to one side and fry off all the veg/onions til softened (NOT the BEANS)
5) Add the stock, tomatoes, a couple of bay leaves, some rosemary (if fresh probably a couple of sprigs), wine and when bubbling put the meat back in.
6) the hard bit is over now! Put well sealed into the oven for 2 hours.
7) After 2 hours add whatever beans you are using - and check liquid level you may want to add some more if it looks like drying out.
8) Cook for at least another hour - 2 if you can. At the end of cooking you may want to spoon off some of the fat. Stir and serve - the lamb will be falling off the bone and will shred more than be cutable.
You can serve as it is - if you add more than one tin of beans it is a meal in itself with crusty bread but we like to eat it with some mashed potato to soak up the juices.
We had this today but writing about it I could eat it all again!
I am a big fan of having dinner parties and introducing new tastes and flavours, especially as a lot of my friends are meat and veg people!
One of my favourite recipes that really tantalise the tastes buds is a Moroccan lamb tagine or tajine as its sometimes spelt.
Moroccan food is extremely rich but generally healthy and the spices used bring out the flavour of the meat.
1tsp of all the following spices
Paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, ginger, tumeric, crushed cloves and cinnamon
Lamb - 1 shoulder will be sufficient but use which cut you can find that you can afford. (diced)
2 large onions
Tub of passata 500ml
1pt lamb stock
2 tins of good quality tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic crushed
100g dried apricots
2tbsp of following - rosemary, honey, coriander and parsley
Marinade lamb in spices over night.
Fry onion with garlic in pan for few minutes and then add lamb and fry until sealed.
Throw all other ingredients in slow cooker and add the lamb mix cook on high for first few hours then turn to low until desired.
To add bulk you could even add peas to this recipe.
Serve with rice or crispy fried potatoes
A yummy winter warmer that impresses everybody and is so easy! If you don't have slow cooker put in casserole dish and cook on 150 degrees for around 3 hours.
This is a recipe for lamb moussaka that I kind of made up! I'm terrible for just making my own recipes rather than looking in books so this was done based on what I thought I'd eaten in a restaurant once! It tastes very similar to the one in the restaurant but I have no idea if it's authentic or not! It is yummy though!!
500g minced lamb
1 x medium sized onion
1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
Tomato puree - a good squeeze!
1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon or nutmeg
1 x large aubergine
300ml milk (full fat is best but semi skimmed is fine)
15g plain flour (or cornflour)
a little grated cheese
Heat a little oil in a pan and add the lamb mince, onions and garlic. Allow this to brown then add a good squeeze of the tomato puree and the cinnamon or nutmeg. Stir well then add the tin of tomatoes. Bring the temperature up and allow to simmer.
While the mince continues to bubble you can start the aubergine. Thinly slice the aubergine and lightly brush each side of each slice with a little olive oil. You then need to fry each slice and put them to one side on some kitchen towel or a clean dishtowel to remove any excess oil.
You then need to make a basic white sauce - melt the butter in a pan then remove from the heat. Blend in the flour then gradually add the milk and whisk like mad! Return to the heat and stir as it starts to thicken.
You can then start to assemble the moussaka. You will need a fairly large ovenproof dish. I have a nice rectangular one which I usually use - it's around 25cm x 15cm which lets me do two good layers - mince, aubergine, mince aubergine then the white sauce on top. You can then add some grated cheese and a little dusting of the cinnamon/nutmeg if you like. Then put it in the oven at around 200 degrees for approximately 20-30 minutes (until it starts to turn nice and brown and the cheese bubbles).
The moussaka itself is quite filling but if you are particularly hungry it's really nice with some boiled rice. Also yummy with some green veg - love asparagus or mange tout.
Some people salt the aubergine before cooking it but personally I don't. If it's quite fresh there really isn't any reason to do this. However, if you do want to salt it just slice the aubergine then layer it in a colander with a little salt added to each layer and allow it to sit for maybe 15 minutes or so then pat it dry with some kitchen towel to remove the salt and moisture. If you do decide to do this it's a good idea to do the salting before you do anything else, that way you can get on with the mine and white sauce while it's left to sit so you're not wasting any time!
My husband (who is South Indian) taught me how to make this lamb dish a few years ago and now he says that I make it far better than he ever could. Being North Indian, it's quite different to the lamb curries my mum made when I was growing up but I much prefer this way of cooking it now...
~*~ INGREDIENTS ~*~
* 2 teaspoons sunflower oil
* 1 kilo of lamb, diced to 1 inch square cubes, on or off the bone
* ½ teaspoon salt
* ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
* 3 medium sized onions, roughly chopped
* 2 teaspoons garam masala
* 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated
* 3 teaspoons finely grated ginger
* 5 green chillies, sliced down the middle lengthways
* 800 ml water
~*~ PREPARATION ~*~
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions, frying till light brown, then add the ginger and garlic and green chillies and fry for a further 3 or 4 minutes on full heat.
Add the diced lamb and fry on full heat for at least 10 minutes stirring the whole time to ensure the heat is evenly distributed and no raw lamb remains.
Add the salt and red chilli powder, continuing to stir so that you don't get lumpy bits of either (nor the possibility of a mouthful of red chilli powder and a horrid shock once cooked). Pour in 400 ml water and stir well.
Leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the garam masala stirring thoroughly and add the rest of the water. Leave to simmer for a further 20 minutes, again stirring occasionally.
If you prefer your lamb to be more tender, the simmering time should be increased by a further 15-20 minutes.
~*~ SERVING ~*~
This curry tastes fabulous if served up shortly after being prepared. You can serve it up with plain boiled rice, naan bread, chapatis or even regular bread if you choose. Some people might even fancy their lamb curry with chips!
~*~ VARIATIONS ~*~
You might want to add more salt to the curry depending on your taste or even less but you can work this out once you've made this a couple of times.
You can add more green chillies or less depending on your ability to handle hot food. Personally I use 1 full teaspoon of red chilli powder and 10-15 green chillies when I make this dish and add a pinch or two of turmeric too.
For garam masala I use the ready-made packet stuff, some people might prefer to use the original ingredients from scratch using items such as cumin seeds, coriander and turmeric if you have the time or inclination. Some people might prefer also vegetable oil or even olive oil rather than sunflower oil.
For ginger and garlic I tend to make batches of ginger and garlic paste and store it in the freezer, keeping one container in the fridge for use with cooking. In this instance I would use 2-3 tablespoons of the pre-made paste rather than peeling and grating.
If you prefer your gravy thicker, add slightly less water - obviously more if you want it runnier and less spicy.
If you are not keen on lamb you can easily substitute chicken, turkey, pork or beef for the lamb, although cooking time for chicken or turkey should be reduced otherwise it will overcook.
NB: preparation time for me from start to finish is usually about 70-90 minutes...
This really is a winter warmer from Nigella Lawson in her book How To Eat. It actually doesn't take too much time to prepare (probably about 10/15 minutes), is simple to make, rustic chunky stew and tastes wonderful especially on a cold dark winter evening.
I have found that if you make this the day before you want to eat it and re-heat it before serving, it tastes even better as all those lovely spices all seem to melt together and enrich their flavours. But it still tastes delicious if you make and eat it the same day.
- 6 tbspns ground nut or vegetable oil
- 8 Lamb shanks
- 2 onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- sprinkling of salt
- 1 tbspn tumeric
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 dried red chilli pepper, crumbled, or quarter teasp dried chilli flakes
- 2 tsps cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- black pepper
- 3 tbspns honey
- 1 tbspn soy sauce
- 3 tbspns Marsala
- 6 tbspns red lentils
- 3 tbspns chopped pistachios, chopped blanched almonds or a mixture of both
Here's how to make it:
1. Put 3 tablespoons of the oil into a very large, wide, heavy-bottomed pan and warm over medium heat. Brown the lamb shanks, in batches, in the pan and then remove to a roasting tin or whatever else you've got to hand to sit them in.
2. Peel the onions and garlic and process in a food processor or chop them finely by hand. Add the remaining oil to the pan, and fry the onion-garlic mush until soft, sprinkling salt over to stop it catching.
3. Stir in the turmeric, ground ginger, chilli, cinnamon and nutmeg, and season with some freshly ground pepper. Stir again, adding the honey, soy sauce and Marsala. Put the shanks back in the pan, add cold water almost to cover, bring to the boil then put a lid on the pan, lower the heat and simmer gently for 1 to 1 and a half hours or until the meat is tender.
4. Add the red lentils and cook for about 20 minutes longer without a lid, until the lentils have softened into the sauce, and the juices have reduced and thickened slightly. Check for seasoning.
5. Toast the nuts by heating them for a few minutes in a dry frying pan, and sprinkle onto the lamb as you serve it.
This dish should be served with couscous, but mash potatoe also goes really well.
(all my reviews appear on Ciao under the same name - Ashwick)