I heard a rumour today that you can still get lamb breast in Morrison's, from the butcher counter. Chinese spiced lamb breast shredded in lettuce wraps, with deep fried rice noodles, here we come …
I have a kilo of lamb shouder, the blade half with the bone in. I'm marinating it and plan to cook it without added liquid, in foil, very long and very slow until it falls apart. The marinade at the moment consists of:
The lamb should be sweet itself, no need to add honey or anything like that. The yoghourt and the lemon will tenderise it even more. There's a bit of heat from the chilli and the mustard (although mustard does fade on cooking). Some genial warmth and more scent from the coriander and cumin. A little sharpness and aniseed from the fennel,.
I'm tempted to add some more mid-tone warmth, ginger for example. I shall think on that. I could just introduce that in a ginger and cinnamon biriani to go with it.
THE NEXT DAY: the yoghourt was so good and thick that it has made a crust on the meat, so I have put it as is into a low oven, Gas 2.5. It's had about an hour so far and I can smell the coriander.
IN THE END: about 5 hours in the oven. The crust was dark brown, spicy and crunchy, the meat underneath was rich, moist, tender, fell off the bone, and was gently scented. We've scoffed the lot, with a wet rice with orange, ginger and warm spices. (Recipe coming in a bit.)
The key is the quality of the yoghourt, the thick Greek stuff holds together as a paste, the ordinary thinner stuff would be a marinading liquid and would cook away.
We like lamb shanks. I normally do them casseroled with a classic onion and red wine sauce, but I saw this recipe in the Waitrose magazine. It was in an article about steaming things, and to be honest I couldn't be farted running in and out of the kitchen checking on the steamer water for a couple of hours. So I did it slightly differently:
Heat the butter and olive oil in an ovenproof casserole. When it's frothing, stir in the spices, lemons and garlic. Mix well and allow to cook down a bit until the fat is impregnated with the flavours. Don't let it burn, though. Put the meat in, turning a couple of times and making sure it's well coated with the spices. Put in a low oven, Gas Mark 3 or thereabouts, for a couple of hours, longer if you like, turning occasionally.
We ate them with a steamed cauliflower, which was lovely coated with the lemony garlicky buttery sauce. The original recipe suggested serving it with a herby couscous, and that would be yummy too. It's very rich, and a gorgeous winter evening dinner.
These looked interesting. I love halloumi, but it's just way too calorific. These come in at 428 calories per 2 kebabs (recipe makes 8). Another one from a Waitrose card, June 2005.
20g pack fresh mint, leaves only
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
340g pack Waitrose Diced Leg Lamb
¼ small watermelon (approx 500g peeled weight)
250g pack Cypressa Halloumi Cheese, cut into 16 cubes
20g pack fresh coriander, roughly chopped
½ x 110g pack Waitrose Wild Roquette
Prepare and light the barbecue. If using bamboo or wooden skewers, soak 8 in cold water for at least 10 minutes to prevent them from burning. Line a baking sheet with foil if cooking under the grill.
Finely chop half the mint and place in a bowl with the juice of half the lemon and the oil. Whisk together with a fork. Season and add the lamb. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes.
Remove the flesh from the watermelon, then cut into 16 cubes. Push the lamb, halloumi and melon alternately onto 8 bamboo, wooden or metal skewers. Place on a barbecue rack or on the foil-lined sheet under a pre-heated grill. Cook for 5 minutes on all 4 sides, or until the lamb is cooked to your liking.
Meanwhile, make the salad by placing the remaining mint leaves in a salad bowl with the coriander and roquette. Toss together with the juice from the remaining lemon half. Season to taste. Serve the hot kebabs with the salad.
Or you could just grill the lamb and halloumi in bigger portions, and serve on top of the salad with the watermelon, or shove it all in a pita or lavash bread.