Lamby Lamb Pie

Pie ‘eck , You’re Gorgeous.

Maybe not strictliest a pie, as this only has a pastry top and no crust. Still, we can kid ourselves that it’s better for us this way as pastry is hardly health food #1. Also, the cut of lamb I’ve used – shoulder – is a fairly fatty cut so I have trimmed as much obvious fat as possible off it, but there is nothing else really to be done. You could, I suppose, use leaner cuts like fillet or leg of lamb but they are more expensive, arguably less flavoursome and not as suited to long slow cooking. Personally, I think shoulder is the perfect cut for this dish.

Recipe will serve 4 generously.

  • 500g lamb shoulder, chopped into large bite sized chunks
  • splosh olive oil
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • glass of red wine
  • 800ml lamb stock
  • splash of Worcester sauce
  • bay leaf and couple of sprigs of thyme
  • onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 300ml of root vegetables – I used carrots but you might like swede, turnip or parsnips or a mixture – chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 250g puff pastry
  • 1 egg
  • splash of milk
  • salt and pepper

A good few hours previous to when you plan to assemble the pie, put the onion, garlic, bay and thyme in a heavy based saucepan over a  low heat with a splash of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sweat the onions down, until they are golden and completely soft. Meanwhile, put the chopped lamb and 1 tbsp of the flour into a freezer or ziploc bag and shake until the lamb is dusted with the flour. Brown the cubes of lamb in batches in a hot frying pan, and do not crowd the pan as this will cause the lamb to steam rather than brown.

When the lamb is sealed all over, put it in the saucepan with the onions and add the remainder of the vegetables. Turn the heat up to medium and pour in the glass of wine. Let this bubble away for a few minutes and pour in the stock and shake in a few drops of worcester sauce. Mix another teaspoon of flour with a couple of spoonfuls of the stock until smooth and pour into the saucepan. Bring this to the boil, stirring, and then turn down to a simmer. And then just simmer for a couple of hours until the sauce has reduced down and thickened and the lamb is very soft. Pour this into a large pie tin or lasagne dish and leave to cool.

Roll out your pastry, and cover your pie. Cut a hole in the top to allow the steam to escape and then mix and egg with a couple of tablespoons of milk. Brush this mixture over the pastry and then put into a preheated oven at Gas 7 for approximately 30-40 minutes. Like me, you may wish to cover it with foil towards the end of cooking, in order to stop the pastry burning, as mine has started to do. Serve with mash and veg.

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Lamb and Feta Gnocchi (or pasta, if it pleases you)

lambandfetagnocchi

Last night, whilst cooking sausage and mash, I was pondering (aloud) whether a chopped chilli would bring anything to the onion gravy I was planning to make. Mr Greedy took a deep breath and confronted me, with my problem. An intervention, if you will. The message was simple: Not everything you cook, Greedy Rosie, needs to have chilli in it. And I went to protest of course but then I realised he was right. I want to put chilli in everything I cook. I look back on the food on this blog and find that the majority of meals have chilli in them. My name is GreedyRosie. And I am a chilliholic.

Naturally, tonight’s tea was to have chilli in it. I think I naturally pick recipes that are likely to work well with my favourite pepper. After deciding that I was not going to add them, I started wondering about capers. There are no capers in this either.You can make your own gnocchi if you like, its not a difficult task, but I don’t have the time or energy to do it today and I certainly don’t have the time to write how. So maybe another day. This dish served 2, generously.

  • 500g gnocci
  • 500g lamb mince
  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 200g feta cheese, crumbled
  • small handful mint, roughly chopped
  • small handful parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt & pepper

Sweat off the onion and the garlic in around a tablespoon of olive oil over a low heat in a frying pan with some salt and pepper. It should take about 5 minutes in total. Turn the heat up and crumble the lamb mince in. Give it a quick mix round to combine the onion, garlic and mince, and then leave in the pan to brown. Once browned, mix again in the pan until throroughly browned all over.

Add your tomatoes and lemon juice and give it another quick stir, and turn the heat down to medium – low. Start cooking the gnocchi as per pack instructions (will need to simmer for 2-3 minutes). When the gnocchi is cooked, put your feta, mint and parsley in with the lamb and stir it around. Drain the gnocchi, and put in with the lamb, feta and herbs. Combine, and serve.

Tomato, Herb & CousCous Salad

Don’t worry too much about exact quanties here – this is more of an idea than a recipe. I made this to go with stuffed aubergines, because I had lots of herbs to use up, but I would probably, in hindsight, usually make this to go with something plain like chicken, fish or chops. Or maybe something extremely spicy. Anyway, its a very fresh, juicy salad. Honestly, I think its only worth making at this time of year, as raw tomatoes usually are not worth making a feature of.

tomatosalad

  • 50g couscous, dry weight. Made to packet instructions.
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced into rings
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped mint, parsley, basil and marjoram (or whatever green leafy herbs you can get your hands on, that’s just what I had)
  • good glug of olive oil
  • splash white wine vinegar
  • lots of salt & pepper

Make up the couscous and leave aside to cool down for a bit – room temperature is what you’re aiming for. Then, chuck everything into a big bowl and mix with a fork (always best not to stir couscous with a wooden spoon because it goes claggy really easily). Thats all.

Greek(ish) Stuffed Aubergines – Farmer’s Market Wednesday

Its tough, on a rainy windy Wednesday morning, to think in a particularly mediterranean way. When the weather is like this, I just want to cook stodgy pastas and big stews, which is crazy in August. This dish is still fairly autumnal, probably, but I have tried to incorporate some sunny flavours in an attempt to lift my spirits. I’ve made far too much stuffing for aubergine for 2, which was my intention, so we’ll say this serves 4.

  • 2 large aubergine, or 4 small ones, split down the middle
  • 500g lamb mince
  • splash olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 heaped tbsp of dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp thyme, chopped
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • glass of dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 200g feta, crumbled
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 6. Put the aubergine on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. When the oven is hot, put your aubergine in on the middle shelf and cook for about half an hour. You’re probably not looking to cook the aubergines all the way through, but the problem that you have with aubergine, is that there is no natural cavity, and its slightly beyond someone as clumsy as me to carve out the flesh when its completely raw without cutting through the skin. So yeah, bake for half an hour or so and then leave to cool slightly.

In a hot frying pan, brown the minced lamb. Depending on how fatty your mince is – and it ranges from roughly 15% to 25% fat – you may need to drain the oil away during the frying process, or your lamb may boil, rather than brown. When its browned all over, remove from the pan and drain off any remaining fat. In the same pan, add your thyme, half the oregano, the onion and the garlic, the cumin seeds, salt and pepper and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the onion is cooked through. Add your mushrooms and cook them for a few minutes, stirring until all your ingredients are combined. Add the drained lamb, mix again. Then put in your wine and tomato puree.

Get your cooked aubergine half and cut into it, leaving a roughly 1 cm border around the edge.. You should be able to scoop out the flesh with a spoon now, but might need a little help with a sharp knife. Chop the aubergine flesh finely and add that as well. Bring to a simmer, and then put the lid on and cook for 30 minutes, stirring regularly. Turn of the heat and add the remaining oregano and the parsley, and the lemon juice. Stir well.

Heap the lamb mixture evenly in the scooped out aubergine halves, and be prepared to pack it down a bit with your fingers. Crumble the feta over and put  them back in your hot oven, for a further 20 minutes – half hour until piping hot all the way through. Serve with something plain like rice  to balance out the salty spiciness or something a bit more toothsome like tomato, herb and couscous salad. Scoff.

Italian Cod with Chilli, Capers & Garlic

This recipe is from a book called Valentina’s Italian Regional Cookery, by the brilliant Valentina Harris, where the dish has the slightly more romantic title of Filetti di Merluzzo all ‘Istriana . Sadly the book is out of print now but you can still get it second hand from Amazon Marketplace, dirt cheap. This makes a very flavourful meal, just looking for some vegetables or new potatoes to go with it. Serves 4. Would work with haddock. This may not be the most glamourous looking dinner I’ve ever served up but it was great.

italian cod

  • 4 cod fillets, weighing around 500g in total
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 handful of fresh flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers, rinsed and dried. Chopped very finely.
  • 2 canned sardines, but get the ones in oil – olive oil for preference, chopped
  • 1 smallish potato, peeled & grated
  • 60 ml of stock, veg or chicken
  • 1 dried chilli
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper

Put the cod in a large heavy bottomed pan and on top, add the onion, garlic,  parsley and oil. You might think either the cod , the onions or garlic are not going to cook properly – they will. Cook over a low heat for about 12 minutes, but please watch the fish doesn’t overcook. Especially if the fillets are very thin. Remove the fish from the pan carefully, with a spatula or slice and place on a warmed plate or serving platter. Keep it warm while..

Add the chopped capers to the oil remaining in the pan and stir. (A confession: While I was making this, the fish skin stuck a bit, so I just put the original pan in the wash and started the sauce again in a new one – hardly matters) Stir in the sardines, grated potato, stock & chilli. Stir and simmer for about 7-10 minutes, or until the potato is cooked. I must tell you that there were  times making the sauce that I thought, ‘Hm, this looks like fishy wallpaper paste’, but persevere because it was delicious. Put the cod carefully back on top of the sauce and heat through again for about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove the chilli and serve, sprinkling with the lemon juice.