Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder in Thyme, Ginger and Garlic Marinade

I think plain roasted meat is all very well, but at this time of year when memories of overeating rich festive meals are not a totally dim and distant memory, I think it pays to flavour up your meals a touch, and ring the changes. I also know I’m going to have my leftovers for lunch tomorrow, so I want something that is going to taste good in a salad. When I found myself chopping the garlic and thyme, I just wanted another dimension, so I decided to add fresh ginger. Do ginger and thyme get on? They get on like a house on fire!

For the marinade:
Juice of one lemon
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Tsp thyme leaves
Glop of Olive Oil
1 square inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Either, put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smoothish. OR, put all the dry ingredients into a pestle and mortar until you have a sort of paste and then mix in the lemon juice and olive oil.

Preheat the oven, gas 2 or so, and take your lamb shoulder. Stab it several times all over and then pour over your marinade, massaging in all over with your hands. Leave to sit in a non metallic dish for a while. Put the lamb in a large casserole or roasting tin big enough to hold it. If you don’t have a lid that fits, covering completely with foil is ok. Depending on the size of your shoulder, you will want to cook it slowly for between 2 and 4 hours. About halfway through your estimated cooking time, uncover, and baste with the juices and cook for the remainder of the time without a lid. When its cooked, by which I mean by falling off the bone, leave it covered in a warm place for 20 – 30 mins. I’m having mine with quinoa, grilled halloumi and sautéed courgettes, but roasties, broccoli and a gravy made from the juices would be just as perfect. Apologies for the blurry pics, steamy kitchen and camera still not fixed!

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Braised Steak with Green Peppercorns

This was originally a Delia Smith recipe, I think. I’ve amended it slightly, to make it a little more healthy, and I cook mine in a slow cooker, but otherwise things haven’t changed too much. If you don’t have a slow-cooker, you can cook it in the oven at Gas-Mark 2 for around 2 hours. I love making this dish for so many reasons. Its cheap, its extremely flavoursome, its really not a great deal of effort, Mr Greedy & the Greedy Boy both love it and its got a taste that reminds me of cooking in France. And since I love cooking and eating in France, that can only be a good thing.

An easy dinner for 2 greedy people with mash & veg.

  • 500g Braising aka Casserole steak (you can get two whole pieces in most supermarkets, which is most suitable here, but if you get cubes it’s not the end of the world I guess)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of groundnut oil (or vegetable or any of the yellow oils. But not olive oil, and not butter)
  • 120 ml of vegetable or chicken stock. You could use dry white wine or cider here.
  • 1 sprig thyme, bashed with the blade of a big knife
  • 1 clove garlic, bashed likewise
  • 1 tsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 3 tsp green peppercorns
  • salt & pepper

If using the oven, preheat it now. Heat up a large frying pan and add the oil,  then put in the steak and brown for a few moments on either side. Using a slotted spoon, or something like that, carefully transfer the steak to the slow cooker or casserole dish. Put the onions in the hot fat and cook them slowly until they are soft and golden and then spoon them over the meat in the casserole. Add the stock to any remaining juices in the frying pan and scrape any bits or stray pieces of onion into it. If you’re using wine or cider here, bring it up to simmering point. Pour the hot stock over the meat, and add the thyme and garlic and a touch of seasoning – remember the stock has salt in, so not too much of that. Slow cook for 8 hours, or put the covered casserole in the oven for 2 hours. When it’s done, pour the juices and the garlic into a blender, to which you add the flour, tomato puree and two of the teaspoons of the green peppercorns. Blitz ’til smooth and pour the sauce into a saucepan with the other spoon of peppercorns. Bring it up to a fast simmer, check sauce for seasoninng and pour it over the meat. Scoff.