Herby lamb burgers on a bed of cavolo nero

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The monthly farmers market came to our local town yesterday, and I was there bright and early. Picked up some beautiful veg to top up our current supply, as well as freshly minced lamb. Everyone loves a decent burger, and with the horsemeat scandal still making the front page over here in the UK there has never been a better time to start making your own.

Minced meat tastes so much better if you add lots of flavour and fresh herbs and garlic are a winning combo. For these burgers I’ve used rosemary, mint and a teeny tiny bit of sweetness courtesy of a couple of dried apricots. I like the organic dark brown sulphur dioxide free apricots, aside from not containing any nasties they taste great and make for a delicious snack.

My fridge is crammed full of in season dark green leafy veg at the mo, so I served the burgers up on a bed of sautéed leek and cavolo nero. If you’ve not tried cavolo before do hunt it down this Spring as it’s packed full of good stuff. Although this was enough for me, my hubby insisted on chips with his and who can argue with his logic? Burger & chips = classic.

Ingredients (for four):
(burgers) 500g minced lamb
Large clove of garlic – minced
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaf -finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh mint leaf – finely chopped
2 dried apricots – finely chopped
(side) bag of cavolo nero – thoroughly washed, any tough ends removed, each leaf chopped in half
Small leek – thoroughly washed and sliced into chunky rings
Knob of butter or tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
(optional chips) potatoes, olive oil, salt & pepper

Method:
– if you’re making chips do this first: a med sized potato per person is a good rule of thumb, scrub and leave the skin on or peel depending on how you like them. Before you start prepping your potatoes, preheat your oven to 200C non-fan/190C fan/400F/GM6. Cut into thin matchsticks and coat in olive oil, salt & pepper. Arrange on a non-stick baking tray and cook for 20 mins

– place all burger ingredients in a large bowl and combine well with your hands. Form four equal sized patties, ensuring you’ve been firm so they keep their shape during the cooking process. Set them aside to allow the flavours to develop, you could also make them up to 24 hours in advance and store in the fridge or freeze for a super easy meal another time

– when your chips have had ten mins melt the butter or olive oil over a med heat in a large saucepan. Add the leek, season to taste and cover with a lid. Cook for a few mins until soft and add the cavolo nero. Turn the heat down low and continue cooking with the lid on while you fry your burgers

– put a large non-stick frying pan or griddle on the hob over a med-high heat. Once really hot, add the burgers and cook for 3-5 mins on each side until cooked to your taste (personally I like these nice and pink in the middle, but you may want yours brown all the way through)

– serve immediately pouring any lamb juices from the pan over the top of the burgers

Leg of lamb with butternut squash

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Here’s another super easy roast recipe, inspired by the ginormous whole leg of lamb we had in the freezer where we bought half an animal recently. This should keep us going all week 😉

Ingredients:
Whole leg of lamb (2-2.5kg)
Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage or dried
Knob of goats butter (sliced into 5)
4 med sized red onions (peeled, left whole)
4 large carrots (top, tailed, peeled and halved)
1kg butternut squash (scrubbed, deseeded and cut into 6)
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Method:
– preheat the oven to 200 degrees

– put all your veg on a large baking tray and place the lamb on top in the centre

– slash the skin 5 times with deep cuts

– season everything with salt and pepper, cover the lamb with sage then put the butter slices into the cuts you just made

– roast for 30 mins, then turn the heat down to 160 degrees

– roast for a further 30 mins per kilo for med-rare and 40 mins per kilo for med cooked meat

– when it’s cooked remove the lamb and allow to rest for at least 30 mins

– take the butternut and 6 of the 8 carrot pieces away for serving

– tip the onions, rest of the carrot and all the pan juices into your blender and whiz on high for a 5-10 seconds for fab gravy

– serve your lamb, roast butternut and carrots with tons of green veggies

 

Paprika Lamb Shoulder

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We went halves with a friend on a lamb from our local farm shop last week, so as you can imagine have been eating a lot of the stuff… It’s amazing quality and works out so much cheaper than buying individual cuts, I’d highly recommend it. Here’s what we had last night.

Ingredients (serves 2-4):
750g-1kg bone-in lamb shoulder joint
50ml balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp sea salt
3 red onions (peeled and quartered)

Method:
– put the lamb skin side up in a large tupperware box, rub the olive oil over the skin. Mix the salt and paprika together and rub into the skin. Marinade the lamb in the fridge for up
to 24 hours

– when you’re ready to start cooking, preheat the oven to 200 degrees

– mix the balsamic and honey together, and put it at the bottom of a large casserole pot. Place the lamb on top and roast in the oven with the lid off for 30 mins

– give the lamb a good basting with all the juices at the bottom

– add the onions to the bottom of the casserole, place the lamb on top, and turn the oven down to 150 degrees

– cook with the lid on for three hours, and leave to rest out of the oven for half an hour afterwards (still in the casserole with the lid on)

– serve with tons of green veg

 

Three ways with lamb shoulder

We often buy a whole shoulder of lamb for roasting purposes then eat the leftovers during the following week, ensuring that one piece of meat goes a long way. Here’s what we had this week…

WHOLE ROASTED LAMB SHOULDER:

Ingredients:
1.5kg lamb shoulder
3 red onions (peeled and quartered)
10 cloves of garlic (peeled, left whole)
3 large sprigs of fresh rosemary (leaves removed from the stalk)
50ml balsamic vinegar
Large knob of butter (chopped into 8 squares)
Tbsp anchovy paste

Method:
– preheat the oven to 200 degrees

– coat the skin of the lamb with the anchovy paste

– scatter the butter, onions, garlic and rosemary on the bottom of a sturdy casserole pot and drizzle over the balsamic vinegar, then place the coated lamb on top of the veg

– cook for half an hour then turn the oven down to 160, put the lid of the casserole on the dish and cook for a further two hours

– let the meat rest for 20-30 mins before serving with green veg and half the balsamicy onions & garlic

LEFTOVER LAMB with AUBERGINE, RED PEPPERS & BROCCOLI:

Ingredients:
Half the leftover lamb from the shoulder recipe above (chopped into 1 inch chunks)
The rest of the balsamicy onions & garlic from above (there will also be some hardened lamb fat in the pot)
2 red peppers (de-seeded and quartered)
Large aubergine (cut into 16)
200g broccoli (purple sprouting if you’re lucky enough to get hold of it, regular if not, chopped into bite sized pieces)
Tbsp tamari
Tbsp sesame oil

Method
– preheat the oven to 180 degrees

– coat the aubergine and peppers in the sesame oil and tamari, place on a roasting tray and bake for half an hour

– when the above is five minutes from being done heat the onions and garlic in a large pan over a med heat

– once the fat has melted, add the leftover lamb and broccoli and cook with the lid on. You may need to add a little drop of water to the pan at this stage

– once cooked stir in the roasted aubergine and peppers and serve immediately

THAI STYLE LEFTOVER LAMB:

Ingredients:
Other half of the leftover lamb from the shoulder recipe above (chopped into 1 inch chunks)
3 courgettes (top & tailed and peeled)
Large carrot (top & tailed and peeled)
Small red onion (peeled and sliced thin)
4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
Small red chili (de-seeded and chopped very small)
Tbsp fresh ginger (grated or chopped very small as per chili)
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
Juice of half a lime
Tbsp sesame oil
Tbsp almond butter
Tbsp tamari
Tbsp honey
Tbsp fresh coriander

Method:
– mix together the chili, lime, fish sauce, tamari, honey, ginger and almond butter in a bowl and use it to coat the meat – leave to marinade while you prep everything else

– use a speed peeler to make very thin strips out of your carrot and courgette

– heat the sesame oil in a wok over a med-high heat and sautée the onion for a few mins until soft, then add the garlic and cook for another minute

– add the meat and all the juice, then the carrot and courgette

– cook with a lid on for about three minutes until the meat is cooked through and the veg is soft

– sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve immediately

Lamb Jalfrezi

Hearty and easy as pie, this awesome jalfrezi is another all round winning recipe that I often go back to when I fancy a med-spicy curry.

Ingredients (serves 6-8):

– 1kg lamb shoulder; diced

– 2 red peppers; de-seeded and sliced

– 2 lge onions; chopped finely

– 6 cloves of garlic; minced

– 2 tbsp tomato purée

– 1 tbsp white wine vinegar

– 2 tsp ground turmeric

– 1 tsp each: ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala, cayenne pepper & cardamom pods

– oil for cooking

– fresh coriander to garnish

 

Method:

– heat the oil and cook the onions until soft, then add the garlic and cook for another two mins

– add the dry spices, tomato puree and vinegar then stir in the meat and coat well

– add the peppers and cardamom pods

– cook over a low heat with the lid on for 2-3 hours

– serve with rice and/or naan bread