Is it cold yet? No, seriously! It's nearly the end of September, the days are very clearly getting shorter and yet it still seems a little too warm for this time of the year. I'm not complaining though. After missing most of the lovely summer weather due to work, I'm now looking forward to soaking up a little Indian Summer sunshine, so it is great. On the other hand, I have found the holy grail in form of the perfect winter coat and of course I can't wait to wear it. And then there's the fact that my mind is turning to autumnal food and I'm not certain whether that is quite appropriate just yet...
Ah yes, Autumn and Winter food. Gone are the salads (mostly) and lightly grilled meats, in come the heavier dishes that lend comfort on grey and rainy days. Along with woolly socks, thick jumpers, scented candles and hot chocolate, stews are right up on my list of 'dark season' comforts. So, I might as well get my recipes in order and start early working on this Winter's favourites with a little help from Le Creuset and one of their fabulously heavy cast iron casseroles. I'm usually a big fan of a traditional Boeuf Bourguignon with heavy flavours of red wine and beef. However, I really wanted to do something different and go into a completely different direction of flavours. So, with that in mind, I went for the Middle Eastern approach - or so I believe. I have used lamb, chickpeas, lentils and masses of fresh coriander to give it the warm and satisfying taste I so crave in Winter. So, if you're interested in trying this, read on.
To feed four people you will need the following ingredients:
- 800g boneless lamb shoulder
- 400g new potatoes, halved
- 2 tins (around 500g drained weight) green lentils
- 1 tin (around 250g drained weight) chickpeas
- 2 large shallots
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 700ml lamb stock
- 1 large bunch fresh coriander
- 1tsp ground turmeric
- 1tsp ground cumin
- 1tsp ground coriander
- olive oil to cover the base of your pot
And here's how it's done:
- Preheat your oven to 170C
- Finely chop the shallots and put the garlic into a garlic press.
- Chop the fresh coriander (leaving some aside for garnish), leaves roughly and stalks finely.
- Add the olive oil to your pot and heat it, then add the shallots, ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander and pressed garlic cloves.
- Over a medium heat fry all the ingredients until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Empty the onion and spice mix into a bowl.
- Now turn up the heat and put the lamb into the pot and browning it from all sides.
- Add the onions back to the lamb and add the chopped coriander.
- Add the stock and bring to a simmer.
- Turn the heat down and simmer until reduced by around 1/3.
- Put the whole pot into the oven for one hour.
- After the hour is up, add the potatoes making sure they're all covered with stock.
- Put back into the oven for another 1.5 hours.
- Add the lentils and chickpeas and cook for a further 15 minutes.
- Take out of the oven, add the fresh coriander you kept aside and serve.
That's it! Now, I know that at around three hours cooking time this isn't exactly the quick Monday night dish, but it's perfect for a cosy dinner on a cold weekend.
Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post, however, opinions, recipes and styling are my own.