Spring lamb braise for an Autumnal day

I have just procured a cook book MALOUF  which totally floats my culinary boat. I love flavours of the Middle East, layers of aromatics and herbs, fresh tasting food with depth and interest;  this book totally clicks into this love.   Of course I always enjoy reading new cook books; though this one really excites me,  want to cook everything. I seem to be drawn to all things Australian at the moment: Greg Malouf the chef and food guru behind this amazing food is originally from Melbourne;  I had worried that I would have to fly to Australia to eat at his restaurant so am delighted that he is currently cooking at Petersham Nurseries  after the departure of another one of my Australian born food heroes Skye Gyngell. petershamnurseries.com

The book is full of recipes for soups such as artichoke, Spanish sausage & roasted pistachio – salads, Sweet and sour aubergine –  fish dishes; Red mullet with golden spices and citrus salad….I mean COME ON!

I have 2 supper clubs next week both with a  lamb braise on the menu;  Spring lamb being so so good at the moment whilst the weather is so so bad thus a braise seemed a good recipe to try. This kind of dish is all about using a small selection of the best quality produce with a  simple cooking technique to showcase the ingredients. Get the best lamb you can.

I often stick true to the original recipe on a first test run unless there is something I want to do differently. The book suggests Turkish red pepper paste, a red pepper based firey sauce but  I substituted with harissa. It also comes served with a ‘cheesy eggplants puree’ which whilst sounds intriguing was not what I fancied for my tea.

Sultans Delight – Lamb Ragout

 Apparently serving 4 -perhaps as a mezze dish though I would say 2

700g cubed lamb – 40g butter  – 2 red onions, diced – 3 cloves garlic, chopped –  2 tsp chopped fresh oregano –  2 vine tomatoes, skinned, seeded & chopped –  250ml chicken stock – salt & pepper

Melt the butter and fry the lamb until browned.

Remove from pan, sweat onions, garlic & oregano for 5 minutes

Add the honey, turn up the heat cooking for another couple of minutes

Stir in harissa, tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper, bring to a simmer slide in lamb

The original recipe suggest a gentle simmer for 1 – 1/2 hours but I prefer to low oven at 150 for the same

Oh lord this is good! Lamb  soft and  full of depth. The honey does come through though balanced perfectly with  tang from the harissa. I served it with a cracked wheat salad though little cubes of roasted potatoes would have worked, also would be good with a blob a tztatziki and soft pitta like bread to juice mop. Simply delicious.


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