Lamb hot pot and pans envy

I’ve been suffering from serious pans envy recently. This time of year puts me in the mood for hearty, slow cooked dishes that warm you up when it’s cold outside. I have one cast iron le Creuset casserole which I use all the time (as you may well have spotted!) but it’s a shallow pan and while it’s ideal for some things I want a bigger deeper version. We are about to repaint our kitchen in a lovely 50s blue(well, Barry is) and I am already looking at blue le Creuset casseroles and putting one firmly at the top of my Christmas list. (Did I mention Christmas there?? – sorry!!!). One of those casseroles would be ideal for this recipe. It would allow you to brown the meat in the same dish that you put into the oven so you didn’t lose any of the lovely flavour from the bottom of the pot. I don’t have mine (yet!) but I do have a beautiful heart-shaped stoneware casserole which we were lucky enough to get as a wedding present. You can’t use it on the hob but it is a thing of beauty all the same.

Lamb hot pot

  • 600g lamb shoulder
  • 2 Tablespoons plain flour
  • 3 large potatoes – about 600g
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 medium carrots – about 200g
  • 1 big stick of celery – about 100g
  • A generous sprig of fresh thyme
  • A bay leaf
  • 500ml of lamb stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter
  • Oil

You will need a deep casserole with a lid.

Preheat the oven to 170.

Toss the lamb in seasoned flour so it is lightly coated. The easiest way to do this is by putting the seasoned flour in a zip lock bag and adding the lamb and jumbling it about.

Heat a tablespoon of oil over a high heat and brown the lamb well then remove from the pan and set aside.

Slice the onions and fry them in the same pan until they are soft and just beginning to brown at the edges.

Slice the carrots thickly and chop the celery roughly.

Place the browned lamb and all the vegetables into your casserole.

Pour the stock in and tuck in the thyme and the bayleaf.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into thick slices.

Layer the potato on top, overlapping the slices.

Dot the potatoes with butter and season with salt and pepper.

Put the lid on and cook in the oven for an hour and ten minutes.

Remove the lid and cook for a further 50 minutes.

Serve with something green. We had sliced greens but cabbage would be good, or peas.

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Easy lamb steaks with aubergine

I’ve made this a few times recently because it’s very simple and makes a tasty tea for nights when you don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen. My husband likes it because it has a big bit of meat in a starring role which he considers one of the essential qualities in any meal. It’s vaguely based on a Delia recipe which I remember involved all sorts of complicated aubergine salting which I don’t bother with in my version. It’d probably be better with fresh herbs but I quite often don’t have any so dried is what I used.

  • 2 lamb steaks
  • 1 medium aubergine
  • 1 vine tomato
  • A generous handful of cherry tomatoes – I’m loving the multicoloured ones some of the supermarkets are selling now
  • Some dried rosemary and oregano(or whatever dried herbs you fancy)
  • garlic puree
  • salt and pepper to season

Preheat the oven to 200/gas mark 6. Chop the aubergine into cubes and fry in an ovenproof dish until it is beginning to brown at the edges and soften. Put the dish into the preheated oven.

Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and roughly chop the big tomato. After ten minutes or so, add them to the aubergine in the oven along with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, a squirt of garlic puree and the dried herbs.

If you have a griddle pan, use it to griddle the lamb chops so they are just sealed and marked, if not just brown them in a pan.

Add the lamb to the vegetables and put it back in the oven for 5-10 minutes depending how you like your lamb.

Take it out the oven, season, and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Serve with nice bread to mop up the juices.