created: 2004-12-11 11:17:23
This is a variation of something I caught the end of on daytimeTV last week. It has all the fruitiness of a tagine, and all the warming rich gravy of an Irish stew. As it cooks so long you get the best flavour with the cheapest cuts of lamb (and now we've promised ourselves we'll only eat free-range meat, we're cooking a lot more with the cheaper cuts... and eating a lot more vegetarian meals). I made it with something from up near the neck or shoulder, that looked decidedly scraggy when it went it, but it came out better than any lamb I've ever eaten. Best eaten on a cold night, with plain boiled potatoes to soak up the amazing sauce.
1 kg/2lb Lamb cut into chunks Seasoned flour 2 tbsp vegetable oil 100g/4oz smoked bacon, chopped 4 stalks celery, roughly chopped 4 carrots, chopped 1 large onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, smashed 2 sprigs thyme 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly 275ml/10fl oz red wine 250ml/half pint beef stock 150ml/5fl oz port 12 stoned prunes 100g/2oz dried cranberries or 4oz fresh cranberries 115g/4oz mushrooms 2 bay leaves 1 orange, zest and juice 1 tbsp tomato purée Method: 1. Toss the lamb in the seasoned flour. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole dish and brown the lamb all over. 2. Add the bacon, celery, onion, and cook while stirring for a couple of minutes. Add the carrots and the garlic and cook for a minute more. 3. Add everything else. 4. Bring slowly to simmering point then cover and cook in the oven at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 2 ½ hours or until the lamb is tender. 5. Remove the casserole from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes. This can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the fridge. Return to the oven for 1 hour at 180C/Gas 4 until hot and bubbling. Alternatively, once cooked, chill and place in a container in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. Defrost thoroughly before placing in the oven for 1 hour at 180C/Gas 4.