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Festive beef tongue with sweet mustard sauce – #myfoodstory with La Motte Wines

18 Nov

Pickled beef tongue served at room temperature with a sweet mustard sauce and your choice of salads. Paired with La Motte Pierneef Collection 2016 Syrah Viognier. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

La Motte Wines are all about celebrating South African food traditions, whether they are old traditions or new. The team at La Motte asked me to contribute a story of my own, starting with memories about festive entertaining during the summer holiday seasons as a child. I knew exactly what I wanted to share, so here is #myfoodstory.

As a young child, we spent most of our summer festive holidays camping in Keurboomstrand. We were a large family of six, so we sometimes drove with a station wagon connected to a rented caravan connected to a jam-packed trailor, driving during the night so the kids would sleep (and probably cause less havoc). Every second year, we drove from Keurbooms to Buffels Bay on Christmas day to spend time with my father’s parents, ouma Naomi and oupa David Uys. Back then, they still resided in Blue Water Bay (PE) and spent their festive holidays camping in Buffels. My grandparents were super stylish, especially my ouma Naomi. She was well traveled and an exceptional cook that introduced me to many exotic dishes as a child, and she still is one of my main food icons. They had a stunning large new caravan complete with flushing toilet and real kitchen – kitted out to the max. In the adjacent tent, she poured bitter gin and tonics (no-one at our house drank anything but muscadel or beer shandy) while my Kalahari-born oupa carved biltong with his pocket knife. From this tented kitchen ouma Naomi generated the most incredible cold meat spread for Christmas that I’d ever seen: stuffed leg of springbok, turkey, various hams and beef tongue – all served at room temperature with an array of sauces and salads. It was the first time I’d ever seen beef tongue and I was fascinated by the dark pink rounds with the peculiar texture. I remember returning for seconds and thirds of these meaty rounds, proud of myself for really liking something that most other kids would cringe at.

I’ve since cooked quite a few tongues for Christmas – mostly getting the same “either you hate it or you love it” reaction from guests. Those who love it, usually swoon with special memories of their own. Served with a sweet and tangy mustard sauce, this is food fit for kings. Although I prefer serving tongue cold, you can definitely also serve it warm, smothered in a slightly creamier warm mustard sauce.

I am so grateful for a gran like ouma Naomi for teaching me to discover new ingredients, flavours and cuts. She would have been so proud of my food journey – something that I only seriously started cultivating years after she passed. I know the rest of our family feel that a part of her is living on in what I’m doing today, and I couldn’t be more honoured.

La Motte‘s cellar master Edmund Terblanche suggested two different pairings for my recipe – La Motte’s double platinum Pierneef Collection 2016 Syrah Viognier red blend, and La Motte’s  Pierneef Collection 2018 Sauvignon Blanc. Both work really well, but I’ve chosen to go with the red blend for the photograph.

May your own food stories also be a reason to celebrate this festive season!

WIN:

WIN La Motte wine for your festive table! Some of our most memorable food stories are from festive times and family holidays. Share your favourite food memory in the comment section on a La Motte #myfoodstory Facebook or Instagram post and you can win big! https://www.la-motte.com/blogs/news/my-food-story 

Beef tongue ingredients:

  • 1,2 – 1,4 kg pickled beef/ox tongue
  • cold water
  • 5 ml whole black peppercorns
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 2 large carrots, cut into chunks

Place the tongue in a large pot and cover with cold water. Leave to stand for 1 hour, then drain. Cover again with cold water in the pot, then add the peppercorns, star anise, bay leaves, onion and carrots. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer and cook slowly for 2 hours. Remove from the heat, then remove the tongue from the liquid (don’t discard the liquid yet). Let it cool for 15 minutes, then remove the outer skin of the tongue. Return the tongue to the liquid and leave to cool completely. Cut into slices and serve at room temperature, with a sweet mustard sauce, pickles and salad. (Keep covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.)

For the sweet mustard sauce: (makes about 1 cup)

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 XL eggs
  • 30 ml Dijon mustard
  • 15 ml wholegrain mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) corn flour dissolved in 60 ml cold water

Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan and whisk vigorously to mix. Place over medium heat, stirring often until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Refrigerate in a glass jar, covered.

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Crispy roasted pork belly with orange, ginger & soy

1 Apr

This is an updated version of a hit recipe that I posted quite a few years ago (a slow braised pork belly in a fragrant broth of soy sauce, ginger, orange, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom etc.). I’ve made that recipe countless times and the flavours are truly fantastic. It works especially well if you choose a belly that’s not too fatty. BUT, if you do love a slightly more fatty belly, this updated version with a crispy top layer of crackling ticks all of the texture boxes, yet still has all of those lovely intense Asian flavours in the juicy braised lower half. Simply put: it’s the best of both worlds.

I serve this belly sliced on a bed of silky cauliflower puree (or buttery mashed potatoes) with some flash fried greens (like baby spinach) and a generous drizzle of the dark, salty and sweet pan sauces. It’s crunchy, juicy, silky and soft – a fantastic dish for entertaining.

The striking linen with local fynbos/protea vector drawings (table runner: garden bloom, ocean on lime & napkins: small line protea, parchment on charcoal) are from Design Team Fabrics.

 

Top 3 tips for a really crunchy layer of crackling:

  1. Pat the skin side of the belly dry with kitchen paper, then leave the belly uncovered in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight) to dry out.*
  2. Score the belly with an NT cutter (it’s quite a heavy job, so ask your butcher to score it for you if you’re not sure about it) and salt it generously with salt flakes before roasting. Oil is not necessary, but you can brush it with a thin layer if you want to.
  3. Always start on high heat (230 C) for about 30 minutes on a rack in the top half of the oven to crisp/puff up the crackling layer, then turn down the heat to cook the belly until it is tender. See more directions below for cooking.

Ingredients: (serves 4 generously)

  • 2kg boneless pork belly
  • oil, for brushing the roasting tray
  • 15 ml salt flakes
  • for the sauce:
    • 125 ml soy sauce
    • juice & 3 strips peeled rind of 1 large orange
    • 45 ml soft brown sugar (like demerara/muscavado)
    • 1 cup mutton/chicken stock
    • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) finely grated ginger
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 2 whole star anise
    • 6 cardamom pods

Method: (*see tips for preparing crispy crackling above)

  1. Preheat the oven to 230 C.
  2. Brush a medium size roasting tin (just bigger than the belly roast) with oil and place the belly inside, skin side up. Salt the skin side generously. Roast the belly uncovered in the top half of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the skin side has puffed up and is golden brown (not too dark, as it still needs to spend a few hours in the oven.)
  3. While the skin side is roasting, prepare the sauce: mix all the ingredients for the sauce together in a jug and set aside.
  4. When the skin side of the belly is puffed up and golden, remove it from the oven and turn the temperature down to 160 C. The belly would have shrunken a bit from the sides, but would have thickened in height, because of the heat. Pour the sauce all around the belly, taking care not to cover the crispy skin (if the sauce is too much, leave some for topping up the roasting dish later – it will evaporate quite a bit). Return the dish to the oven and continue to roast at 160 C for another 3 hours until the belly is very tender.
  5. Remove the belly from the oven and leave to stand for about 10 minutes. Transfer the belly carefully to a cutting board and slice into portions with a sharp long-bladed serrated knife. Pour the pan juices into a small sauce jug.
  6. Serve the belly with mashed potatoes or cauliflower puree, crisp pan-fried / steamed greens and a drizzle of pan sauce.

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Balsamic leg of lamb with garlic & figs

21 Dec

Roast leg of lamb with garlic, figs, rosemary, balsamic vinegar and port. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Festive season is upon us and many of us are planning menus for a special celebration with family and friends. Every year, we as an extended family get together on Christmas eve for a showstopping hearty dinner, or on Christmas day for a lighter, mostly room temperature, yet elaborate festive lunch (summer days at the beach are just too hot for anything else). This lamb roast probably qualifies as a heartier dinner, served with all the trimmings and sides of your heart’s desire. Although figs are not in season at the moment, you can still find some imported ones in supermarkets here and there (I wrote this recipe right at the end of fig season when they were still on shelves everywhere). Otherwise, substitute them with beautiful firm halved plums – dark red and purple on the outside, yet golden on the inside.

A large leg of lamb or mutton in the oven smells like Christmas to me, and makes the best leftovers the next day. *Note: Ask your butcher to bend the long end of the leg bone by cutting almost through it but not all the way. This way it will fit snugly into a large roasting tray without hanging over the side.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

1 large leg of lamb* (about 3 kg)
45 ml olive oil
salt & pepper
3 sprigs rosemary, woody stems removed, chopped
2 whole heads of garlic, horizontally sliced in half
3/4 cup (180 ml) balsamic vinegar
1 cup (250 ml) port wine
1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine
about 8 large ripe black figs, some halved, some whole

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 160 C.
  • Place the leg of lamb inside a large deep roasting tray, fatty side down. Drizzle it all over with oil and season it generously with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary on both sides.
  • Arrange the garlic head halves around it, then pour the vinegar, port and white wine into the bottom. Cover with a lid or foil, then roast for 3 hours. Remove from the oven, then use tongs to turn the leg over with the fatty side to the top. Cover and roast for another 2 hours.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and turn the heat up to 200 C. Return the leg to the oven for 20 minutes to brown, then add the figs around the meat and roast for another 10 minutes – the figs should be just warm and soft, not falling apart.
  • Serve warm in the tray as a festive centerpiece, with a side of roast potatoes or vegetables and salad.

Note: This roast makes a hearty yet thin sauce – remove some of the fat from the top by skimming it off with a spoon at the end of the cooking process. If you prefer a thicker gravy, pour the skimmed sauce into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and thicken slightly by reducing it by 1/4 or by adding 2-3 teaspoons of corn flour (mix it to a slurry consistency with a few teaspoons of water before adding it). Stir well until thickened.

This recipe is another festive collaboration with Lamb & Mutton South Africa.

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Asian-style braised lamb shanks with orange, ginger, star anise and soy

17 Dec

Braised lamb shanks in an Asian-style braising broth of soy, ginger, orange and star anise. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

I’m one of those people that love my meat “saucy”. Slow braising is thus a great choice – really tender meat that’s been cooked in some liquid for a few hours, resulting in a really meaty sauce all around the meat. When the meat is fall-apart tender, you can just push it gently into the brothy liquid, absorbing all of the flavour-intense goodness.

The flavour combination of the aromatics and braising liquid is a firm favourite that I’ve been using for pork. I’ve tried it for the first time with lamb shanks, and what a successs! The familiar flavour of South African lamb with all the goodness of an Asian-style meat broth.

These shanks are perfect for entertaining during the festive season. Low effort, huge flavour, really rewarding. Take a look at my easy how-to video:

Ingredients: (serves 4-6)

45 ml olive oil
4 large or 6 medium lamb shanks (roughly 2 kg)
salt & pepper
15 ml cake flour
500 ml lamb/mutton (or chicken) stock
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 strips peeled rind and juice of a large orange
about 3 cm ginger root, finely grated
1/4 cup soft brown sugar (muscovado or demerara)
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods

Method:

In a large wide heavy based pot that can also go into the oven (with lid), heat the oil over high heat and brown the shanks on all sides. Season them with salt & pepper while they are browning.
Pre-heat the oven to 170 C.
Remove the shanks, then sprinkle the base of the pot with the flour and mix well. Add the soy sauce, stock, orange juice & rind, ginger, brown sugar and stir well to loosen any sticky bits. Add the star anise, cinnamon stick and cardamom, then replace the shanks and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven to cook for about 2,5-3 hours (turning them over half way through), or until the shanks are tender enough to gently fall from the bone when prodded with a fork.
Serve hot with cauliflower puree or mashed potato or asian noodles, and steamed greens like broccolini.

This recipe is another festive collaboration with Lamb & Mutton South Africa.

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Grilled lamb skewers with lemon, honey & mustard

8 Dec

Grilled lamb sosaties with Dijon & wholegrain mustard, honey, fresh lemon juice & rind, and garlic. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

As we are enterting festive season, most of us would just want to light a fire and spend some time outdoors with the promising smell of something amazing on the hot coals. These lamb sosaties are easy to braai and really deliver on the flavour factor – sweet and tangy honey mustard with fresh lemons and garlic.

The marinade will also work well on lamb/mutton chops, or even on chicken. Enjoy the start of your holiday (if you’re lucky enough to have some time off), put your feet up and exhale!

Ingredients: (serves 6)

1,2-1,5 kg boneless leg of lamb
juice and finely grated rind of 2 small lemons
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) honey
2 tablespoons (30 ml) wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard
salt & pepper

Method:

Cut the lamb into bitesize cubes of about 2,5 x 2,5 cm and set aside.
Make the marinade: In a deep glass bowl of about 1,5 liter capacity, add the juice and rind of the lemons, the garlic, olive oil, honey, mustards and season with salt & pepper. Mix well, then add the meat cubes and stir to coat.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and marinate for 1-3 hours in the refrigerator.
Remove the meat from the fridge and skewer the blocks on sosatie sticks to make 6 or more skewers. Braai over hot coals until charred on the outside and slightly pink on the inside. Serve hot with more lemon wedges, and a side salad or braai broodjie.

Another festive collaboration with SA Lamb & Mutton.

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Spicy lamb tortillas with beetroot hummus and crispy paprika chickpeas

4 Dec

Spicy lamb tortillas with creamy yoghurt, earthy hummus, fresh mint and a squeeze of lemon juice. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Lamb mince is usually ground from boneless leg of lamb and is therefor more expensive than most other mince options, but oh so tasty. The best you can do is to stretch it by using it as a topping for tortillas alongside a few other basic additions like hummus, fresh herbs and creamy yogurt, to turn into a fabulously light and festive lunch.

You can save a lot of time by buying ready-made beetroot hummus from some supermarkets, or make your own by pureeing a cup of ready-made regular hummus with a few cooked baby beets. Alternatively use any other hummus of your choice.

For the spicy mince: (serves 6, on tortillas)

30 ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
500 g lamb mince (ask your butcher)
15 ml (1 tablespoon) dry harissa spice mix (use more if you like it really spicy)
15 ml (1 tablespoon) ground smoked paprika
30 ml ( 2 tablespoons) tomato paste
30 ml (2 tablespoons) water
salt & pepper

For the crispy chickpeas:

1 x 410 g can chickpeas, drained
45 ml (3 tablespoons) olive oil
salt & pepper
10 ml (2 teaspoons) ground smoked paprika

To assemble:

6 large flour tortillas, warmed in a hot dry pan
1 cup (25 ml) beetroot hummus
1 cup (250 ml) double cream plain yogurt (or sour cream)
a small bunch fresh mint (and/or coriander leaves)
a small red onion, finely sliced

Method:

Make the mince: Heat the oil in a medium pot and fry the onion until soft and translucent. Add the mince and fry over high heat, stirring often and breaking up any lumps. Continue to fry until the meat is brown and starts to catch on the bottom. Add the harissa & paprika and stir for another minute, then add the tomato paste, water and season with salt & pepper. Stir well and continue to fry for another 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Make the chickpeas: Heat the oven to 220 C. In a medium mixing bowl, add the drained chickpeas, olive oil, paprika and season generously with salt & pepper. Toss to coat all over, then transfer to a shallow baking tray in a single layer. Roast for 15 minute, then stir with a spatula. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes or until dark and toasty. Remove and set aside.

To assemble: Arrange a spread in bowls and on plates in the middle of your table so that guests can help to assemble their own tortillas – hot tortillas, hummus, yogurt, herbs, red onion and the warm mince and chickpeas. Every tortilla should have a little of everything, with a healthy scoop of spicy mince. Enjoy at once.

This recipe was created in collaboration with SA Lamb & Mutton.

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Mediterranean-style lamb boeries

28 Nov

Lamb sausage boeries with roasted aubergine, feta and a herb yoghurt dressing. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

Everyone’s a fan of a classic boerie roll and it’s such an easy way of entertaining. Wow your crowd this December with a Mediterranean take on a classic South African favourite: lamb sausages on a soft hotdog roll, with roasted aubergines, salty feta and a fresh, herby yoghurt dressing. Just delightful!

For the aubergines:

2 medium size aubergines
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
5 ml dried origanum

For the herb yoghurt dressing:

375 ml (1,5 cups) double cream yoghurt
2 small bunches fresh herbs (about 40 g), like mint, coriander and/or parsley (save a few for topping)
about 10 ml (2 teaspoons) fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper

To assemble:

about 500-600g lamb boerewors (6 x 20 cm)
6 soft hotdog rolls, sliced lengthways
butter, for rolls
fresh

Method:

Roast the aubergines: Preheat oven to 230 C. Use a sharp knife to dice the aubergines into 1 x 1 cm blocks. Place them in a mixing bowl and add the oil. Season with salt, pepper & origanum. Stir to coat all over, then top into a shallow baking tray and spread it out in a single layer. Roast for 10-15 minute until golden brown, then remove from the oven and cover with foil to steam further on standing (or transfer to a container covered with a lid).

Make the dressing: Place the yoghurt, herbs, lemon juice and some salt & pepper in a food processor. Mix until you have a relatively smooth green dressing. Transfer to a squeeze bottle (if you have one) or a jar, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble: Grill the boerewors over hot coals or in a hot pan. Spread the rolls with butter, then top with the grilled aubergine, wors, feta, a drizzle of the yoghurt sauce and some fresh herbs. Enjoy at once.

This recipe was created in collaboration with SA Lamb & Mutton.

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Beef & Gruyère lasagne

25 Jul

I’m a huge fan of Terra del Capo – the Italian-inspired wine range & destination by Rupert Wines, a premium wine estate situated on the outskirts of Franschhoek. Apart from classical Italian wine varietals, they offer a range of Italian-style tapas at their tasting room eatery, one of which is a mini lasagne. It pairs beautifully with their Sangiovese, a red wine with juicy cherry and plum flavours, tinged with spice and black pepper. The team of Terra del Capo approached me to create a lasagne recipe of my own to celebrate their Sangiovese in these colder months – what better than a glass of red with a freshly baked, hearty lasagne for dinner?

My recipe to pair with Terra del Capo’s Sangiovese is a beef & Gruyère lasagne, made with 100% pure beef mince, fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme & sage, beef stock, red wine (Sangiovese, of course), and smoked paprika for added smokiness and to elevate the slow cooked beef flavours. Instead of parmesan cheese, which is delicious but can be very expensive, I’ve chosen a local vintage Gruyère-style cheese – strong and nutty. It just goes a little further than the parmesan, and is a much better choice than a young cheddar or mozzarella. If you want to use cheddar, a 9-12 month mature will also work wonders.

My lasagne was made with freshly rolled pasta sheets – only because I recently got the attachment for my Kenwood mixer – what a pleasure! If you don’t have a pasta machine at home, store-bought dried lasagne sheets work just as well and they don’t need pre-cooking because my bolognese sauce is quite saucy.

My lasagne has four layers, so when you’re assembling keep in mind how much meat sauce and bechamel you’re using to have enough left for a last top layer of meat and a thick layer of bechamel. It makes all the difference.

This is a family-size lasagne and the recipe can easily be halved to serve only 4. However, if you’re going to take the effort to make something as delicious as this, you might as well make enough to last for seconds and thirds over the next few days. It lasts very well in the fridge (for a few days) and can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

 

Ingredients: (serves 8)

For the beef bolognese sauce:

  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 kg lean beef mince
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • a handful fresh herbs, finely chopped (rosemary, thyme, sage)
  • 250 ml red wine (Terra del Capo Sangiovese)
  • 375 ml beef stock (or 1 stock cube dissolved in 375 ml boiling water)
  • 800 g canned Italian whole tomatoes, pureed
  • 15 ml smoked paprika
  • 10 ml sugar
  • 10 ml salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a large heavy based pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions, carrot & celery. Stir, then cover with a lid and leave to steam while frying (you don’t want to brown these yet, you just want it to soften.) Fry, stirring often, for about 7-8 minutes until they are soft.
  2. Add the mince and turn the heat up to high. Stir, breaking up all the lumps as you go. The meat will at a stage release quite a lot of liquid, just keep on cooking until it evaporates and starts to fry in it’s own fat. You want the bottom to start catching and turn brown – it takes about 15 minutes.
  3. When the bottom starts to turn brown, add the garlic and herbs and fry for another minute. Then add the red wine and remove the pot from the heat for a minute to stir and loosen any sticky brown bits from the bottom. If you don’t do this, the pot might burn easily later on.
  4. Return the pot to high heat, add the stock, pureed tomatoes, sugar, salt & pepper. Stir and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so to prevent the bottom from burning. When done, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Note: The bolognese can be made a day in advance, cooled and refrigerated until ready to use. Reheat in the microwave for easier assembly.
  5. Remove from the heat and leave to cool until ready to assembly.

For the bechamel (white sauce):

  • 80 g (1/3 cup) butter
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 1 liter milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) Dijon mustard
  • 5 ml salt (plus more, if necessary)
  • ground black pepper to taste
  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat and add the flour, stirring. Cook for at least 2 minutes taking care not to brown the butter.
  2. Add the milk all at once, stirring vigorously with a wire whisk at first. Continue stirring every now and then as it heats up, taking care to scrape the bottom as the sauce starts to thicken. Just as the sauce starts to bubble and it gets thick like custard, stir very well and remove from the heat.
  3. Add the nutmeg, mustard, salt & pepper and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning – the bechamel should not be bland, it should be able to “stand on its own”. Cover with a lid until ready to assemble.

For assembly:

  • 1 batch bechamel sauce (see above)
  • about 500 g fresh lasagne sheets or 400 g dried lasagne sheets
  • 1 batch bolognese sauce (see above)
  • 200 g mature Gruyère-style cheese, coarsely grated (about 3 cups)
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  2. Whisk the bechamel to remove any skins that has formed on top. (Heat the bolognese sauce in the microwave, if using from refrigerated.)
  3. In a large deep oven dish or roasting tray (about 30 x 22 x 7 cm) , add a ladle full of bechamel on the bottom of the dish and spread it all over to prevent the pasta from sticking. Continue with your first layer of lasagne sheets, covering the whole surface (break/cut off pieces if they’re too big). Continue with your first layer of meat sauce, spreading it out into the corners. Then your first proper layer of bechamel – not too much, just drizzle a ladle-full all over and continue.
  4. Now do the second layer of bechamel, pasta, meat sauce & bechamel. Sprinkle half the cheese over.
  5. Assemble the third and the fourth layers. End with a thick layer of bechamel and top with the other half of the cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, then turn up the heat to 220 C and continue for another 10-15 minutes until it is golden brown and bubbly on top.
  6. Remove from oven and leave to stand at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving – the lasagne will be very runny at first but will stabilize on standing. Serve hot with a green side salad and Terra del Capo’s Sangiovese.

This post was proudly created in collaboration with Terra del Capo.

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Mutton shank on hummus with roasted red onion and brown sugar pumpkin

10 Jul

Mutton shank with baby red onions, slow roasted in white wine with a few aromatic spices and herbs, on a bed of hummus with cubed sweet butternut, toasted almonds and parsley.

 

My husband just returned from a week in Porto and I wanted to welcome him home with a special dinner. I had a beautiful 1kg mutton shank in the freezer thanks to The Boer & Butcher as part of a recent campaign with Allesverloren Wines. After paging through Phillippa Cheifitz’s book Make It Easy, I found some inspiration with her roast Middle Eastern-spiced lamb on hummus. Serving meat on a bed of hummus takes the idea of “loaded hummus” to another level. It is incredibly flavourful and works so well with the deep umami flavours of the slow roasted shank.

Another revelation was the pearly small red onions. They became so soft and caramelized and released so much flavour into the cooking liquid. It provided the perfect concentrated meat sauce for spooning over the meat and hummus. For added texture, a few chopped toasted almonds did the trick.

I’ll be making this again and again – a winning dish. Thank you Allesverloren for the inspiration (and the fantastic bottle of Três Vermelhos which we consumed immediately) and Boer & Butcher for the delicious meat.

The shank and onions, prepped before going into the oven. Note: This is a 30cm round casserole. The 1 kg shank is enough for 2 generous portions.

 

For the roasted shank: (serves 2)

  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 1 kg mutton shank, whole
  • about 10 baby red onions, peeled & halved (or 2-3 large red onions, quartered)
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 5 ml ground fennel
  • 5 ml ground cumin
  • 5 ml smoked paprika
  • about 6 sprigs thyme, woody stalks removed
  • salt & pepper
  • 250 ml dry white wine

Pre-heat oven to 160 C. In a deep oven dish with lid, drizzle the bottom with half the oil, then place the shank on top and arrange the onions around it. Pour over the win. Drizzle the meat with the rest of the oil and with the lemon juice. Sprinkle with fennel, cumin, paprika, and place the thyme all over. Season generously with salt & pepper, then roast open for 1 hour. Turn oven down to 140 C, then cover the oven dish with a lid and roast for another 4 hours, turning the meat over half way through (the meat should be very tender and pretty much falling from the bone). Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes, covered with the lid, before serving. Remove the bone (it should be quite easy) and tear the meat into chunky shreds. Immerse the shreds in the pan juices before serving.

For the hummus:

(Note: I left garlic out of this hummus recipe for a milder result, but feel free to add a small clove. If you don’t have access to tahini, which can be an expensive ingredient, try a small amount of unflavoured peanut butter.)

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 45 ml tahini/sesame paste (or 5 ml unflavoured smooth peanut butter)
  • juice of half a lemon (about 15-30 ml)
  • 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 ml warm water
  • salt to taste

Put all the ingredients in a food processor or high power blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning, then add more water if it is too stiff, or more lemon juice if it needs more acidity. Blend for another minute until really smooth. Cover and refrigerate if not serving straight away. Important: serve at room temperature.

For the pumpkin:

  • 30 ml butter
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • about 2 cups cubed fresh butternut
  • juice of an orange
  • 60 ml soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • salt to taste

Place the butter and oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add pumpkin and fry for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the orange juice, sugar, cinnamon & salt and stir. Lower heat to a very slow simmer, then cover with a lid. Cook for about 15 minutes, shaking the pot gently now and then to prevent sticking. Cook until the pumpkin is tender and the sugar starts to gently caramelize. Remove from heat and set aside.

For serving:

  • a handful parsley, chopped
  • a handful almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
  • grated lemon rind (optional)

Place around 1/3 hummus on two plates and use the back of a spoon to create a swirled “bed”. Place the juicy shreds of warm shank on top, as well as some of the roasted onions and pan juices. Top with a few cubes of pumpkin, chopped parsley and nuts. Serve immediately.

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Butterflied leg of lamb with chimichurri, feta & rosmarino

7 Jul

Folds of thin roasted lamb on a bed of rosmarino, chimichurri, feta and baby spinach. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

These are some of the flavours and textures that I love most: silky rosmarino (orzo) pasta cooked to al dente perfection and coated lightly in the finest olive oil, creamy salt feta, punchy zesty chimichurri and delicately roasted boneless leg of lamb, thinly sliced into beautiful folds. Top with a handful of fresh baby spinach leaves and you can serve this warm (winter) or room temperature (summer) – it’s fabulous during any season of year.

This is the last recipe in a collaboration series of “lighter winter recipes with lamb” with SA Lamb & Mutton – what a great opportunity to take yet another fresh look at one of South Africa’s favourite meats. I look forward to many more collaborations. See the other recipes here:

For the roasted leg of lamb: (serves 4-6)

  • 1,5-2 kg leg of lamb, bone out (ask your butcher to cut it out, or use a small sharp knife to remove it)
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 200 C.  Place the meat in a large roasting tray. Drizzle all over with olive oil and lemon juice, then season generously with salt & pepper. Roast for 40 minutes without covering, then turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar for the meat to rest for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven – the inside of the lamb should still be slightly pink, but not bloody. Transfer to a large cutting board and use a large sharp knife to carve into thin slices. Return the slices to the roasting pan to rest in the juices if not serving immediately. Note: If you prefer your meat more cooked, leave it in the oven for a little longer.

For the chimichurri:

  • 1 punnet (20 g) fresh coriander
  • 1 punnet (20 g) fresh parsley
  • 1 red chilli, stalk removed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 45 ml red wine vinegar
  • salt to taste

While the meat is roasting, make the chimichurri. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to create a paste that is loose enough to drizzle over the meat. Add more olive oil if ncessary, and adjust salt levels to your taste. Cover until ready to use. Remember, this should be very punchy, as it will be the “seasoning/sauce” for the meat and the pasta. (Note: If made ahead, it should be refrigerated until ready to use. Use at room temperature.)

For assembly:

  • 500 g rosmarino/orzo (flat, rice shaped pasta)
  • 30-45 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • a generous handful baby spinach leaves
  • about 200 g feta, roughly crumbled
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh lemon wedges, to serve

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil, then cook the rosmarino for about 7 minutes until al dente. Drain and transfer back to the pot, drizzling with olive oil. Add 3 tablespoons of chimichurri and stir through. Add the baby spinach and give it a light stir. Transfer to a large serving plate. Top with the slices of lamb, crumbled feta and drizzle with more chimichurri. Top with ground black pepper and add a few fresh lemon wedges on the side. Serve warm or at room temperature. (If making ahead, only add the baby spinach when the pasta has cooled.)

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