This recipe is certainly not groundbreaking, indeed when i read it the first time i kind of though, well, that doesn't sound exciting enough to even bother cooking. But I promise you, it is. Normally when I make this we use lamb shanks, rather than the fillets, because as we all know, meat cooked on the bone is more flavoursome, tender and juicy. However, in this instance I couldn't source free-range lamb shanks, so in accordance with my recently set resolutions I had to modify the recipe to fit with the ethically produced meat available.
Slow cooked lamb & veggie ragu
originally adapted from a Weight Watcher's recipe of all things, but don't let that put you off
Serves 4 hungry people
4 small lamb shanks or 400g lamb fillet, chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 sticks celery, chopped
500 g mushrooms (swiss brown are nice if they're not too expensive), chopped
500 ml (half a litre) of good stock (i use chicken, even though it would make sense to use something meatier...)
1 whole bay leaf
800 g crushed tinned tomato
400 g "short" pasta (eg penne, spirali, not spaghetti or fettucini)
1/4 cup(s) Parsley, fresh, chopped
- Season lamb with salt and ground pepper.
- Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick casserole dish (a Le Creuset or similar) over high heat.
- Add the shanks or chopped fillet and brown, turning to cook evenly, for 5 to 10 minutes. Don't worry if your lamb is browning quite quickly, you're aiming to get a nice bit of colour on the meat & seal it off in preparation for the slow cooking portion.
- Remove lamb from pan & cover with foil. Do NOT wipe or rinse the pan, you want to keep the nice juices in there.
- Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, turn back to medium heat, add garlic and onion and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add carrot and celery and cook for another 3 minutes
- Add mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Add stock, bay leaf and tomatoes and bring to the boil.
- Return the lamb to the pan. Make sure the lamb is pushed right down to the bottom of the pan so it's covered by the stock & tomato mixture.
- Turn the heat back to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Yes, this is a very long time. Yes, the meat will be falling off the bone when you're done - yum!
- Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to the directions on the packet, starting once the lamb has been in for 1:45.
- At this point, if you're using shanks, remove them from the pan to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. If you're using fillet meat, ignore this step and treat the lamb as part of the veggie ragu.
- Taste the ragu and season as necessary then cook for 10 minutes over high heat to thicken up the sauce a little.
- Combine the cooked pasta, the veggie ragu and the chopped parsley all together (either in your pasta pot or your casserole dish, depending on what is largest).
- Serve in shallow bowls and place a shank on top.
|Browning the lamb|
|Lots of veggies!|
|Veggies + lamb + stock + tomatoes|
|2 hours later, + pasta|
|Finally, slow cooked lamb & veggie ragu|