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Well I got a good price on some Collier d’Agneau (scrag end of lamb or neck of lamb) at the supermarket this week, it’s a really cheap cut, so I decided that with our (very) sub-zero temperatures outside we needed a warming and filling ‘feel good’ dinner tonight. So I invented a recipe for lamb stew that turned out so well I wanted to share it with you.

You need (for four people):

  • Eight scrag end ‘chops’ (about 750g)
  • Dried Apricots, a handful
  • Garlic paste (or smashed up fresh garlic)
  • A lamb stock cube
  • Harissa (you can make your own if you don’t have any premade)
  • Redcurrant jelly (jam will do if you don’t have it. Seriously, any red jam)
  • Flour, a couple of large spoonsful
  • A little cooking oil
  • Black pepper
  • Dried (or fresh) herbs – mixed herbs / herbes de Provence work fine
  • Shallots or small onions, about eight (or a couple of big onions quartered)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish. Boil the kettle. Coat the pieces of lamb with the flour (put the flour on a plate, and dab the lamb firmly on each side to coat) and fry in the oil until well browned on both sides. Remove and set aside. Fry the onions and garlic with the herbs for a couple of minutes, then put the lamb back in and mix together. Throw in the apricots. Pour boiling water over the stock cube in a jug, up to about 750ml (roughly a pint and a half), and stir til dissolved. Pour over the lamb and apricots in the casserole so that they are just covered. If there is any flour left on the plate, sprinkle that in as well. Bring to the boil. Season well with black pepper. Once boiling, turn the heat right down to a low simmer and put a well-fitting lid on the pan. Alternatively, you can cook from this point on in the oven, on a low to medium heat. Either way, leave covered and cooking for about 1 hour 45 minutes. Then remove the lid of the pan and stir in a tablespoon of the Harissa, and a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly, and mix well. Put the lid back on and cook for a further 30 minutes. Serve with boiled rice (or cous cous if you’re feeling all authentic).

The meat will be falling off the bone, sweet and delicious. Bon appetit 🙂

Homemade Harissa

I love Belazu Rose Harissa, but it’s not always easy to find in the shops, and ordinary harissa isn’t so hard to make at home. Try this recipe (it’s VERY spicy, so be sparing when cooking with it).

  • 10-12 dried red chili peppers (small ones are hotter usually)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

Soak the dried chilies in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain. Remove stems and seeds. In a food processor combine chili peppers, garlic, salt and olive oil. Blend. Add remaining spices and blend to form a smooth paste. Store in airtight container or jar. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top to keep fresh. Keeps about four weeks in the fridge.

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