Greek, Lamb

Keftedakia (Greek Lamb Sausages)

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Uncooked!

Makes: 20 sausages

We are on a bit of a sausage thing at the moment with the recent addition of a new meat grinder and sausage stuffer to the kitchen.

Though searching for recipes has been a bit of an underground thing.

For whilst you can find the odd super-gourmet sausage recipe out there, there is a dearth of every-day sausage recipes on the web: until you hit the underground sausage forums.

And this is where it gets serious.

I have a few mates that are into smoking meats and they take it seriously. They swap notes about chips and coals and warm-up times and bastes. It is a passion and Facebook is full of their Saturday morning photos and tips as they fire up.

Sausages it seems are much the same, with the sausage forums full of – generally very positive – banter, advice, recipes and tips.

(I am yet to choose the avatar for ‘robbydogcooks3’ and remain a sausage lurker, though I feel the urge.)

Anyway, on one forum, someone by the name of ‘bradsizzle’ asked for the best Greek sausage recipe ‘in the world’.

And the community answered.

Lamb, pork, beef, the people of Crete (joke), orange peel, aniseed, fennel, more lamb, cumin, explosions, debate, more lamb.

The servers were on fire.

We chose this one to begin and it is one bloody fine sausage.

You’ll need a sausage stuffer of course and sorry if you don’t.

robbydogcooks3 is now part of the club and can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t.

Sizzle bradsizzle.

Ingredients

1kg lamb shoulder, 2 cm pieces (or ground)
½ cup breadcrumbs soaked in ½ cup milk for 5 minutes
1 large red onion, finely diced
2 tbsp red wine (or ouzo)
4 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
4 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (or Kefalotiri cheese)
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
1 tsp whole aniseed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp white flour

Method

  1. Combine the ingredients.
  2. Process through your mincer and stuff your sausages.
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BBQ, Lamb

Grilled Lamb Shoulder Provencale

Grilled Lamb Shoulder Provencale

Serves: 6

We’re in the middle of pretty big house renovations at the moment… so anything complicated in the kitchen has been ruled out.

Having taken on the project management role of the project, we are on-site pretty much every night and certainly every weekend whilst we connect the building dots.

Which of course means we are tired at night and cooking has naturally/unfortunately taken a backseat.

Hello marinated meat and BBQ.

And plenty of baked potatoes and salad.

I can’t say I am not enjoying the BBQ-ed meat phase and when baby #3 arrives in two or so months, I suspect the BBQ will go into overdrive.

This particular marinade is a keeper and will be used again over the coming months.

Nothing beats lamb on the BBQ and marinating in this overnight is awesome.

And certainly, nothing is more satisfying that putting meat in the fridge overnight to marinate. There is such a sense of accomplishment and cooking maturity/preparedness about it.

This marinade is why you do it.

Ingredients

1kg boneless lamb shoulder
⅓ cup olive oil
⅓ cup lemon juice
⅓ cup white wine
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bay leaf
½ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp salt
Freshly cracked pepper

Method

  1. Slice and open the lamb shoulder like a book; you want an even piece of meat to grill. Place in a large, zip-lock bag (or bowl) ready to marinate.
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over the lamb, massaging the marinade into the lamb. Remove any air from the bag (or cover the bowl with cling wrap) and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Cook the lamb on a hot grill for 10 to 15 minutes per side. Baste with the reserved marinade often.
  4. Allow to rest, slice and serve.
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Greek, Healthy, Lamb, Mince

Simple Open Moussaka with Yoghurt Dressing

Simple Open Moussaka with Yoghurt Dressing

Serves: 4

We’ve been using a food service – Marley Spoon – for the past few months.

It came recommended and at its best, it is really pretty good; I certainly referred it onto a few friends.

You select your meals for the week and a few days later, a box is delivered containing individual paper bags for each meal and very clear recipe cards. The ingredients – especially the meat, poultry and seafood – are fresh, very high-quality and in their own chill-bags for the period they sit on your doorstep.

Each dish is relatively easy to prepare and except for one outlier where we were still hungry, a week where we seemed to eat Soba noodles every night, and one or two other meals that just didn’t quite make the taste grade, Marley Spoon has been great.

I say ‘has’ been great because this week, we stopped.

The convenience factor and the quality of packaging and instructions factor no longer trumped the value factor… and the meals just stopped feeling unique and the formula behind Marley Spoon seemed exposed to us.

When baby #3 arrives in June, I’d imagine we’ll start again, though for now, we just want to start cooking our own recipes again.

And having enough for lunches the next day.

And being rich again.

After tonight’s second last Marley Spoon dinner however, it turns out that Marley Spoon gifted us one better than just another week of their high-gloss recipe cards and crisp paper bags.

They gifted us this healthy Moussaka and it was really, very good.

Especially considering how easy it was to prepare.

Nothing beats a 3-hour Moussaka production on a Sunday afternoon, though equally, nothing beats a 30-minute Mousakka on a Thursday evening.

Enjoy.

Ingredients

Olive oil
2 eggplants
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500gm lamb mince (we had lean beef mince and it was just fine)
2 cups, chicken stock (hot)
2 cans, 400gm chopped tomatoes
1 lemon
200gm low-fat Greek-style yoghurt
60gm tahini
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
100gm baby rocket to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220c. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Trim the ends from the eggplants and slice lengthways; you’ll need 12 – 16 slices about 5mm thick: 3 – 4 per person.
  2. Place the slices on the prepared tray and lightly brush with oil. Season and roast until softened and golden: around 15 – 20 minutes.
  3. Heat 1tbsp oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until softened. Increase the heat to high, add the mince and cook, stirring over a high-heat for 5 minutes or until the mince is browned.
  4. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered over a medium heat for 15 minutes or until thickened.
  5. Squeeze 2 tbsp lemon juice into a bowl. Stir in the yoghurt, tahini, combine well and season.
  6. Arrange an eggplant slice on each plate and spoon over some of the lamb mixture. Top with another slice of eggplant and repeat until all used. Top with a few dollops of the yoghurt dressing and serve with rocket leaves and a cold vino.
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Lamb, Mince, Poultry

Adana-Inspired Turkey-Lamb Kebabs

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Kebabs!

Adana-Inspired Turkey-Lamb Kebabs

Serves: 4

Last week, we cooked an incredible Turkish stew that asked for Red Pepper Paste, an addition unique (as far as I can tell) to Turkish cooking.

There is a bit of effort in the old paste, though it does add a wonderful smoky heat and the time to prepare it is half the fun.

What to do with the remaining paste however?

These kebabs are your answer.

Ingredients

250gm lamb mince
250gm turkey mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp red pepper paste
2 tsp ground sumac
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp salt
125gm Greek yoghurt

Method

    1. If using wooden skewers, soak for 20 minutes; heat your griddle or BBQ to high.
    2. Combine all of the ingredients; add a touch of water if necessary.
    3. Shape into thick sausages and skewer.
    4. Grill on each side until cooked through.
    5. Serve with some tzatziki.
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Lamb, Stew

Rich Turkish lamb stew with aubergine purée (Hunkar begendi)

Rich Turkish lamb stew with aubergine purée (Hunkar begendi)

Serves: 4

We have been watching Rick Stein’s inspiring cooking tour – Venice to Istanbul – over the Christmas Break.

We’ve streamed an episode or two a week as a treat after dinner and other than dozens of plans to spend months of our lives travelling Greece, Croatia and Turkey, we’ve also picked up some pretty amazing recipes to try.

When Rick cooked this Turkish stew, he was pretty taken aback by it, especially the aubergine purée.

It is incredible.

It is a whole new chapter in stews for me with a unique, earthy, rich, creamy heat; literally, as good as stews get. So much so that I am breaking the aubergine purée out as its own post.

It is a comparable to my favourite pan fried polenta as the base for a rich braise or stew.

There is a little bit of prep work in it, though this is an awesome stew.

10/10.

Ingredients

For the red pepper paste

600gm red peppers (3 – 4 red peppers)
50gm tomato paste
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

For the aubergine purée

4 medium aubergines
30gm butter
30gm plain flour
380ml full-fat milk (we added a dash or two of pouring cream in addition)
75gm parmesan cheese, grated
1 lemon, juice only
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the lamb stew

4 tbsp olive oil
850gm boned lamb shoulder, cut into 3cm pieces
1 tbsp red pepper paste
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 green finger chilli, sliced
1 green pepper, seeds removed and sliced
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
200ml hot water
Chopped flat leaf parsley to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.

For the red pepper paste

  1. Roast the peppers for 30 minutes until dark and softened. Transfer to a bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave until cool enough to handle.
  2. Remove the charred skins, stalks and seeds.
  3. In the blender, blitz the peppers with the remaining ingredients; store for up to a week in the fridge.

For the aubergine purée

  1. Roast the aubergines whole for 30 minutes until soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Peel, chop and mash well using a fork.
  2. In a pan over a medium-heat, make a roux: melt the butter and add the flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the milk and stir until you have a thick white sauce.
  3. Mix in the aubergine, cheese and lemon juice. Season with the salt and pepper and keep warm.

For the lamb stew

  1. Warm half the olive oil in a large casserole pan over a high-heat and brown the lamb in batches.
  2. When browned, return all the lamb to the pan and add the red pepper and tomato pastes, the remaining olive oil, onion, garlic, chilli and green pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until softened.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper and the hot water. Bring to a simmer, turn down the heat, cover with a lid and allow to cook slowly for 1 – 1½ hours.

Reduce the gravy to a thick consistency and serve ladled over the aubergine purée, scatter the chopped parsley.

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Italian, Lamb, Pasta

Slow braised Shoulder of Lamb Ragù with Gnocchi

Slow braised Shoulder of Lamb Ragù with Gnocchi

Serves: 6 – 8

A few weeks back, we slow cooked a wonderful lamb shoulder for lamb, cumin mayonnaise, braised onion and rocket rolls.

As with pretty much any slow-cooked meat – stuffed in a baguette – it was a pretty amazing treat.

Though – as happens with a 2kg piece of lamb shoulder – there was plenty of shredded lamb left over.

So we borrowed from this recipe by James Martin, a talented British chef I’ve followed, to make this equally amazing ragù.

Two points to be made.

Firstly, in the lamb shoulder we cooked for the lamb rolls, we used currants, orange rind and verjuice whereas this recipe calls for a much more traditional thyme, rosemary, red wine sort of combo. After all is said and done, you’ll be left with a rich, soft lamb either way. Yes, there will be nuances depending on how you cook your lamb though they’re nuances you’ll soon get over.

Do it either way or then some.

Secondly, we used some frozen gnocchi we had left over, using the amazing Anne Burrell gnocchi I have previously typed up. I have typed up James Martin’s gnocchi because it is quite a cool approach and no doubt it is very good knowing him, though if you get a chance, try Anne Burrell’s go at it. It is sublime.

This is rich, screw-you Sunday cooking at its best.

Ingredients

Slow-braised shoulder of lamb

1 tbsp olive oil
1 x 2kg shoulder of lamb
1 bulb garlic, skin left on, cloves separated
4 sprigs thyme, leaves only
4 sprigs rosemary, chopped
200ml red wine
200ml lamb or beef stock

Ragù

200gm pancetta, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
400ml can Italian tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
175ml red wine
500ml lamb stock (we used chicken stock)
6 tbsp fresh basil, torn

Gnocchi

4 medium potatoes
200 – 300gm salt
75gm plain flour plus extra for dusting
50gm grated Parmesan
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

150gm Parmesan, freshly grated to serve

Method

For the lamb

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Rub the oil into the lamb shoulder and season with salt and pepper. Place the lamb in a deep baking tray and surround it with the garlic, herbs, red wine and stock and roast in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat the 120c, cover the lamb with the aluminium foil and continue to cook for 4 ½ hour. Remove and leave to cool. Once cool enough to handle, shred the meat.

For the ragù

  1. Heat a large casserole pan until hot, add the pancetta and fry for 3 – 4 minutes or until the pancetta softens and the fat begins to melt. Add the olive oil and then the garlic and onion and fry gently for 1 – 2 minutes until softened. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another minute or two.
  2. Stir in the shredded meat and then add the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, breaking apart the tomatoes.
  3. Stir in the tomato puree and cook for a further minute. Add the red wine and simmer until the volume of the liquid has reduced by one quarter. (At this stage I also had a red wine and reduced it by one quarter.)
  4. Add the stock and return the ragù to the boil. Season, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes or until the ragù has thickened. Finish with the fresh basil.

For the gnocchi

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Lightly score or prick the potatoes. Spread out the salt on a baking tray to make a bed of salt and sit the potatoes on top. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until tender.
  3. Allow the potatoes to cool until comfortable to handle. Cut in half and spoon the cooked potatoes out of the skins. Finely mash the potatoes or put through a potato ricer. Add the flour, Parmesan and egg yolk. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Keep mixing until the potato forms a dough.
  4. Working on a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into four. Roll each quarter into a sausage shape around 20cm long and cut into 2cm pieces. Shake off any excess flour.
  5. Heat a large saucepan of boiling salted water and add the gnocchi; cook for 1 – 3 minutes or until they start floating on the top of the water; drain and drizzle with a little olive oil.

To serve, stir the ragù through the gnocchi and serve with freshly grated Parmesan on top.

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Lamb

Pulled slow-cooked lamb shoulder rolls

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You get out what you put in. Case-in-point.

Pulled slow-cooked lamb shoulder rolls

Serves: 6 – 8

Well, that was predictable.

A 10-hour, slow-cooked lamb shoulder, a wonderful cumin mayo, rocket, caramelised red-onion and a baguette from the best patisserie within 10 miles of North Sydney.

Predictably amazing. 9/10 sort of stuff.

We had this as part of a dusk picnic last weekend and it took the whole thing into memorable category.

It might seem a bit of work for a sambo, though come out the other side and you’ll be a bloody sambo hero.

Picnic nailed!

Ingredients

1 bone-in lamb shoulder, about 1.4 – 2kg
¼ cup currants
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp parsley and rosemary, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely grated orange rind
¼ cup pine nuts
1 cup verjuice or white wine
Extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 140c.
  2. Soak the currants in the verjuice to soften.
  3. Heat a saucepan with plenty of the oil and cook the onion and garlic until softened. Allow to cool and then mix with the remaining ingredients including the currants and verjuice.
  4. Place the mixture in a heavy casserole dish and place the lamb on top. Cover with a lid or a tight layer of foil and place in the oven for 10 hours, checking periodically to ensure it doesn’t dry out and to marinate the meat. Add more verjuice or wine if necessary.
  5. When cooked, remove the lamb and set aside to cool slightly. Shred the meat from the bone and discard the bone and any fat etc.
  6. If keeping the sauce (which you should!), return the casserole dish to the stove, heat to high, add a splash of wine and stir until you have a thick sauce. Use a fat separator or other method (look up the ziplock bag method) to separate the sauce and discard the fat.
  7. If serving without a roll, flake the lamb onto a platter and pour over the sauce.
  8. If serving with a roll, stuff with the lamb, a dash of the sauce, rocket, caramelised onion and cumin mayonnaise.
  9. Stand back and prepare for the accolades.
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