Seared lamb neck fillet with adobo marinade

Lamb neck doesn’t exactly sound tasty. It’s that terminal ‘k’ sound, I think. It’s hard to sustain an appetite in the face of a harsh wet plosive. Indeed, lamb neck isn’t something I started cooking with until quite recently, having written it off as a slow-cooking cut less interesting than shank or shoulder.

A mistake, but an understandable one.

Adobo lamb neck fillet

On the bone, lamb neck slow cooks nicely – there’s plenty of fat and flavour. But the filleted neck behaves a bit differently. Raw, it looks like a well-larded pork tenderloin, and you can almost treat it in the same way. It’ll flash fry, barbecue, or grill. It loves a bit of char, and a deep marinade to carry some flavour through that harsh cooking.

This one’s pretty simple, and the marinade is inspired by Rick Bayless’ adobo in Authentic Mexican*, which is my go-to for good times with chillies.

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Lamb, spinach, and pistachio pie with harissa

This recipe is the eventual outcome of an experiment that started with quite fancying chachouka, but having both some lamb to use, and a boyfriend whose fondness for pie borders on the obsessional. I usually make the chachouka from the River Cottage Veg book, (someone’s replicated the recipe here) but after all the tinkering, this has basically nothing in common with it. It’s definitely a pie, though. Look, you can see the pastry.

In fact, we get from there to here via the Braised eggs with lamb, tahini, and sumac recipe in Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, liberally crashed into spanakopita. The first iteration worked in pure flavour terms, but the textures were a wash out. So after a bit of work, this is what we end up with.

Lamb and spinach pie with harissa and pistachiosFair warning: it is a bit of a faff
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Lamb and pistachio meatballs, with red rice koshari

This is another of the more experimental recipes. The lamb meatballs are tried and tested – you can’t go far wrong with lamb, pistachios, and a little sweet spice.The koshari is another matter, and honestly – tasty though it was – I’ve not quite nailed it.

Lamb pistachio meatballs with koshari

Koshari, if you don’t know, (and I didn’t until a friend suggested it on Friday) is kind of what would happen if an onion pilaf set out to annex every other culture’s starches. It’s one of those recipes you read with a mounting sense of horror that the author is not, in fact joking. Speaking its name alone will banish any Atkins dieters that have the energy left to run. It’s semi-recent Egyptian pantry-clearing fodder, and contains two types of pasta, rice lentils, and chickpeas.

I baulked a little.

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Baked radicchio (and harissa marinated lamb)

Striking-looking leafy vegetables are an odd compulsion, I’ll admit, but I love them. Chard, cavolo nero, chicory, any greens you could name – I just can’t walk past them at the market. On saturday, and actually for the first time, the one I couldn’t walk past was radicchio.

Baked radicchio & spicy lamb

It looks like a particularly aggressive lettuce, and it’s basically Italian chicory. Sometimes radicchio has the long slender shape of standard chicory (Treviso radicchio), sometimes it’s smaller and rounder (The Verona or Chioggia varieties). In all cases it has most of chicory’s bitterness, although I found it easier to cook out. Being round and mostly red, I think mine was Chioggia, but I’m not massively sure this matters.

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Arni ladorigani – Greek lamb stew with lemon and oregano

I have a massive food writing boner for Elisabeth Luard. Oh, the purple prose is saturated all up the spectrum, but the way she writes about food just hits me where I live. She gets it.

For my favourite of her books,  European Peasant Cookery, she basically bummed around Europe for a few years, bothering people in cottages. The result is a vast (if occasionally austere) compendium of stews, broths, salads, and thrift food.

Arni ladorigani - greek lamb stew

 

Some of the recipes you can use verbatim; some benefit from a tweak. This simple lamb stew is one I’ve mucked about with, but the core concept is delightful – melting, slow-cooked lamb, a shiver of citrus through it. This is the good stuff, and it works just a well on a lazy spring evening as for winter comfort.

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Achari-spiced lamb and red pepper stew

This post is about how I build recipes.

(There’s now a more thorough and updated achari recipe here.)

On Thursday, I was running short of ideas for what to cook, and asked the internet.
This proved to be a mistake in several ways. What follows is a little long-form,
and you may well wish to just skip to the recipe itself.

Achari spiced lamb

(You should also pick up a copy of this. It’s a great curry reference)

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