Lamb and spinach curry with black beans

I used to make this delicious lamb and spinach curry with raw lamb neck fillet but it’s actually a really good way to use up leftover roast lamb instead of making something more traditional like shepherd’s pie.  It’s important to chop the spinach to get a silky texture to the sauce and the addition of black beans makes it a substantial enough dish to eat on its own (especially if you’re on a low carb diet). This recipe takes about an hour and a quarter to prep and cook and serves 3 people easily but you could add more meat or serve it with flatbread or rice if you prefer and stretch it to four. Adding the fresh coriander at the end adds a lovely freshness to the dish. It really is one of my absolute favourite supper dishes. Enjoy!

  • 700g lamb – either leftover cooked and cubed or raw lamb neck fillets, cubed
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of light olive oil
  • 400g can of black beans, drained
  • 1 large bag of spinach washed and roughly chopped
  • A generous handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 3cm block of fresh ginger and 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and whizzed into a paste with a splash of water
  • 3 tablespoons of plain Greek yoghurt
  • Gel chicken stockpot (and any leftover lamb gravy if you’re using leftover lamb)
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cardamon pods
  • Pinch of chilli flakes and a 1/4 teaspoon of chilli powder (add more if you like it hotter)
  • 2 teaspoons each of ground cumin and ground coriander

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C
  • Heat the oil in a large shallow oven-proof casserole on the hob. Add the cumin, mustard and fennel seeds, cardamon pods and cinnamon – allow to sizzle for a few moments. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook gently for 10 minutes until softened.
  • If you’re using raw meat, add the lamb pieces and brown them on all sides.
  • Add the garlic and ginger paste, stir for a few moments, add the chilli, chilli flakes, ground cumin and coriander. Now, gradually add the yoghurt and stir.
  • Add the chicken stock pot and enough water to just cover the meat and onions.
  • Add the chopped spinach, allow to wilt slightly. Add the black beans and stir into the sauce mixture.
  • Cook in the oven for an hour if using raw lamb – it will be ready when tender and the sauce thickened. If using leftover lamb add after 40 minutes and put it back in the oven to warm through.
  • Once it’s ready, season with a little salt and plenty of ground black pepper, add the freshly chopped coriander and stir through just before serving in warmed bowls.

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website.
  • Follow me on twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?
Posted in Meat main courses, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Soup, glorious soup!

Worries, so they say, go down better with soup.  Warming, nutritious, comforting, quick and delicious – what’s not to like about soup?

Cauliflower cheese soup

You can make soup out of just about anything, so experimentation is the order of the day as is using seasonal vegetables which will be cheaper and have more flavour anyway. If you have a veg box delivered, you can mix it up with whatever arrives in your delivery. With a few ingredients and a bit of imagination, you can produce a delicious family-sized pan of soup for a fraction of the price of shop-bought cartons. If you have a small wide-necked flask, it can easily become part of a school or work lunch box.

There aren’t too many rules about cooking a good, hearty soup so literally anyone can make a decent job of it really. Just don’t boil the backside off it, remember to let it cool a little before adding e.g. cream so that it doesn’t curdle and avoid adding so much as to drown the flavour of the other ingredients; don’t be tempted to use flour as a thickening agent as that too can deaden the flavour.

To make silky smooth soups use a simple hand blender. To create more texture, just blend a cup or two from the pot separately and then add it back to the rest of the whole ingredients. To make them look a bit more special and appetising get creative and top them with e.g. freshly chopped herbs, croutons, a drizzle of extra virgin olive or flavoured oil, crumbled cheese or crispy bacon strips.

Soup essentials: stock

The basis of well-flavoured soups, sauces and risottos is the stock.  Restaurants make amazing stocks every day. Busy home cooks can easily use gel stockpots, stock cubes or bouillon and still get good results. My favourites for soup are Kallo organic gel pots or Marigold vegetable bouillon powder. Just remember not to add further seasoning until the end in case it becomes too salty. Try it once it’s ready and, if you still think it needs more salt or pepper, just add it to taste before serving.

If you’ve boiled a ham, reserve the stock and freeze it to use in soups or risottos, or make a good white chicken stock by cooking up some chicken wings and vegetables such as onion, carrot and celery with plenty of parsley stalks. ‘Pour and Store’ containers are perfect for freezing stock or soup for later use and can easily be reused if you wash them thoroughly.

Soup essentials: soffrito or mirepoix

To make a good all-round soup base involves what the Italians call a soffrito and the French call a mirepoix. Peel and finely chop a potato, an onion and a stick of celery for a white base (you can add a carrot for a deeper flavour but it changes the colour of the soup obviously), melt a decent dollop of butter and a dash of olive oil in a large saucepan and then very gently, sweat the vegetables for about 8 minutes. Next, make a cartouche by tearing off a square of baking parchment, fold it in half three times and then roughly tear a rounded edge on the outer edge so that, when you open it, it forms a circle. Lay it on top of the vegetables and scrunch it down around the edges. The combination of cooking in a mixture of steam and butter really brings out the flavour of the vegetables and then you can use it as the base for any number of soups. Roasting veg such as squashes before adding the stock also makes for a richer flavour.

#TheFridayRecipe soups below are usually enough to feed four generously for supper or lunch, especially if they’re served with a hunk of crusty fresh bread.

You’ll find more delicious soup recipes in my book, Whats4teaMum?

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website.
  • Follow me on twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
Posted in Recipes, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pasta with duck sauce

This rich Italian pasta sauce made with thinly sliced duck breast braised in passata, red wine and herbs is perfect for autumn suppers. Simple to make and full of flavour, it’s one of my favourite #TheFridayRecipe’s.

pasta with duck sauce

Serves 2

  • 3 tablespoons of light olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped 
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 skinless duck breasts cut into thin slices
  • 200ml passata
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 250ml red wine
  • 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary and 2 of finely chopped sage leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated Parmesan and fresh parsley to garnish
  • 125g pasta shapes. Choose one that will hold the sauce well. I used Gigli. 

To make…

  • Heat the oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook gently for about 10 minutes so it softens and brings out its flavour.
  • Add the duck pieces, stir for a few minutes until lightly coloured. Stir in the garlic, cook for a few minutes. Add the red wine, stir for a couple of minutes. Add the stock, herbs and seasoning.
  • Cover and cook at a gentle simmer for about an hour until the sauce has thickened. Taste and check the seasoning. This can be made ahead and reheated.
  • Cook the pasta for a minute less than the pack instructions recommend, drain (reserve a little of the cooking water) and add to the sauce. Allow the pasta to absorb a little of the sauce – it should still be quite silky. Add a little of the cooking water if it’s too thick.
  • Serve in warm pasta bowls and garnish with fresh parsley and grated Parmesan.

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website.
  • Follow me on twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?
Posted in Meat main courses, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment