Lamb and chickpea keema

This is one of those ‘What have I got in the cupboard?’ curries I invented for supper a few weeks ago but it is no less delicious or satisfying for that. With our usual shopping habits impacted by lockdowns, it’s good to have a tasty supper standby that in no way seems either bonkers or second-best but can be put together quickly with frozen meat and vegetables and canned ingredients. Frozen spinach particularly is a brilliant thing to have in the freezer and, because it’s so finely chopped, gives a wonderful velvety texture to the keema sauce. This should feed four easily, especially if you add some warm flatbreads (I always have a pack in the freezer and defrost them in the toaster when I need them). Once you’re prepped which takes about half an hour, it will take care of itself in the oven for an hour. Enjoy!

Lamb and chickpea keema
  • 500g good quality minced lamb
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of light olive oil
  • 1/2 cauliflower – approx 5 large cauliflower florets broken into smaller pieces
  • 400g can of chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt and another 4 to serve
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • 2 large handfuls of frozen spinach (I use Sainsbury’s which is handily frozen into egg-sized portions)
  • 3cm root of fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 fresh green chilli pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Optional: 4 fresh tomatoes, quartered, freshly chopped coriander
  • Optional: warm flatbreads to serve – I use the Sainsbury’s seeded ones

To make…

  • Coarsely chop the ginger, garlic, chilli and a splash of water and then blitz for a few minutes to form a paste in a mini blender (you could make more and freeze it in smaller portions for another time as this is a classic base for curries). Mix in the ground coriander, cumin and chilli powder and set aside. 
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan, add the cumin, fennel seeds and onions and gently cook for about 15 minutes so that the onions soften and slightly caramelise.
  • Next, add the lamb and brown it lightly. 
  • Pour in the spice paste and cook through for a couple of minutes and stir in the yoghurt and tomato paste. 
  • Add the little cauliflower florets, frozen spinach and chickpeas. Stir thoroughly and season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper. 
  • Transfer the mixture to a large shallow casserole dish with a lid and cook in the oven for an hour. The lamb will become tender and the sauce will thicken and develop in flavour. Take it out of the oven, give it a stir and taste for seasoning. Add a little more salt, pepper or chilli to how you like it if you think it needs it (I like it pretty spicy) – turn the oven off and put the casserole dish back in until you need to serve. When you bring it to the table, tuck in the fresh tomatoes, scatter the chopped coriander and top with 4 tablespoons of yoghurt sprinkled with a little extra cumin, chilli powder or black pepper. Serve warm flatbreads on the side. 

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Butternut squash and puy lentil traybake

This autumnal tray bake of roast squash with lentils is a quick and simple supper that both looks and tastes amazing. The fresh sage leaves and ground mace are the perfect pairings for the squash; the lemon and herb-dressed lentils add texture, protein, and acidity. I think that mace is a very underrated spice; it comes from the lacy orange outer coating of the nutmeg seed, and if you don’t have any in your store cupboard it’s well worth getting some in. It transforms squash, parsnips, sweet potatoes, soups made with yellow split peas, cakes, and curries so it’s very versatile. I buy it whole and grind it when I need it as the flavour is much better that way. You can make this as a vegetarian dish but we like it with sausages, chorizo for preference; a bit of crusty bread on the side to mop up the oil and juices from the chorizo sausages is a nice addition too. 

BUTTERNUT SQUash traybake

Serves 4

  • 1 medium butternut squash or a small pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, and cut into half-moons about 1cm thick
  • 2 medium onions, red or white – peeled and cut into 8 wedges 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of rapeseed or light olive oil
  • A handful of fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of ground mace
  • 100g Puy lentils, rinsed in cold water (they don’t need overnight soaking and cook very quickly)
  • 1 dessertspoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon – juice and zest
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • A pinch of  smoked paprika
  • A large handful of curly parsley, finely chopped
  • 100g feta ( I have used blue cheese too but I find it too rich, feta is much nicer)
  • 8 sausages – I used 2 packs of Unearthed smoked cooking chorizo 

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  • Put the butternut squash slices and the onion into a large mixing bowl with a tablespoon and a half of oil, the mace, chopped sage, 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, and plenty of ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly and then spread it all out evenly onto a lightly greased large rectangular baking tray ( I have a good heavyweight one that doesn’t buckle in the heat and also goes from oven to table which saves on the washing up). Tuck the sausages in amongst the vegetable pieces. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until cooked and caramelized on the edges. Remove when cooked and set aside to cool slightly. 
  • Meanwhile, cook the lentils. Bring a small pan of water to the boil. Add the lentils and simmer for 20 minutes until cooked. Drain and set aside to cool. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, parsley, paprika, a pinch of salt and the extra-virgin olive oil and mix thoroughly. 
  • To serve (use the roasting tray or transfer everything to a platter), scatter the lentils over the roasted squash and sausages and then crumble the feta on top. 

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.
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Slowly roasted spiced lamb with roast potatoes

I love a Sunday roast and this is definitely one of my favourites. It’s easy to prepare and pretty much looks after itself for a few hours. Shoulder or leg of lamb baked slowly in a heady spice mix and then roasted with crisp onions and potatoes cooked in the rendered fat is just delicious served with the sides of your choice; I usually sautée some courgettes or steam some French beans and add fast-pickled red onions and red pepper relish on the side. If there is any lamb leftover, it’s great in the hotpot I posted a couple of weeks back.

roast shoulder of lambServes 4

  • Spice mix: seeds from 2 cardamom pods, 1 clove, 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, 5g coriander seeds, 10g cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp chilli flakes, 5g ground allspice, 1/4 tsp ground white pepper, 9g salt, 10g soft dark brown sugar, 1tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric. 
  • 2kg to 2.5kg shoulder or leg of lamb on the bone
  • 2 cloves of garlic – leave in the skin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 medium potatoes, parboil them whole or prick them and zap them in the microwave for 4 minutes on high – allow them to cool
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced from root to tip
  • Salt, black pepper, ground cumin
  • Fast-pickled onions: finely slice a red onion and leave to marinate in a pinch of salt and sugar dissolved in a couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar for an hour before serving. 
  • Red relish: 3 skinned and finely chopped ripe tomatoes, 75ml extra-virgin olive oil, 1 chopped red roasted piquillo pepper,  1 finely chopped shallot, 1 finely chopped red chilli, 1 tablespoon of harissa paste, 2 tsp chilli flakes, 1 tsp ground cumin,  juice and zest of a lemon, 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, a pinch of sea salt. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Serve at room temperature. 

To make…

  • First, make the spice mix. Lightly toast the hard spices to release the flavour i.e. cardamom seeds, clove, fennel seeds, coriander seeds. Allow to cool and then finely grind with the chilli flakes (I use an electric coffee grinder I keep especially for this or you could use a mortar and pestle). Mix in with the allspice, white pepper, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and turmeric. It will smell amazing! Whatever you don’t use can be kept in an airtight jar and will keep for a couple of weeks – you can use it on beef and chicken too so it’s very versatile.
  • Next, lay the lamb joint in a roasting dish (one big enough to take the lamb and the potatoes later) and dust generously with the spice rub. Turn the joint and rub the mixture in with your hands. You want to cover it thoroughly without wasting the rub so add it gradually. Season it generously with salt and black pepper. I use Kosher salt as it penetrates the meat more easily. Set aside for at least an hour to allow the mix to permeate the flesh – you can prep this the night before and leave it in the fridge but remember to bring it back up to room temperature before you want to cook it.
  • Preheat your oven to 140°.
  • Drizzle the lamb joint with a little olive oil and rub it in – it needs to be just glossy not swimming in oil as the lamb will render its own fat during the cooking process. Tuck the garlic cloves under the lamb. Cover the tray with foil and put it in the oven for up to 4 hours. The lamb should bake in its own juices becoming super-tender and full of flavour.
  • After 4 hours, remove the lamb from the oven and uncover. Drain off the juices into a small saucepan to make a sauce later but leave all the fat. Remove the whole garlic cloves. They should be soft and you can squeeze the cooked garlic from the skin and whisk it into the sauce.
  • Turn up the oven temperature to 200ºC.
  • Place the sliced onions and potatoes around the meat and ensure that they are fully coated with the fat that has rendered from the lamb.
  • Return to the oven for 40 minutes – the lamb, potatoes and onions should crisp up beautifully. Once it’s ready, take it out of the oven. Lift the meat onto a large carving board – it should be torn easily with a couple of forks. Spoon the garlic-infused gravy over the shredded meat and season with sea salt, pepper and ground cumin. Arrange the crisp onions and potatoes onto the carving board. Carry the board to the table with pride!
  • Serve with green vegetables or a salad, fast-pickled onions and red relish on the side.

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?
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