Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

DonQui has been looking forward to trying out the lamb shoulder he had marinated overnight (see previous post).

img_9231As soon as he gets up, even before his morning cup of tea, DonQui chops up some vegetables (shallots, carrots and celery, along with a couple of garlic cloves and a sprig of rosemary) and pops them into a clay oven (Römertopf) which had been soaking in water overnight.

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The lamb goes on top along with the residual marinade (see previous post), a splash of white wine and a splash of lamb stock.

img_9233The lid goes on and the clay pot goes into a cold oven (otherwise it could crack) which DonQui turns up to 120º C. It resides undisturbed in the oven for the next 5 hours.

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DonQui seeks a peak at around the 3 hour point. All looks great and the kitchen is filled with the most wonderful smells.

img_9236Thirty minutes before serving, DonQui sets the meat off to one side to keep warm while he cooks up some red Camargue rice and prepares the vegetables.

img_9238To make the gravy he strains the lovely juices from the bottom of the clay pot into a base of lamb stock thickened with a roux of flour and butter. He discards the vegetables as they have done their job infusing the sauce. He separately prepares some far less cooked carrots, broccoli, mange-tout, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes  for eating.

DonQui apologises that he forgot to take a photo of the finished dish. The lamb was so tender that he just pulled it apart, set it on a bed of rice, and arranged vegetables around it. He poured some of the sauce overtop, with extra on the side along with some recurrent jelly.

He will most definitely try this again.

Food Anticipation

DonQui loves slow cooked food and he also loves lamb.

A neighbour who keeps sheep as living lawnmowers has just had a lamb slaughtered and DonQui takes the opportunity to acquire half of one of them.

He decides that tomorrow he would like to try cooking a slow roasted lamb shoulder.

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His first step is to marinate half a shoulder in a mixture of rosemary, thyme, white pepper and crushed garlic, along with a dash each of white wine and soy sauce, as well as a teaspoonful of Dijon mustard. He will leave this covered in the fridge overnight.

Freegan Chicken Stock

One of DonQui’s colts, now off in his own paddock, once toyed with freeganism and he has not entirely discarded some aspects of the anti-consumerist philosophy.

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For those who don’t know, the name ‘freegan’ comes from a combination of ‘free’ and ‘vegan’. Amongst other things they will eat for free by ‘skip surfing’ to rescue good food thrown away by restaurants and supermarkets.

As DonQui is a committed carnivore, often spotted trotting around expensive gourmet food outlets, readers might be surprised to learn that he has some sympathy with the freegan philosophy. He likes cooking from scratch, and tends to buy locally and from small independent shops rather than from big supermarkets.

Recently he cooked up a nearly free meal.

It all came about when Duchess was not feeling well and DonQui thought chicken soup might be the answer. The problem was he had no chicken stock on hand. When Duchess suggested cooking it all up from scratch DonQui thought it a rather good idea.

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So he headed off to Allen’s Butchers in Halesworth.  He asked if they had any chicken wings or giblets from which he might make a chicken stock. The friendly butcher returned with a bag full of wings and half a chicken carcass.

When DonQui reached for his coin purse to pay, the butcher told him it he could have it for free as it would have been thrown our otherwise.

DonQui was both pleasantly surprised and slightly shocked at this news. If he had thought about it he would have realised that all those nice boneless chicken breasts left behind unsellable carcasses and chicken wings don’t tend to sell as well as other chicken parts. All of this would have been discarded if DonQui had not picked them up and put them in his panniers.

The actual process of making the stock is pretty simple.

The chicken parts, a quartered onion, a chopped up carrot, a chopped up celery stick, a bay leaf, some parsley and a few sprigs of thyme go into a pot with some salt (not too much as it is easier to add than take out). Cover, bring to the boil then simmer on a very low temperature.

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After a few hours DonQui fishes out he chicken, strips off the good bits of meat and sets it aside to be added in later to a soup. Then he throws the rest back in and lets it all simmer slowly a bit longer to reduce until the flavour seems about right.

After straining the stock can be used right away to make a soup or gravy base, or kept in the fridge to use another day. It also freezes very well.

DonQui is not sure how much it cost him. The chicken was free while the celery, parsley, bay leaf and thyme came from the allotment. All he had to pay for were the salt, pepper, one carrot and one onion (which he did not have on his allotment at the time).

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He made about a litre of stock from the free chicken which is pretty good given that 500ml of his favourite Waitrose chicken stock currently costs £2.79.

DonQui’s Goat Curry

Readers will be pleased to learn that DonQui’s frivolous musings on political matters have been put to one side for more important things — food.

Inspired by the gorgeous goat curries he had in Tanzania he has decided to try to recreate something similar. DonQui has cooked goat curry before, using a Jamaican recipe. It was rather good but this time he wants to create something different, based on the flavours he remembers from Africa.

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So here goes — and once again DonQui apologises for his lack of exact measurements. He is not a very exact creature and tends to do things to taste rather than measurement.

Ingredients

3-400g diced goats meat (DonQui gets his from the Wild Meat Company)
coconut oil for cooking (vegetable oil can substitute)
1 onion chopped
1 red chilli seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
a good sized piece of ginger root chopped
2 tablespoons of mild curry powder
500ml lamb or beef stock (lamb is better if you can find it. DonQui gets his from Waitrose)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (DonQui normally uses fresh but with winter coming his supply has dwindled)
three or four dried curry leaves
a good dollop of tomato purée
chopped coriander leaves
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

Method

Goat Curry 1

Brown the goat in the coconut oil at high temperature. It is better to do this in small batches so the pan remains hot. Once done set the browned goat to one side.

Goat Curry 2

In the same pan gently fry the onion until it starts to brown. Then add in the garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir around for a minute or two then throw in the curry powder.

Add the lamb stock to the pan, stir it around well to take up all the brown bits, bring to the boil and then let simmer to blend and reduce for a while.

Goat 4

At this point you could put the goat back into the pan, cover and simmer for a few hours.
However, DonQui thinks it a far better idea to bung it all in a slow cooker so he can go off to the pub for a couple of pints without worrying about having to watch the stove. So this is what he does.

The goat and the spiced stock from the pan go into the slow cooker along with the thyme, curry leaves, tomato purée, coconut cream and salt. DonQui puts a lid on it and goes to the pub leaving it to simmer together gently for at least 3 hours or 3 pints, whichever takes longer.

If you do not have (nor want to use) a slow cooker then simply put it all together in the pan, cover and again simmer for 3 hours or more.

Goat Curry 5

After 3 hours slow cooking the goat should be falling apart tender. If you cooked it in the pan you simply need to take the lid off, turn the heat up and let the liquid reduce to a rich deep sauce. If, like DonQui, you used a slow cooker then tip out most of the liquid into the pan and cook it down while the meat remains warm. Then put back together.

Goat Curry 6

Stir in the juice of 1/2 a lime, and serve with the chopped coriander on top, rice on the side and the other half-lime for more juice for those who want it.