Kalliopi Kitchen 76
“Lamb and Lent”
Written by Karen Watts
A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Amy in Nottingham. A confirmed Rodophile, Amy wanted to know, before booking her first trip of the year if it was ok to eat meat while Orthodox Greeks are observing Lent. The answer is a resounding YES. As regular readers of this blog know, Spring is the best time of year for local Rodian and Symi lamb – cheap, plentiful and deliciously sweet.
Because of the rarity of getting fresh lamb at any other time of the year I generally tend to just roast Spring lamb with, of course, rosemary, mint and garlic but this year I felt inspired to do something different. A leg of Rodian Spring lamb will yield about a kilo of meat, more than enough for two totally different dishes. If you have a butcher you can easily communicate with and one who knows his trade you can ask him to take the meat off the bone for you, but make sure that you take the bones home with you as you will need those to make a truly fabulous stock. If you don’t have such a butcher, or, as is the case quite often on Rodos, what you want is “lost in translation” then just ask the butcher to cleaver the leg into four or five pieces for you. When you get home and using a very sharp knife, slice the raw lamb from the bones. Place all the bones in a large pot with a couple of onions, a couple of cloves of garlic, a large sprig each of rosemary and oregano and some celery, roughly chopped, cover with water and boil for a couple of hours. Strain when cool. Measure out in 500ml batches and either freeze or use.
Here are two distinctly non-Greek recipes for your lamb leg meat.
Karen’s Lamb Curry
1 – 2 tbsp Nut Oil
1 tbsp Prashad’s Garam Masala – http://www.prashad.co.uk/
4 Cardamom Seeds
4 Allspice Berries
2 Bay Leaves
A Small Handful each of Coriander Seeds & Mustards Seeds
1 Large Onion, peeled and sliced,
3 cm piece of Root Ginger, peeled and finely chopped
500 gr Lamb, cut into chunks
1 Large Potato, peeled and cut into cubes
3 Radishes, tops and tails removed and halved
700 ml Lamb Stock
A tsp of Cornflour mixed with a little cold Water
Heat the oil in a large pot. When hot add all the spices (be careful with Mustard Seeds – they can pop alarmingly at high temperatures) and stir until the aromas fill your kitchen (about 3 minutes).
Add the onion and ginger and stir for another 3 – 4 minutes.
Add the lamb and radishes, still stirring, for another 3 minutes.
Add the stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 35 minutes.
Turn the temperature back up to high, add the cornflour and water and stirring, reduce the curry to your desired consistency.
Serve with steamed rice.
Lamb & Mushrooms with Orange
1 tbsp Sunflower Oil
500 gr Lamb, cut into chunks
350 gr Baby Onions, peeled but left whole (immerse them in boiling water for a few minutes and they will peel easier)
570 ml Lamb Stock
1 tbsp Clear Honey
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1.5 cm Piece of Fresh Ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp Saffron, lightly crushed
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 Small Oranges, the rinds grated and the juice from one
2 Portobello Mushrooms, sliced
A Handful of Mint Leaves, finely chopped, plus a few extra leaves for serving
Heat the oil in a large pot, add the lamb and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes until browned. Transfer to a plate. Add the baby onions to the pot and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until soft and golden. Transfer, with a slotted spoon, to another plate.
Pour the stock into the pot and bring to the boil, stirring constantly and scraping all the lamb goodness from the base of the pot. Return the lamb to the pot and stir in the honey, ginger, saffron and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Return the baby onions to the pot and add the orange juice and rind. Cover and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Add the mushrooms and check the seasoning. Simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes. Transfer the whole lot to a big warmed serving dish. Sprinkle over the chopped mint.
Serve with wild rice, Greek yogurt and fresh mint leaves on the side.
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Karen Watts 31/3/2017
Photography by Chris Watts – https://galleryfoodphotography.net/
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