Remember the large lamb leg that Goon had fun butchering? Goon had to move out of his flat this weekend and the remaining four portions of lamb leg, which had been sitting in the freezer, had to be used up.
I decided to act on Schmoof’s recommendation and turn two portions of the meat into some harissa marinated lamb kebabs. That left the final batch of lamb to be used on the night before we left. The weather recently has been more reminiscent of late autumn than midsummer and, as always, my appetite was determined by this. I wanted a stew, but something a little more exciting than a straightforward red wine, carrot and celery combination.
Flicking through random internet pages, I came across one idea which looked particularly interesting: a lamb stew with lemon and dill. I have to admit, this is not a combination I would have thought of myself but I was intrigued and, since there was just enough time to enter this month’s ‘In the Bag’ event, I thought I could somehow incorporate the other ingredients for the event into the meal. Broad beans would work well with the lemon and dill in the stew and some Jersey Royal potatoes crushed with olive oil and herbs would be lovely mixed up with the juices.
The stew would have been easy to make too, had it not been for the intervention of Goon’s wonderful flatmates. This time they had managed to cause trouble without even being there. As I started to prepare my ingredients I noticed there was something different about the kitchen.
ME: Goon! Where has all the kitchen equipment gone?
ME: We used to have two cheese graters. Where are they?
GOON: (Thoughtful Silence)
ME: And the chopping boards… and the garlic crusher….and half the pans…
ME: (suspiciously) What?
GOON: The girlies moved out today.
ME: What? They took all the useful kitchen equipment with them?
GOON: Must have done.
ME: BUT WE BOUGHT HALF THAT STUFF!
Goon: Yes, and most of the rest of it came with the flat.
I can’t repeat what I said next as I’d like to keep this site family friendly. I’ll let you use your imagination.
So it seems that one or both of the girlies have taken their money saving endevours further than I expected and claimed half the kitchen equipment as their own leaving us and the other boy in the flat without half the stuff we needed. I have to say, I’m rather glad I’ll never have to deal with either of them again, although I will miss torturing the blonde one with my offal based dinners.
Fortunately, Goon’s ability to perform mindless boring tasks for long periods of time meant that we could produce finely chopped lemon zest, which could almost pass for the grated zest I wanted for this meal. Chopping vegetables on a dinner plate was a real nuisance though. Despite the setbacks, we eventually produced a decent stew.
To start with I finely diced an onion and minced two cloves of garlic. I then let them soften on a low heat in a little olive oil with half a bunch of finely chopped dill. When the onion had softened, I browned my chunks of lamb leg steak, added them to the pan covered them with lamb stock and a glug of white wine. I brought the mixture to a gentle simmer, threw in half a tablespoon of the finely chopped lemon zest and let it stew gently for two hours. After this time the lamb was tender, so I added two handfuls of young broad beans and turned the heat up to a steady simmer. After about 10 minutes, the beans were cooked and the stew was a good consistency so I tasted, added more chopped dill, lemon zest and black pepper and, just before serving, squeezed in the juice of half a lemon.
Although it isn’t the most photogenic thing, this meal was very good. I wish I had come across the idea before. The light fresh flavours of the lemon and dill were a good balance for the richness of the lamb. The crushed jersey royals were a great accompaniment. I loved mixing the gravy in with the potatoes, they were delicious together. However, I think the stew would be even better with some more mature meat. Not mutton necessarily, but autumn lamb or perhaps hogget. The stew was good, but a little extra richness in the meat would make it perfect.
So here is my slightly late entry to ‘In the Bag,’ a fairly new event run by Scott at Real Epicurean, Julia at A Slice of Cherry Pie and Cherry at Cherry’s English Kitchen. This time Cherry is hosting - I hope she doesn’t mind that this is a day late! The idea is that the host gives you three seasonal items that you need to incorporate in the meal. The items for June were lamb, broad beans and new season potatoes. Take a look at Cherry’s blog in a few days when the round up is posted and you’ll no doubt find lots of great recipes using these three ingredients.