Last month we celebrated Love Lamb Week, the brainchild of the next generation of young sheep farmers who are passionate about producing quality British lamb from all corners of the UK.
There are five really good reasons to cook with British lamb;
- It comes in a variety of cuts that suit every recipe, from a traditional roast right through to exotic and spicy dishes.
- Sheep farming has shaped the British landscapes we love. Eating home- produced lamb helps sheep farmers to stay in business and continue caring for the land in an environmentally sustainable way.
- Sheep support wildlife and plant biodiversity. Without sheep our grassland, and upland land in particularly, would become overgrown and less valuable to many types of plants, small mammals and ground nesting birds.
- Around 60% of UK farmland is only suitable to grow grass. Sheep are a sustainable way of converting this land into healthy and delicious food that our growing population can eat.
- When you buy lamb directly from a farmer, butcher or supermarket, the Red Tractor, Welsh Lamb, Scotch Lamb, Quality Stand Mark England and Farm Quality Assured Northern Ireland logos all mean critical steps of the food supply chain have been independently inspected to ensure top quality standards from farm to pack.
In honour of all things lamby, and to support (legitimate) foraging; I knocked on a neighbours door to ask for some of the Quince that was ready to fall from the tree, we have picked out this amazing Moroccan recipe for you to enjoy.
Lamb & Quince Tagine with Chermoula & Buttered Couscous
Preparation time – 1 hour
Simmering time – 1 hour 30 minutes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1kg lean lamb shoulder or leg, cut into chunks
2 onions, thinly sliced
5cm fresh ginger, finely grated
200g skinned chopped tomatoes, fresh or from a can
Small Cinnamon Stick
1 Tablespoon Ground Ginger
4 Tablespoon Clear Honey
1 Small Preserved Lemon Flesh Discarded (from the international section in large supermarkets) or 2 Strips Lemon Zest, finely chopped
750ml Lamb or Chicken Stock
¾ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
400g Can Chickpeas, Drained
Pared Zest & Juice of 1 Lemon
½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
1kg Quince (about 4 medium)
40g Butter, plan an extra knob
2 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
50g Blanched Almonds, Toasted in a dry frying pan, then split in half
For the Chermoula
3 Garlic Cloves, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
2 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
1 ½ Tablespoon Paprika
1 Tablespoon Harissa Paste
Good pinch Saffron Strands
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
20g Fresh Coriander Leaves
20g Fresh Mint Leaves
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ Teaspoon Salt
For the Buttered Couscous
½ Teaspoon Salt
450ml Boiling Water
Finely Grated Zest of 1 Small Lemon
- To make the chermoula, blend all the ingredients to a smooth paste in a food processor.
- Heat 1½ tablespoons of the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Fry the lamb in 2 batches until browned all over, then lift onto a plate. Add the rest of the oil and onions to the pan and fry over a medium heat until soft and browned. Add the grated ginger, cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, cinnamon, ground ginger, 2 tablespoons honey and 2 tablespoons chermoula. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, then return the lamb to the casserole and add the preserved lemon/lemon zest, stock, ½ teaspoon salt and the pepper. Part-cover, then simmer for 1 hour.
- Stir in the chickpeas and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes more until the lamb is tender and the sauce has reduced a little more.
- Meanwhile put 1 litre cold water and the lemon zest and juice in a saucepan. Peel, quarter and core the quinces, putting them in the pan as you go to stop them browning. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat and cook for 10-15 minutes until just tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain well and transfer to a deep frying pan or sauté pan. Add the butter, the remaining 2 tablespoons honey, the sugar, cinnamon, 3 tablespoons of the lamb cooking liquid and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, then cook gently, turning now and then, until the juices are sticky and reduced and the quinces are tender.
- Shortly before the lamb is ready, put the couscous and salt in a large heatproof bowl, then stir in the hot water. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave for 5 minutes. Uncover, then fluff up with a fork. Melt the 400g butter in a large pan, add the couscous and stir over a low heat for 2 minutes until heated through, then fork through the lemon zest. Melt the knob of butter in a pan and fry the almonds in it for 1 minute.
- Stir the remaining chermoula into the lamb and adjust the seasoning to taste. Arrange the quince over the top, scatter with the almonds, and then serve with the buttered couscous.
In season this month
Fruits, Nuts & Fungi
Apples, blackberries, chestnuts, elderberries, figs, grapes, pears, quince, tomatoes, walnuts. Lots of lovely mushrooms; chanterelles, chestnuts, horse mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, parasol mushrooms, puffballs, giant shaggy ink caps and summer truffles
Vegetables & Herbs
Beetroot, borlotti beans, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, courgettes, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins & squash, rocket, salsify, scorzonera, spinach, turnips
Meat & Game
Duck, wild goose, grouse, guinea fowl, hare, mallard, partridge, pheasant, rabbit, venison, wood pigeon
Fish & Shellfish
Cod, crab, eels, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters, prawns, scallops, sea bass, sprats, squid, brown and rainbow trout
Suzanne is a professional chef, wife and mother who has lived in South East London all her life.
You can email Suzanne with any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org