Sunday lunch casserole – slow cooked lamb with cabbage served with minted new potatoes
At the moment I’m sat in an airport. My flight is 4 hours delayed. What better way to fill the time than to write up a recipe I developed a few weeks ago. It’s a very English combination of lamb and mint sauce, which is slightly incongruous as I’m in Spain about to travel to Malaysia. I start my new job in Kuala Lumpur in three days time, so I’m not sure when next I’ll be having a traditional British-style “meat and two veg” dinner. Really, what better time to share this recipe with you?
This meal was prepared in a slow cooker, but you could also cook it in a covered casserole dish in the oven at a low temperate for 3-4 hours. My main complaint with slow cookers is that it is hard to get the seasoning right because you can’t taste the food as it cooks. I always find it disappointing when you’ve been slow cooking something and anticipating the wonderful flavour for hours, then find it is a little bland or over-seasoned when it’s too late. I’ve got around this problem by recommending that you thicken up the gravy separately, once the casserole ingredients are cooked. Just ladle the majority of the gravy into a saucepan and allow it to reduce, whilst seasoning to taste. It only takes a few minutes and means you can control the flavour of the sauce for a really satisfying meal.
Ingredients (serves 4)
– 400g cubes of lamb leg or other cut for stewing
– half a white cabbage, roughly shredded
– 2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
– 2 sticks celery, thickly sliced
– 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
– 1 litre beef, lamb or vegetable stock
– 3 sprigs fresh thyme
1. Take half the cabbage and put it in the bottom of the slow cooker or casserole dish. Sprinkle with a little thyme. Cover with the carrots and then the celery to create layers. Season each layer with some thyme leaves (about half a teaspoon for each layer), plus salt and pepper if desired.
2. Season the lamb with a little salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a frying pan and lightly brown the meat on all sides. Transfer to the slow cooker. In the same frying pan, soften the onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes then place on top of the meat.
3. Season with another half teaspoon of thyme leaves. Finish with a layer of the remaining cabbage, more thyme and seasoning if required.
4. Pour the stock over the meat and vegetables, cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
5. After this time, ladle the majority of the gravy into a saucepan. Leave a little liquid in to stop the meat and vegetables drying out and cover the casserole again. Simmer the gravy to reduce it until it is the consistency you prefer. If you like very thick gravy, you can add teaspoon of cornflour mixed into a paste with a little water and whisk well. Remember to taste and season at this point!
6. Place the new potatoes in boiling water then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the frozen peas to the same pan and cook for a further 3 minutes. Drain and stir through the mint sauce.
7. Serve the lamb and vegetables with the minted potatoes and peas. Pour over the thickened gravy and enjoy!
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