Caroline’s lamb blanquette with barley

This is a recipe from our French friend Caroline, who writes….
“As promised, I’m coming back to you with a recipe using the beautiful lamb shoulder you offered us to taste, when we met you end of september just off the Offa’s Dyke, by your farm.

I made a simple stew on a slow cooker, and thickened the stock with a roux just like you do a blanquette.
It was really flavoursome and tender. It reminded me of the lambs meat of his tiny 15 animals herd, my grandfather use to give us every year, that would pack my parents freezer full for the next 6 months…”

Lamb blanquette with barley or brown lentils:
Organic or biodynamic grown vegetables would obviously be best to match the beautiful quality of the meat

750g lamb or hogget shoulder
150g barley or brown lentils
3 carrots sliced
1 turnip diced
2 branches celery diced
1 bay leaf
1 branch thyme
1 onion
2 cloves
2 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch parsley: leaves & stalks separated
salt, pepper
For the roux (optional):
30g butter
30g flour
(100g cream)

Place the diced shoulder in a pot and cover with cold water, bring to the boil, keep simmering for 10 minutes and with a ladle skim the surface from the impurities foaming.
Remove the pieces of meat, pass the liquid through a fine mesh sieve and let it cool.
While it’s cooling, prepare your veg, wash, peel and slice or dice them.
Separate leaves and stalks of the parsley, peel and cut in 2 the onion, pick it with the cloves, peel and cut the garlic cloves in 2.
Place the meat, the veg and aromates (leaving the parsley stalk for the last 15 minutes to save the vitamins) in the rinsed pot, cover with the stock, bring to the boil and leave to cook for few hours (about 2) on a slow cooker, barely simmering,and checking meat and veg regularly, add the lentils or barley 45 minutes before the end. If you use lentils, only add the salt at the end of the cooking or they will explode. Earlier when using using barley.
Prepare the roux:
Melt the butter in a small pan, add the flour and cook it few minutes without browning.
Strain half a litre of the cooking liquor, and add it in few times to the flour mix, stirring with a whisk, and cook it few minutes, add salt and pepper, then the cream if you wish.
Pour this white cream over the meat and veg with the remaining liquid if you want a fluid stew type liquid, or strained for a richer finish.
Scatter the chopped parsley like green confetti over for a good dose of vitamine C!

Recipe of the Day

For anyone like us with a massive crop of quinces this year – a recipe to go beyond membrillo and quince jelly: Qorma-e-Behi or Afghan Quince Stew.

We love Afghan recipes. Almost every one, including desserts, begins with “take one lamb”…….. This is a toned down version, stolen from the excellent Noshe Djan, by Helen Saberi and published by the excellent Prospect Books. Try it, preferably with one of our delicious organic, pedigree lambs and let us know what you think!

Serves 4.

2 large quinces

75ml vegetable oil

3 medium onions, preferably red, finely chopped

1Kg Pen-y-Wyrlod Lamb on the bone, cut into chunks

1tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 ground cardamom

110g brown sugar or molasses

salt to taste

Peel the quinces and cut into 2.5cm cubes. Heat the oil in a pan and then add the finely chopped onions. Fry over a medium/high heat until soft and golden brown. Now add the meat and fry until browning, then add the quince. Stir, then add the spices. Fry for about a minutes then add about a teacupful of water and the sugar and salt to taste. Mix and stir the ingredients and cook gently until the meat is tender and quinces are soft.

Serve with chalau (Plain white rice).

Special offer: Two free quinces with any lamb this  week!