I love using the cheaper cuts of lamb for a slow-cooked lamb casserole. The meat becomes gloriously tender and the taste is sensational.
Autumn is my favourite season – a season suited for food like casseroles. And lamb is my favourite type of red meat.
In this slow-cooked lamb casserole, I use the neck fillet and trickle some honey over the meat and cook it in red wine. It obviously needs a bit of time in the oven, but it’s easy to make. Casseroles are great to make well in advance as the flavours intensify when left to stand.
Lamb meat is undoubtedly rich in fat - to make this an as low-calorie meal as possible, avoid serving this casserole with things like white rice or mashed potatoes. Go for of lots of vegetables instead.
Apart from the carrots in the casserole, I like to serve this slow-cooked lamb casserole with lots of green vegetables - like beans, peas and broccoli - and oven-roasted sweet potato wedges and tomatoes.
For 4 people:
1.2 kilo, 2lb 10½ oz, lamb neck fillets, each fillet cut into 3-4 pieces
1 tablespoon plain flour (I use white spelt flour)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 medium-sized carrots, each carrot cut into 4 pieces
4 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon honey
350ml, 1½ cups, full-flavoured red wine (always use wine that you are happy to drink as well)
4 small sweet potatoes - cut into wedges
Green beans and/or other green vegetables, such as broccoli, peas
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/ Fan 150C/350F/Gas Mark 3. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Roll the lamb neck pieces in the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess flour.
2. Heat the olive oil in a casserole dish and fry the pieces of meat over a medium high heat until browned on all sides –depending on the size of your casserole dish, you might have to do this in batches. Remove the meat from the casserole dish and leave it to the side.
3. Lower the heat a bit and add the chopped onion to the casserole dish, stir and cook for 3-4 minutes (if needed, add a little bit more oil). Add the garlic and cook for a further minute – keep stirring to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn.
4. Return the meat to the casserole dish together with the carrots and thyme. Trickle over the honey and pour in the wine. Cover the casserole dish with a lid and bring to a simmer. Transfer the casserole dish to the preheated oven and cook for about 2 hours – until the meat is really tender. Check the seasoning to see if you need more salt and/or pepper.
I cook the rest of the vegetables once the meat is ready – leaving the slow-cooked lamb casserole to rest with the lid on.
1. Turn up the heat of the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Toss the sweet potato wedges in a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle some salt over the wedges. Place them in a roasting tray and roast in the oven for around 25 minutes, until tender. Add the tomatoes during the last 10 minutes.
2. Boil or steam the beans - and/or other green vegetables - when the oven-roasted vegetables are nearly ready.