About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Friday, June 06, 2008
Lamb with Beans
Since this post about the nature of Australian food, I've been thinking to create a dish that at least I could call Australian. What I came up with contains nothing that could be considered native to this country of ours, but that doesn't disqualify it at all. Many countries have national dishes with ingredients that come from elsewhere, but have their own unique spin - can you imagine Spain without potatoes, Italy without tomatoes or Asian cooking without chillies?

Even the technique is right out of an Italian cookbook of the classics, but by making a simple substitution, the dish has a quintessential Australian feel to it. Lamb is a much loved food in this country from robust roasted legs of lamb to the delicate and ever popular lamb cutlets. Who hasn't thrown a bbq lamb chop on the barbecue?

At this time of year, as we shiver our way into winter, the fact is, lamb is not at its peak, which occurs late winter/early spring with the arrival of new season lamb, the tenderest of all. Whilst lamb is not at its most tender just prior to the new season, it does have bucket loads more flavour, which makes the tougher cuts perfect for slow braising, cuts like forequarter (bbq) lamb chops which are taken from the shoulder.

It's attractive to cook with for two reasons, one, it's cheaper than boned out shoulder and two, bone in always gives more flavour and body to the braise. Lancashire hot pot is one way of making the most of this cut and gives a very good result. But how about jazzing it up with a borrowed idea? Why not use a method that brings the most out of veal shank, another tough customer that is reduced to melting tenderness by a long slow cook with aromatic flavours? Can Osso Bucco become dinki-di Aussie?

You betcha!

Lamb with Beans

2 onions, peeled & sliced
3 stalks celery, rough chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and rough chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
100ml olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1L chicken stock
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 bouquet garni of celery leaves, thyme, bay leaves & parsley stalks
6 forequarter (bbq) lamb chops, cut in half and trimmed of excess fat
2 tins beans, cannellini or borlotti
salt & fresh ground pepper
gremolata* (optional)

In a large casserole dish, heat the olive oil and put in the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and cook until the vegetable sweat down. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute, then add the chicken stock, diced tomato, bouquet garni and the lamb chops. Season with salt & pepper, then bring to the boil, put the lid on, and place in a 160c oven for 1 hour or until tender. Remove the lamb pieces and bring to a rapid boil on top of the stove and reduce until the sauce is thickened to your liking, stirring the bottom well. Add the beans and boil for 1 minute more. Serve with couscous.

*I'm not a huge fan of gremolata (grated lemon peel with finely chopped garlic & parsley) on Osso Bucco as it sort of takes over, but with this dish, the lamb flavour is more assertive and can stand up to it.
  posted at 11:11 am

At 5:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Neil,
I found your blog and would like to invite you to participate in an Ambassador Program focused on kids nutrition. Sorry for the random post, I couldn't find an email contact. If you're interested, visit http://www.vegiepouroverbuzz.com.au/content/default.html?a=19 for more info. Touch base if you have any questions. I hope to see you in the program.


At 9:26 pm, Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

What a great idea -- though sitting in New England on the cusp of summer, I'm going to bookmark and save this one for cooler weather! I'm not a fan of the gremolata with veal, but if you say that it works for the lamb, I'll try it.

At 6:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your recipe. Everything looks perfect. Brava! :)

At 3:07 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi huxley, good luck with that. Anything that helps kids (or anyone) to eat veggies is worthwhile.

Hi lydia, you've caught me out there. I didn't try it this time, but thought about it later and will try it the next time. I know I don't have to tell you, but gremolata is so pungent, that it behave more like a spice...a little goes a long way.

Hi maryann, it was very tasty, hope you get a chance to try it one day.


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