This was a bit of an accidental creation and the photo doesn’t do it justice at all. It was in fact very tasty indeed. I made it up as I went along in that I’ve-had-a-couple-of-beers style of cooking which can so often result in disaster but on this occasion turned out a triumph. I thought that rosemary and cumin go so well with lamb that it had to work… and it did. Give it a go.
2 lamb neck fillets (or any other cheap cut), cut into chunks
Bacon, pancetta or lardons chopped. I’m not sure how much I used. 2 rashers will do.
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 aubergine (eggplant)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour.
1 tin tomatoes
About a tablespoon of rosemary and cumin seeds, ground or chopped
1tsp anchovy sauce (optional)
3 tbsp olive oil
Serves 3 or 2 plus someone’s lunch the next day
Pre-heat the oven to 160C/ 320F. The oven is on quite a low heat because if it’s too hot the lamb will dry up and be tough.
Do your prep – chop the lamb, bacon, onion, garlic and aubergine. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a casserole dish and get it good and hot. Fry the onion and bacon in batches (I did it in two batches because if you chuck it all in at once this will lower the heat and the meat will stew rather than fry) until they get a bit brown – they don’t have to be cooked through, just browned. It’s good to get some of the burnt bits caught on the bottom of the pan.
Set the onion and bacon aside and deglaze the pan by pouring in half a cupful of water and scraping up the burnt bits from the bottom of the pan. The liquid should boil rapidly and reduce quite a lot. Pour out the burnt-bits liquid and set aside for later. Effectively, you’ve made some gravy.
Put 1 tbsp oil into the now-empty pan and turn the heat down to medium. Gently fry the onion and aubergine for 10 minutes until they’re soft but not brown. Add the flour, garlic, rosemary and cumin and fry for another minute or so and then add the lamb, bacon and burnt-bits gravy you set aside. Give it a good stir and add the tin of tomatoes and anchovy sauce if you have it.
Bring it up to a simmer and then put it in the oven without a lid. If it seems a bit dry, add some water.
Stir it every 15 minutes or so for an hour. Have a taste – the bacon should have made it salty enough but if you feel it needs seasoning then add it.
After an hour it should be ready and the lanb will be nice and tender. I served mine with couscous but you could also have it with rice, potatoes or pasta.