Lamb is definitely one of my most favourite meats, so when I heard about the lamb recipe challenge (link here: http://www.tastyeasylamb.co.uk/Follow-the-Flock/Lamb-Recipe-Challenge
) I was sold. Winning something is nice, of course, everybody likes the chance to win something, but I admit that was more motivated about having a chance to experiment with lamb, which I always enjoy doing.
I love everything about lamb, from the sweet meat, the glistening fat, and the crisped skin to the aroma that fills the house when you roast it, or the garden when you barbecue it.
It pairs well with so many things, such as the sweetness of fruit in tagines, the zesty crunch of chillies and spring salads, the soft, gentle creaminess of coconut in a curry perhaps or just plunged into plain old soothing yoghurt, jazzed up with some mint and cucumber. I’ve used it in mediaeval mincemeat too, and it makes for a soft, rich taste to the spiced mixture.
I’ve used all kinds of cuts over the years. Shoulder marinated in white wine, lemon and olive oil and slow cooked for 12 hours; boned out and butterflied leg jazzed up with Ras el Hanout and herbs; belly stuffed with cinnamon, onions and dates; chops covered in cinnamon and cumin paste and chargrilled; the liver spiced up and quick fried with onions and parsley…I’ll take it any way I can get it.
This is a fairly easy dish, quick to put together so not bad for after work, and it’s even faster if you have a food processor. I used red pointed peppers, as they are thin skinned, and cook faster. You can, of course, use red bell peppers, but they will need longer cooking, so you might want to mix the lamb with some part cooked rice and extra herbs so that it doesn’t dry out.
3/4 pointed red peppers
8-900g lamb mince
2 medium carrots, grated
1/2 a large red onion or 5 spring onions if you prefer them
1 slice granary bread, soaked briefly in water and squeezed out
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic
1 small bunch fresh mint (the ready cut packs you get in the supermarket)
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
2 tsp red pepper paste (or use 1 tsp tomato paste)
1 tsp pul biber, or 1/2 tsp cayenne
You can chop all the herbs and onions by hand, though they won’t be as fine as if you do it in the food processor. Make sure your knife is really sharp, as parsley can be a right pain to chop, I have no idea why. If you do do things by hand, work the spices and herbs into the meat well, it should turn into more of a cohesive paste. That makes it easier to push into the peppers. Don’t worry about overfilling as the meat will shrink back as it cooks. I used the food processor for mine, as my hands ache after too much knife work.
Pulse the herbs, onions and the garlic together until they are very fine.
Add in the lamb, carrots, cumin, cinnamon, salt, red pepper paste and pul biber/cayenne.
Blend well until they make a fine paste. You could add in some currants and pine nuts at this stage if you wanted to, or grated courgette, then pulse again. It’s a good way of adding extra vegetables to a family dish.
Once everything is combined, push it into all the crevices of the peppers, and then mound slightly in the centre.
Place the stuffed peppers in a baking tray with sides, drizzle with olive oil, and then bake at 170C fan for half an hour. The peppers will wilt slightly, and the filling will shrink inside the cases.
5 minutes before the end of the cooking time, I crumbled over some feta, drizzled that with olive oil, and topped with a bit more pul biber.
Lovely to eat hot, and equally as good cold – though I let them come to room temperature first.
The filling makes very good meatballs too.
I’ve successfully fed two colleagues and me with these!