Welcome back to our guest foodie blogger, Michelle from The Source Bulk Foods Lane Cove. In her continuing quest to share some family-friendly recipes, this time, she shares a Lamb with Cous Cous recipe from one of her favourite chefs Yotam Ottolenghi.
A few years ago, I was flipping around the food channels on a quest to find something I had not watched before when a tall, calm, gentle, elegant man appeared on the screen. I was curious as his style was so different to the slightly intense demeanor of many international chefs on FOXTEL – he was chilled and subtle to the point where moments of silence peppered the program. The food was bright, fresh and full of vitality with large ‘help yourself’ platters piled high with vivid vegetables, plenty of legumes and grains, a smattering of meat, loads of herbs and generous splashes of lemon. I had found Yotam Ottolenghi and I was in love.
My love has remained solid with a full collection of Yotam cookbooks proudly front and centre in my cookbook shelves, and his recipes rolled out regularly when crowds of friends are over for a meal.
With the store open for 5 weeks and the kids on holidays, we decided we were brave enough to invite a few friends over for a relaxed dinner. I love treating my friends as food Guinea pigs so I hit the Internet for some new Yotam recipe options. I spent a blissful 20min scrolling through fabulous recipe after fabulous recipe until I found the perfect option – braised lamb with cous cous and chickpeas. The recipe was easy, could be prepared early and left to bubble away quietly, and would even satisfy the slightly fussy palates of some of the teenage guests.
The recipe was every bit as easy as it appeared, the large platter looked and smelt spectacular when it hit the middle of the table and it was devoured by the whole crowd with seconds quickly clearing the platter.
GF Option – My youngest daughter is gluten free so whilst the lamb was braising away contentedly I popped a cup of quinoa into a medium pot with 2 cups of vegetable stock (water is also fine) and a dash of salt. Once it came to the boil, I simmered it for about 5min and then turned it off and put the lid on and let in sit for 10min. At serving time I added two generous handfuls of the chickpeas to the quinoa and topped it with two lamb chops and some veg. It was a hit as she devoured it happily – phew!
Below is Yotam’s recipe with my tweaks – I tripled it and cooked it in the largest pot I own, and it worked perfectly
8 lamb chops, on the bone
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
3 medium onions, one peeled and quartered, two peeled and cut into 0.5cm slices
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces
2 sticks celery, cut into 3cm pieces
40g parsley leaves, plus 1 tbsp extra, chopped, for garnish
2 cinnamon sticks
20 whole allspice berries (I used ground allspice as I couldn’t find the berries)
10 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
300g cous cous
200g chickpeas (I used our chickpeas and boiled them for about 40min until just soft enough but still with a little crunch)
150g Greek yoghurt
I added the chops to my enormous stock pot and olive oil, salt and peppered them as I seared them for 2min on each side until golden – this saved on another bowl to prepare them. Then in goes the quartered onions, 4l of water (1 1/2 liters of water for the original recipe) and bring to boil. Lower the heat, skim the surface and add the parsley, cinnamon, allspice, peppercorns and bay leaves. Leave to simmer for an hour and a half, skimming occasionally and topping up the water if it gets low, until the lamb is tender.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a medium frying pan. Add the sliced onion and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until caramelised and brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Whilst the meat slowly simmered, I simmered the chickpeas until just cooked through but still slightly crunchy. I added the chickpeas to a large pot with trip the amount of water to chickpeas. When it reached the boil I let it simmer for about an hour until the chickpeas were just right – I had to top up the water twice so keep an eye on the pot in case it gets low.
When the chops are soft, remove them from the stock and set aside. Strain the stock, keep it all and measure out double the stock to cous cous (700ml for the original recipe); reserve the carrots and celery to serve with the lamb. Bring the stock to the boil, add the cous cous, cover the pan, remove from the heat and set aside for five minutes. Stir the chickpeas and cooked onion through the cous cous, add a quarter-teaspoon of salt and warm through. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and keep warm.
Just before serving, reheat the last of the lamb stock. Add the lamb and gently stir until warmed through. Pile the warm cous cous and chickpea mixture on a large serving platter, put the lamb chops on top, spoon over some of the hot stock and the yoghurt, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve.
Try this out and let us know how you go. Pop in and see Michelle and Geoff at the Source Bulk Foods Co Lane Cove they are delightful and really love what they are doing.
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