Braised Lamb Neck

This dish is inspired by travels to various Spanish regions. It takes a moruños spice marinate from Arabic influenced Andalucia, the toasted 1906 beer from Coruña, exceptional Cantabrian anchovies, poor man’s potatoes which is a popular accompaniment to lamb in Castilla, but in a modern interpretation. Coupled with a combination of a passion for Spain and the best of seasonal and local ingredients. So of course, the recipe includes Welsh late spring lamb, plus British broad beans and Wye Valley asparagus to give the dish an early summer life.

Instructions

For the lamb:

  1. Blitz together the salt, paprika, cumin, coriander. Rub into the meat.  Leave refrigerated for 24 hours (or at least a few hours if you’re short on time).
  2. In a heavy based pot, sear the lamb in hot olive oil until browned all over, then remove and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, sweat your vegetables and herbs on a medium heat for 10 minutes until softening. Then add the tomato purée and stir, cook for two minutes.
  4. Add your lamb back into the pot with the vegetables. Add the beer and reduce by 2/3rds.  Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil, then reduce to just a bare simmer. Cover with baking parchment directly on top of the meat, vegetables and liquid (make a cartouche if you’re being cheffy and posh), then cover the pot with a lid.
  5. Cook at 120° in a fan assisted oven for 3-4 hours. The lamb should then be meltingly tender. Allow to cool in the braising liquor. Once cool remove the lamb and keep to one side.
  6. Strain the vegetables and liquid through a fine sieve, pushing as much moisture out of the veg as possible with the back of a wooden spoon. Place the liquid back into your pot and onto a high heat on the hob. Bring to the boil and then turn down to medium. Reduce this liquid until it’s the saucy consistency you want. The sauce shouldn’t need seasoning. If you want to strain it again, feel free. Now add the lamb back in, and voila.
  7. Warm this up again to serve.

For the potatoes:

  1. In a heavy based pan sweat all ingredients apart from the potatoes together, until soft and sweet to make a deep flavourful sofrito. This could take an hour.
  2. In a lined roasting tray, add a layer of sliced potatoes, then spoon al layer of sofrito. Repeat until you have used all the ingredients, forming a kind of potato terrine.
  3. Place a layer of greaseproof paper on top, then foil. Bake in the oven at 150 degrees for 2 hours. Make sure a knife can go through the terrine with minimal resistance.

You can then portion and serve, or you can press overnight. To do this, add another roasting tin on top, then press with tins of beans or the like and refrigerate before portioning and reheating for a smart clean finish. A perfect accompaniment to many meat or fish dishes, or on it’s own.

For the broad beans and asparagus:

  1. Bring a pot of heavily salted water to the boil. Add the broad beans and cook for 1 minute. Refresh in iced water.
  2. Keep the water boiling and add the asparagus, cook for 1.5-2 minutes maximum. Refresh in the iced water.
  3. Pod the broad beans from their skins, discarding the skins.
  4. Sweat the shallot in a heavy based pan with olive oil until soft and translucent.
  5. Add the asparagus and broad beans and sautée until warmed through. Now fine slice the mint at the last second and add to the pan with the dash of sherry vinegar. Remove from the heat immediately, stir through, check for seasoning, and serve.

Preparation time:
45 min

Cooking time:
4.5 hour

Serves:
4

Ingredients

For the lamb:

2-3 lamb neck fillets, trimmed3g table salt5g sweet smoked paprika5g ground cumin5g ground coriander15ml olive oil5g cumin seeds
1 large white Spanish onion, roughly diced
3 medium carrots, scrubbed and roughly diced
2 sticks of celery, roughly diced
1/2 bulb of garlic, smashed
4 sprigs of thyme, whole
2 sprigs of rosemary, whole
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1.5 bottles Estrella Galicia Reserva 1906
1 litre roast chicken stock

For the potatoes:

6 medium to large potatoes, desirée/King Edward/Maris piper, peeled and sliced on a mandolin or as thin as you can if you don’t have a mandolin
3 large onions, peeled and sliced thinly
3 red and 3 yellow peppers, de- seeded and sliced thinly
3 cloves of garlic, fine diced
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme, stripped
10g table salt
liberal amounts of olive oil

For the broad beans and asparagus:
100g broad beans (if our of season use frozen)
1 shallot, peeled and finely diced
1 bunch of local asparagus, trimmed with any woody ends removed
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 handful of picked mint leaves
Olive oil
5-10ml sherry vinegar
salt and pepper

PAIR WITH

Estrella Reserva 1906 Braised Lamb Neck

Estrella Galicia 1906 Reserva Especial

An elegant and perfectly balanced lager.

Available from Wholefoods.