This time of year is meant to be a time when bloggers look back at the past 12 months and look ahead to the rest of the year, or at least share their resolutions. The former I'll do at some point, but the latter I don't really bother with, apart from a vague commitment to cook more in 2011, and this one is a good start to the year. It's adapted from a lamb casserole recipe I found online. Is it a casserole or a stew? Frankly, who cares. It's perfect for this time of year when all you want to do is hibernate. Better still, wait for a crisp, sunny day, set this cooking, go for a walk then warm up with a delicious and healthy-ish meal ready and waiting.
It's a one-pot dish, so takes up very little washing up, and is supremely easy to put together. This serves two - if you're cooking for four, you won't need to increase the stock or tomatoes by much.
250g-300g lamb neck fillet, diced 1 medium onion, diced 1 medium carrot, chopped 1 small leek 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or crushed 1 small butternut squash, cubed with seeds removed 400ml lamb or vegetable stock a handful of frozen peas 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 tbsp mint, chopped flour salt pepper Vegetable oil
Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6 / 180 C. Put your squash on an ovenproof tray, cover with olive oil and quickly roast for 10 mins to soften them up.
Roll your lamb fillets in flour so they're lightly dusted. Heat the oil in a casserole or ovenproof pan or dish and brown off the meat on both sides. Take out of the pan and put to one side.
Put the onion, carrot, leak and squash into the casserole and slowly cook for about 7-10 mins or until the onion is lightly golden. Add the cinnamon and cook for another minute.
Put the lamb back into the pot and add the chopped tomatoes and stock. Stir the ingredients together, bring to the boil and season to taste with the salt and pepper.
Cover the pot and put into the oven. Cook for around 1 hour and 20 minutes, when you'll want to add the peas and stir the mint into the pot. Return to the oven and cook for a further ten minutes. Remove and give it a couple of minutes to cool down before serving.
And that's the recipe. Very simple - the only hassle is peeling and cubing the squash. Other than that, it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare and is comfort food in a dish. There's no pictures of this, sadly, as it smelt far too good and I was hungry.
Interspersed with social media and journalism thoughts, I'll probably be posting a few more recipes this year, if you're ok with that. I may also be looking for guinea pigs to test out future recipes on - don't all shout at once...