Sunday, August 27, 2006

What's for Sunday dinner?

Diane has a regular Sunday feature on her blog: what are you having for Sunday dinner? The last few weeks we've had just leftovers, but tonight I made what has become a Forbes Family Favorite. Again it features lamb, so you non-Aussies may not find this so attractive. But here lamb is very popular although no longer so cheap to buy. Lately I've been buying lamb chops and braising them for 1 ½ hours so they get very tender. Here's the recipe - it includes olives, so Alice, look away now!

Slow-braised Greek lamb with olives

1 kg lamb chops (forequarter or chump, or from the leg or shoulder)
4-5 tbl olive oil
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
½ cup red wine
2 tbl red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 cup tomato puree
about 1 cup beef stock (or any leftover meat juices you've saved from another meal)
½ cup pitted green olives (I've recently discovered anchovy stuffed olives, which is great with lamb)
some chopped oregano (or like I did tonight, left it out altogether)
salt and pepper

Heat oil in heavy based pan over medium heat. Brown lamb pieces, 1 minute each side. Remove to a plate. In the same pan cook garlic for 30 seconds, then add wine and vinegar and simmer 2 - 3 minutes.

Add cinnamon, bay leaves, tomato puree and stock, and bring to the boil. Return lamb to pan and reduce heat. Cover and simmer gently for about 1 hour or until lamb is very tender. Add olives and cook for 1 ½ hour longer. Season with oregano, and salt and pepper. Serves 4.

The original recipe called for preserved lemon, but I'm always hesitant about using this very strong tasting ingredient. You need to rinse off the rind to use it, and I figure, well why not just use a squeeze of lemon if you want a bit of lemon tang?

So you're thinking: 1 ½ hours to cook lamb chops??? This household goes for slow food, as opposed to fast food, and it's a microwave free zone. Currently there's a slow food festival on in Melbourne. This is to be encouraged. Unfortunately it looks like our favorite country town Castlemaine has finally succumbed its first international fast food outlet, a Subway franchise.


Alice said...

Sounds better than our fish and chips, although they were good, too.

I love chump chops. What did you serve the lamb with? ( and don't say "with a spoon and fork".)

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Somebody needs to start having a slow food festival around here because we have fast food on every corner. I think Americans have become fast food junkies. *no laughing matter*

Tammy said...

Merle who is also an Ausie mentioned eating lamb once in her blog and I have never even had a bite of it!
It would be hard to do as that is my maiden!
You can imagine the fun kids had with it!!
Glad you enjoy it though...

jellyhead said...

Anything with lamb, garlic and olives and I'm THERE! Yum, Val...I'll have to try this.

We had pork and basil and vege stir-fry last night.

Granny said...

Yum. I cooked for a potluck/picnic at our lake. Lots of good food.

I do a lot of slow cooking too although not entirely.

Not microwave free though.

PEA said...

Like Tammy, I've never had lamb either...I've seen it in the grocery stores but it's very expensive and they only have it around Christmas time usually. The recipe does sound delicious though!! I love cooking slow, it just makes the meat so much more tender!!

Meow said...

Mmmmm, we had pizza for dinner last night !!!
Your lamb sounds yummy, but we aren't very typical Aussies ... we rarely eat lamb, and I hate olives !!! My hubby would love it, though !!! Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful week, take care, Meow

Val said...

Alice, I just served a spinach salad and rice with it. I often make orzo (risoni) as the starch, my FAVORITE pasta. It's rice shaped so it's like having rice AND pasta. There's always some sauce left over for a nice snack or to flavor another dish.

AIP, the whole world needs to look more at the fast food movement and what it's doing to us.

Amazing to read that many of you haven't had lamb before. I'm pretty sure we had it fairly frequently when I was growing up in the U.S. (NY and California). Must ask Mom about it. Maybe it's no longer so prevalent there - I haven't lived there in more than 30 years.

Jeanette said...

Hi Val
this recipe sounds ill be trying this .Yummy im the same love lamb, my favorites crumbed cutlets,Roast and shanks.
I had Merle's stew,casserole slowly cooked in the oven.
Take care Jen

Hope your footy team wins this week for you ..Go Tigers !!!

Merle said...

Dear Val ~~ Thank you so musc for your message of sympathy, which I appreciate.
The footy was good yesterday, I managed to watch some of it. Didn't they play well? I see Didak got off for his attack on Scotland, which was lucky according to the commentators. And Fev got off too
We are not likely to beat Sydney. It was
good to see Aaron Hamill back.
Thanks again Val. Take care, Merle.

Val said...

I just went over to Merle's blog to see if I could find her lamb recipe, and in her post about roast lamb I saw so many comments where people said they have never had lamb or didn't like it! I've just asked my mom about eating lamb in NY and California, and she says we often had it, and it's easy to find in supermarkets where she lives now (San Francisco bay area). So I wasn't dreaming it up.

Thanks for the best wishes on my footy team, but they play their last game on Sunday against the reigning premiers up in Sydney, and our chances of winning are pretty nil...

Diane said...

Val, thanks so much for your plug for my Sunday Dinner meme. ;D

Your lamb dish sounds great. I'm afraid I'm one of those who've never had lamb. It's about 3 times the price of beef here, so very pricey for most of us. We eat a lot of chicken, then pork and beef, in that order. With the price of meat these days we have a lot of meatless meals.

Have a great week! :-)

Val said...

Heh heh, I just wrote to Merle (another Aussie) about how many people we’ve found who have commented on both our blogs about not ever having had lamb before. We may live hundreds or thousands of miles apart and eat different things but the blogosphere brings us all together to share in our differences and similarities. I love blogging!

Merle said...

Hi Val ~~ The casserole that Jeanette mentioned was steak and kidney that I
cooked in the crockpot with heaps of vegies, and I put dumplings on top.
But It would work OK with lamb too. I
often cook a leg and chops, and shanks, but not much else. I looked for lamb mince last shopping day without any luck. I used to bake chump chops in the oven, with a packet of French onion soup sprinkled over them and a dob of butter.Cover with foil
and they take about an hour.
Take care Val, Hugs, Merle.

Val said...

Gracious me, all those people never eaten lamb? Must be to do with the climate or something. We can get organic lamb very easily from farm shops and supermarkets. In the old days it came frozen from New Zealand, we like it so much. My very own MWC just tried out a recipe for lamb chops with sticky redcurrant sauce. Shh dont tell any of this to our pet sheep/lawnmower called Timothy!

Sue said...

I think I may have mentioned this before but my SIL who is from Australia says the lamb here is not nearly as good as from "home"
The recipe looks interesting, but it IS still lamb...