Lamb with chorizo, olives and basil
( SERVES 6 )
Quick to prepare, ideal for cooking in the crock pot (on low for 5-6 hours. Cooking on high is not recommended), and perfect for cool nights. Using chorizo avoids the need for too many spices.
Read about Allyson Gofton's culinary adventures in France here.
For the lamb
- Heat the oven to 140C.
- Use a long thin sharp knife to cut the meat from the bone. Trim away excess fat and cut the meat into chunky 3-4cm pieces. Twist the bones to separate into two and place into a large casserole; set aside. (The bones are removed later, but as they will add so much flavour it is best to include them.)
- Season the meat with salt and pepper, adding a little of the oil to help the seasonings spread evenly over the pieces. Leave the lamb pieces to soak up the seasoning while you prepare the vegetables.
- Heat half of the remaining oil in a frying pan and brown the lamb evenly. Transfer to the casserole. Into the pan put the remaining oil, onion, garlic, chorizo sausage and saffron and cook over a moderate heat for 4-5 minutes until the onions are well softened and the mixture is deep orange in colour.
- Add the tomatoes and wine or water. Bring to the boil, pour over the lamb and add the additional flavouring ingredients of red and green capsicums, chillies and olives. Stir and cover. If you are not a fan of olives, then omit them; the same applies to the green chillies, which do add a spicy kick that may not be loved by all.
- Transfer to the preheated oven and cook for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is tender. Remove and discard the bones. Stir in the basil and serve with your favourite creamy starchy side dish — mashed potatoes, pasta, couscous etc. Tastes great reheated the next day.
In France you can buy long, sweet, thin-skinned green capsicums called peppers verte, which are much nicer to use as they add flavour without the heat of chillies. If you can find them, use 3-4 in place of the green capsicum and chilli.