slow cooked lamb neck fillet
Fri, 26 April, 2019
Slow cooked lamb neck fillet braised with onions, peppers and raisins. Lamb neck fillets get Middle Eastern flavour in this one-pot meat and vegetable oven casserole. It’s tender, it’s aromatic and there’s only one pot to wash up.
How to cook lamb neck fillet?
An alternative to quick grilled lamb fillet, this is the other end of the spectrum: braising slow and low for hours. Since lamb neck is a modestly sized cut, all of two hours will suffice.
The selection of vegetables cooking with the lamb and providing the aromatic accompaniment is free fancy. I thought a vaguely Middle Eastern flavours would be the thing so I included a bit of fruit, red peppers and a handful of raisins on top of the usual onion, garlic and carrot.
One pot dish
It’s also a dish everyone adores: all in one pot. Eintopf, pot-au-feu, goulasch, gumbo, hotpot, you cook your meat/fish and your veg in the same dish, thus minimising washing up and saving energy.
Soups of course are the ultimate one-pot dishes, provided they have not been stupidly blended and pureed into baby food. I can’t very well think of a vegetarian version of a hotpot, unless it’s a pasta bake or a rice pilaf.
My one-pot dish backstory
My Dad used to make this particular kind of one-pot dish. Whenever he was left to his own devices for cooking, he’d cook for his dinner what started off as chicken soup but then developed into a ‘more is more’ kind of dish. Chicken would go into the stockpot, with some aromatics and water.
Then Dad would experiment with seasoning: nothing was ever too hot so several chilies would end in the pot. Not an expert on spices, he’d open a jar, sniff, and decide whether to use it; aye being the more frequent decision than nay. Herbs were good: whatever green was there in the salad drawer.
Later on he’d decide that cooking noodles separately to put in the broth was a waste of time and so they landed in the soup as a time-saving measure. If he was really on the roll – or getting very hungry while the soup was cooking – he might add a sliced potato, chopped carrots and/or parsnips.
I do remember one time he got really carried away and threw a good handful of rice in. To give him his due, he’d always eat it; complement himself profusely on his cooking skills and act very hurt if no one wanted to partake with him.
They don’t make cooks like my father anymore, audacious and experimenting; and nobody else makes the chicken soup like he did – and thank heavens for that.
slow cooked lamb neck filletServings: 3-4Time: 2 hours
- 3-4 lamb neck fillets
- salt and black pepper
- 1 tbsp. groundnut oil
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 red pepper, cored and diced
- 1 pear, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 tbsp. raisins
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp ras-el-hanout (or ½ and ½ tsp cinnamon and cayenne pepper)
- 1 tsp sumac
1. Season the lamb with salt and pepper on all sides. Preheat the oven to 160C/300F/gas 2.
2. Heat the oil in a large oven proof pan or casserole over high heat. Add the lamb fillets and sear them on all sides; this should take at least 5 minutes. Remove them from the pan, keep aside and turn the heat down to medium.
3. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and peppers and stir fry for 5 minutes until a little softened and coloured.
4. Add the pear, raisins and spices, stir well and place the lamb fillets atop the vegetables. Pour in about 1 cup of water, so it comes up only just to the meat level. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven.
5. Bake for 1 hour, take off the lid and turn the fillets over, keeping them on top of the aromatics. Top up with a little water if a lot has cooked off. Return the pot to the oven and bake for 30 minutes more.
6. Remove the pot from the oven, remove the meat to a plate and keep in a warm place. Place the pot on the hob and boil for about 5 minutes until there is barely any liquid left.
7. Carve the lamb fillets. Using a slotted spoon, place piles of vegetables on individual plates and perch sliced lamb on top.