Recipe three is from 500 Recipes for Casserole Dishes by Catherine Kirkpartick (this impression is from 1969). Published by Paul Hamlyn the book is from a series of ’500 Dishes for..’ books, I also have 500 Recipes for Mixers and Blenders in my collection, and amongst the others published were 500 Recipes for Slimmers,and 500 Recipes for Home-made Wines and Drinks. Both the books I have are somewhat battle-weary, yellowing glue and musty dry pages – these books look like they’ve been well used, and indeed the contents are mainly decent standard recipes – good on their own but also with a lot of potential for improvisation and ingredient substitution – a quality that usually means a book will be referred to often.
I was initially hunting for a vegetable stew to make but none were quite what I was looking for, indeed a lot of the recipes in the ‘Vegetable, Egg and Cheese Casseroles’ chapter would not pass muster with any vegetarians, as they involve loads of meat. The picture below, if you can make it out shows a few of the so-called ‘vegetable’ casseroles. The ones that didn’t include meat mainly involve cheese or eggs, neither of which appeal to me in casserole form (the ‘Marrow Savoury’ looked ok but I couldn’t find a marrow..)
So I delved into the meat chapters, and contemplated Beef Cobbler, Canadian Steak, Crusty Beef Stew, Priest’s Goulash, Veal Marengo, Pork and Quince Casserole, Kidney Espagnole, Liver Bonne Femme, Braised Sheep’s Tongues, Hacienda Chicken, Braised Grouse, Pigeon with Cherries, Cod Bolognese and Casseroled Eels before finally settling on Spicy Lamb Hot Pot, as this sounded quite easy.
Spicy Lamb Hot Pot (4 portions)
1.5-2lb of best end neck lamb
2 medium sized onions, peeled and chopped
1/2 clove garlic
1-2 sticks celery, chopped
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
stock or water
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1. Trim meat, remove excess fat and cut into pieces.
2. Heat fat and brown meat, then put into a casserole.
3. Add onion and garlic to remaining fat and fry till lightly browned. Put with meat.
4. Add remaining vegetables and spices.
5. Wash rice and mix with other ingredients.
6. Add stock or water to barely cover.
7. Cover and cook in a slow oven (350F/ Gas Mark 2) for about 2 hours.
8. Correct seasoning before serving and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
- It was delicious – lovely soft meat, fairly subtle seasoning, and nicely done veg, and a good sauce
- I’ve never cooked with neck of lamb before, and I’d definitely do it again. My local organic butcher was only able to give me 3/4lb of it though, so I actually made half this amount.
- I forgot the green pepper, so I doubled the celery and chucked an extra tomato in (I don’t actually like cooked peppers that much, so I think my subconscious made me ‘forget’ it).
- I forgot to peel the tomato.
- I didn’t add salt or pepper, as I don’t usually feel I need it.
- I used water, as I haven’t made any stock lately.
- I put the oven at 150c as a guess, cos I didn’t have the laptop on to convert from fahrenheit – this is actually a bit lower than the instructions. However I managed to knock the dial up to 200c for about 30 mins before I noticed – I was concerned this might dry it out but instead it added some nice lightly browned bits to the meat.
Would definitely make this again – it was stupidly easy to prepare, and yielded a big dish full of hearty hearty stew. The ‘Spicy’ of the name is misleading as it’s as mild as can be, which could be expected from something with hardly any spices in! It’s also shown me that less obvious cuts of meat can be as tasty and easy to find as the ones you get down the supermarket.
Cooked by Alix