Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Recipe - Chicken Sofrito, Spiced Lamb Shoulder

I have taken to making Sunday night roasts. The beef was a disaster that was hastily recovered and that led me to moving towards some middle eastern recipes where the success relies on the flavours rather than the timings. (I'll get timings right one day. I must.) Also, I'm having a bit of an Ottolenghi phase at the moment and these flavours are appropriate. The theme has been to braise a hunk of spiced meet and accompany it with herb-strewn salads and slaws. Rather more successful than the beef.
Chicken sofrito by Ottolenghi - I followed the recipe pretty closely except that I used chicken legs instead of a spatchcocked whole hen. With this, I served a salad of roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes and basil, another of cabbage, red onion, mint and coriander and this sweet rice dish.

Cardamom rice with caramelised onion
25g sultanas
2 tablespoons caramelised onions
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
50 cardamom pods
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
2 long cinnamon sticks, broken in two
300g basmati rice
600ml water
Large handful of coriander and mint, finely chopped
Heat half a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large saucepan.
Add the rice, caramelized onion, 1 teaspoon salt and plenty of black pepper.
Add sultanas.
Pour the boiling water over the rice, cover the pan, and cook over very low heat for 30 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, remove the lid, quickly place a clean tea towel over the pan, and seal again with the lid.
Leave the dish undisturbed for another 10 minutes.
Finally, add the herbs and use a fork to stir them in and fluff up the rice.
Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

The following week, I think I took on too much. I was feeling indecisive as I had ingredients that could have been put together in too many different combinations. I was initially planning on making Ottolenghi's take on chicken marbella but then I remembered that I had been big on chicken last week and so decided to lamb it.

700g shoulder of lamb
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp paprika
6 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Marinade the lamb in the ingredients stated above for as long as you have. Add enough water to half cover the lamb and 2 bay leaves. Place in an oven preheated to 140 for 3 hours.

Add the following:

3 tablespoons caramelised onions
8 prunes, chopped
Handful of raisins
1 tbsp capers

Return to oven for a further hour. Remove the lamb from the sauce and set aside, covered in foil. Strain away the fat and add a large handful of chopped coriander and chopped fresh mint.

I served this with cabbage and turmeric pilaf, patatas a la pobre (which were not as delicious as I had hoped), a slaw of carrot and cabbage and a yoghurt, mint and beetroot salad. I think I should have made less and concentrated more.

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