Ok. I’m back in the saddle. I was walking by mid day yesterday and compus mentus by 4 pm-ish. I had to do something to stop me feeling any more sorry for myself so I went for a dish for supper that, were anyone ever to ask me – what would your last dish be – this would be a strong contender. I normally do it as a supper dish for lots of folk – but I thought – sod it – let’s do it for me for a change! So, by 6pm I was back in the kitchen and a rush of well being and harmony poured over me. Today, I feel a little iffy again – but I am getting there. Anyway – enough about me – it is the food that is centre stage here!
This is a dish I came across in Spain Quixotic Donkeys years ago..it is a dish from Aragon originally and a chilindron is a type of low sided earthenware cooking pot..apparently. Cordero is – of course – lamb. Look, anyway, the point is – this is a seriously fine dish – peasanty, satisfying and perfect for friends to gather round with hunks of bread, glasses of wine and rich conversation.
Ingredients for 4
1kg of lamb shoulder or leg cut into even size chunks
5 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
100 gm of serrano or parma ham – preferably cut in one thick slice then chopped
2 carrots peeled and sliced thinly
4 plum tomatoes quartered
1 red pepper, chopped
Flat leaf parsley
100 ml – maybe more – dry white wine
250 gm fresh peas – though tinned will do if you must!
Ok…pop the lamb chunks into a dish and mix well with the garlic – leave for an hour.
Heat a tbsp of oil in a sauté pan. Pan fry the ham for about 30 seconds, then transfer to a casserole dish that has a tight fitting lid – you will be cooking on the hob – not in the oven. I use one of my stainless steel dutch ovens. Fry the lamb chunks next in same oil until browned – add to casserole. Sauté the carrots, then the peppers for about 5 minutes each and add to the dish. Then the tomatoes – til just starting to soften and colour. If need be add more oil at any point.
Now add the wine and chopped parsley to the pan and let it bubble for a second or two, then add to casserole with any scrapings.
Mix it all together. There should be about an inch or so of wine – if not add a dash more and top up your glass at the same time – cook’s perks!
Put on the lid – I add a layer of foil first just too make a really tight seal. Turn heat up high under the pot and cook on high for 20 minutes – shaking pan vigorously to stop it all sticking. Take a peep after maybe 15 minutes and if necessary add a little more wine and turn heat down a little. But be brave!
After 20 minutes add the peas. Lid back on and cook for a further 20 minutes. You can now, if you wish, just turn the heat off and move the pot to one side for 5 minutes of you wish – or if you are still chatting!
You will not believe that lamb can cook this fast and be so, so tender. It will be like carnivore velvet.
I serve on a white pre warmed dish to place in the centre of the table or in a pre warmed roasting tin, with shed loads of good crusty bread. The idea is you want folk to be able to be served but not be shy about dipping into the main dish to get more juices!
This is a dish of pure Spanish style and simplicity that leaves you feeling that life is ok after all and who cares what mañana brings. And I felt life seeping back into my veins afterwards too…alongside the tempranillo…..!