Almond milk Braised Shoulder of Lamb with Cannellini Beans, Fennel and Baby Carrots
You will need:
1/2 shoulder of lamb, approx 1kg/2 lb 3 oz
3 fat garlic cloves, cut into slivers
2 green chillis, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley stalks
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly bashed
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
300ml/10 fl oz almond milk (unsweetened)
1 tin cannellini beans, drained
baby carrots, to serve
flaked almonds and chopped parsley leaves, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4. Using a small knife, make little incisions all over the meat and insert the slivers of garlic. Mix together the parsley stalks, cumin seeds, lemon juice and zest, smoked paprika, olive oil and 1 tsp of salt (preferably sea salt) in a small bowl to form a thick paste. Rub this all over the lamb.
2. Place the onion and fennel in a roasting tray, season and pour over the almond milk. Sit the lamb snugly in the tray. Cover with tin foil and roast for 1 hour, basting a few times, then remove from the oven and tip in the beans. Continue to roast for a further 30 minutes, uncovered, until tender. Leave to rest for 10-15 minutes then scatter with chopped parsley and flaked almonds. Serve with steamed baby carrots, still slightly crunch and, if you like, some of the beans, fennel and milk whizzed into a thick sauce.
My domestic task for this week is to rearrange the kitchen. I think I was inspired by the ergonomically sound layout and design of the Secret Larder (particularly the labelled fridge shelves). Oh to have those worktops! The storage solutions! But I’ll try to make the most of the space I do have and see how it goes.
I think my kitchen’s problem is essentially two-fold. 1) I recently got my bread maker out of storage and have been enjoying making homemade loaves (with mixed success, there’s a learning curve), but the thing does take up quite a lot of space. 2) I can’t seem resist picking up new ingredients all the time. A bottle of this, a jar of that soon add up to a full suitcase on my travels or an overflowing handbag out and about in London.
So our counters are permanently brimming, which can drive me potty from time to time. One obvious way around this is to actually use up the store cupboard stuff before seeking out new treasures. So I set myself a challenge for lunch today to find thrifty ways to use things up (see also my austerity soup). I made a warm salad of chickpeas, spinach and garlic with a good drizzle of olive oil, pomegranate molasses and a sprinkle of paprika and sea salt (I nabbed more than my fair share of fleur de sel at my friend Jen’s wedding in the Guérande region of Brittany back in September, where little bags of the famous sea salt were given as favours).
A good way for using up any pita bread hiding in the freezer is to turn them into crisps for snacking on. Simply toast to defrost, cut into strips, toss in some olive oil and put in the oven. You can add cumin, salt, pepper, herbs, etc. to flavour. I served these with a cannellini bean and rosemary dip (made with rosemary oil and flaked almonds). That’s about six store cupboard items used so I can definitely justify at least three more culinary purchases now.