Neck of lamb isn’t strictly speaking an offal, but it is definitely an underused cut of meat with bone in it, so I picked some up from my Mum’s butcher in Pinchbeck, Lincolnshire, and froze it until a occassion where I was skint. That occasion came and haunted by a delicious dish of lime lamb neck at a Lebanese restaurant in Leeds called Fairuz, I wanted to make something similarly SOUR. So the other name for this dish would be Lamb and Grapefruit Casserole.
There are no pictures of this gem, because it was another brown dish and you’ve probably seen lots of brown casseroles in your time. So, PAUSE, and IMAGINE a dish of brown …. like a nice dark brown, the colour of chesnuts exposed to the air for about an hour and a half*.
This recipe is different to my others, in that it seems to me to have an inordinate amount of ingredients, but essentially was made from what Daz and I had on the kitchen side. I’m not sure either if I’m writing the recipes out in a way that you can follow, so if it doesn’t make any sense, please let me know.
The ingredients fall into four groups:
- 4 tablespoons plain flour, 1 teaspoon chilli flakes, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 neck of a lamb cut into four by your butcher
- half a large aubergine, half a very large courgette, 1 whole turnip
- zest and juice of 2 limes, zest and juice of one yellow grapefruit, 2 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon hot paprika, half teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground allspice, 1 and a half teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 vegetable stock cubes, enough hot water to cover all ingredients, 4 dashes Magi liquid seasoning
What I did was to mix on a teaplate all the dry ingredients from 1, then coat lamb neck in mixture and fry off till browned. I put the neck in the slow cooker with the rest of the flour-spice mix. Then add 2 to the slow cooker and jumble them all together with your (washed) hands. Add all of 3, jumble once more. Add 4, stirring to melt the cubes of stock. If of course, you make/use real veg stock then reduce the additional water, please.
I left everything to marinate over night in the slow cooker and then switched it to high at about 8am the following morning. We ate at 7 that night. (If you don’t have a slow cooker a) buy one because they are ace and b) you can just do a normal casserole at 180 for 3 hours or so, the gravy might not be as thick but you can always add cornflour.) It was scrumblelicious, but didn’t have the sour sour tang that I’d been after. I blame the Asda grapefruit. Maybe it had lost its sour by sitting in my kitchen when it was already reduced to sell-by-fresh for two weeks.
Ideas for different things to make it sour are welcome – tamarind might work? preserved lemons? those gobstoppers I remember from being 7 which had SKULL GROWLING on them? I found this blog which is all about Cambodian food and how they love it sour. The rest of the blog is pretty good too. My friend Paul lives in Cambodia and he hasn’t mentioned the sour factor but has mentioned how they love to eat all the bits of the animals, perhaps a Cambodian special one week, prehaps I’ll cook some brains in a Pol Pot? *comedy trombone noise and muttered apologies*
*At primary school we did a day where we got a conker, broke it out and drew the changing shapes and colours of the darkening brown pigment. There are only so many times you can draw the same conker in one day.