Friday, March 07, 2008

slowly does it

Yes, the sun may be shining, but half the leaves have fallen from my crimson ash so I do believe that represents the onset of autumnal cooking. There is nothing, absolutely zilch, that beats a slow cooked meal. Our first purchase after returning to the carnivorous life after two decades of vegetarianism (one for darling hubby) was a french blue le crueset oval dutch oven. It was hellishly expensive, even at 40 per cent off at David Jones, but it's one of the best kitchen investments I've made. 

This meal came about thus: I was at home recovering from a migraine on tuesday afternoon when I finally felt up to moving beyond my darkened bedroom beckoned by the call of the telly. I felt like being nurtured so I switched to Lifestyle Food and kept it there all afternoon. Because of my laziness I watched Tamasin's weekends, a show I normally switch off because of her seeming aversion to wearing a bra (sensing a theme here? Look, bralessness is fine in the privacy of your home, but not when your home contains cameras filming you for an internationally syndicated show - or if the paps follow your every move!). Anywho, laziness led to serendipity as she was slow cooking on this program and ooh, baby, did she do it well. 

Cut to today. It's 1.30 on friday afternoon and tonight's meal is slowly simmering in the oven. It's made with a cut of meat I'd never tasted, nor heard of, so excitement is brewing. I'm cooking with lamb breast which is apparently the pork belly of the sheep world - and let me tell you, I'm more than a bit partial to a mouthful of pork belly. Mmmmmm. I had to specially order it at the butcher, but it's a cheap cut of meat - 2.5 kilos-ish for around $10-15... (I bought a few other things as well, so not sure on the exact figures - but cheap for lamb)

Here's the recipe as memorised by moi. I will be serving it with mash (what else?) and a couple of french sticks. That's it - got to save room for the apple and raspberry crumbles with home-made egg custard for pudding...

Slow cooked lamb breast
5 rashers smoked bacon
3 carrots, diced
2 onions, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
bouquet garni (fresh if you can)
bay leaves
750 ml red wine
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper

Dice the bacon and fry it till golden in a pot. Then add vegetables and add a splash of olive oil. Cook slowly for 5 - 10 minutes, or until softened. (I also added garlic here, it's an addiction) Place the lamb breasts over the vegetables, tucking them in so they cover the veg. Slide the bouquet garni and bay leaves under the lamb.

Heat red wine in a pan till simmering, then pour over top of the lamb. Pour over tinned tomatoes (I could only fit one tin in my pot - I'm going to pop the other one in around about an hour or so into cooking) and bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper then place a piece of baking paper snugly over the top*. Pop on the lid and place in a pre-heated 150 degree oven for at least three hours.

To serve, remove the breast, slice into servings and place on a platter. Pour over the sauce and vegies and serve with mashed potato and a whopping big glass of a good red wine.
* I've seen a few TV chefs do this and apparently it keeps the steam close to the meat. I'd also imagine it would prevent any exposed meat drying out or burning - I'll let you know.

Oh my god, get the irony - a lamb breast recipe by a woman who i ignored because of the whole bralessness thing. Priceless!

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