Friday, August 07, 2009

frugal friday

Our in-laws came for dinner last night and we unintentionally had the most frugal and delicious meal ever. It all came about because my daughter and I are addicted to Food Safari, which is screening every night on Lifestyle Food - yay, a 'replacement' for MasterChef.

So, on Tuesday and Wednesday nights Maeve brightened two hearts by having two nights focusing on French cuisine - our fave. One dish that tickled my fancy was lamb navarin - made with big chunks of lamb shoulder on the bone. I decided to serve that up with mashed potato and a baguette to mop up the sauce - and followed it with lemon delicious pud with whipped cream. All up cost? I reckon about $25 for four adults and one child. Bargain.

Firstly I asked my butcher to chop up around 1.2 kilos of lamb shoulder, with the bones {which he did unblinkingly - he's used to me now} and, you know how expensive lamb is? Guess how much 1.2 kilos of lamb shoulder cost? $12! Yes, twelve dollars!!!

Here's the recipe - it's damned delicious
Ask for 1.2 kilos of lamb shoulder on the bone, chopped into fist-sized chunks {5cm-ish}
1 brown onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
4 big roma tomatoes, diced
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 turnip, chopped
one bunch baby carrots
8 eschallots, peeled and left whole
butter and oil
a few sprigs of thyme
a couple of bay leaves
a few sprigs of rosemary
salt and pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas

Brown lamb in melted butter, with a splash of oil, till caramel in colour, and set aside. Add a wee bit more butter and add onions and carrots and saute over low heat till soft {10 mins}. Toss meat back in and sprinkle flour over the mix, stir and cook for around 2 mins. Throw in herbs, pour over white wine and then add chicken stock and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and pop in a 160 degree oven for 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, throw a few spoonfuls of sugar into a small saucepan, add a knob of butter and melt. Then throw in your shallots and cook till caramelised, shaking the pan often - probably for around 10 minutes. Add some white wine if the sauce needs thickening.

Then, add the diced turnip and baby carrots, stir and return to oven.

Five minutes before serving, add the caramelised shallots and frozen peas and add more salt and pepper to taste. By now my meat had fallen from the bone, so I fished around and removed the bones from the dish - digging out any marrow and adding it to the pot. I tasted, fell over in bliss, added a wee bit more pepper and salt, popped the lid on and placed it in the oven for 5 more minutes.

I served it with creamy mash and wow, delicious. Slightly sweet from the caramelised shallots an turnips, rich, soft meat, and the perfect way to use new summer veg and the remainder of the winter veg.

Those peasants really knew how to eat!

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