Tag Archives: one-pot

Spring lamb and vegetables – one pot meal just as I like them!

1 Dec

Here is another one pot meal, great for when you are busy, just leave it in the oven to take care of itself!  I love lamb, especially when it is falling off the bones and is meltingly tender.  My husband, however, hates fat so I have to be really careful when I choose the cut of meat.  As this is cooked slowly in the oven I needed a tougher cut of meat so I finally chose lamb shanks.  I can remember when you could buy a lamb shank for about a pound.  That was before the TV Cooks made it popular.  Now they sell for about £4 each!

I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the various cuts of lamb and how they should be cooked.

Lamb Primal Cuts: Leg, Loin, Rib, Breast and More

  • For roasts, the best cuts include leg, breast, best end of neck (also known as rack of lamb), shoulder, saddle, rump and loin.  
  • For quick cooking, choose fillet, chump chops, loin chops, leg steaks, best end cutlets and butterflied leg.
  • For slow cooking, leg, shoulder, shank, neck and chump chops are among the best options.
  • Lamb is also available minced (good for pies and burgers) and you can also buy lamb offal (mainly the kidneys and liver but also, less commonly, the heart and the sweetbreads), which is quick to cook, cheap and nutritious.
  • When choosing any cut of lamb, look for firm, fine-grained meat with a velvety texture; it should be moist, rather than dry or slimy. Any fat on the outside of the lamb should be white (fat that is yellow might well be rancid). Properly hung lamb should have a deep red, rather than bright red colour, although very young lamb will be paler than older lamb.

Here is the recipe.  It is based on one I found in a Good Food Magazine that I have adapted to suit our tastes.  Here is a link to their website if you want to see the original recipe.


Spring lamb and vegetable one-pot                                     Serves 2

  • Olive oil
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and halved
  • 200g new potatoes, peeled and left whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sprig thyme
  • 75g frozen peas
  • handful Dwarf Beans, topped and tailed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 lamb stock cube
  • Salt and black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 3.
  2. Dry the lamb shanks on kitchen paper.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle a little olive oil into a skillet or heat proof shallow casserole.  Brown the shanks on all sides over a high heat. 
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, garlic and carrots and cook for a few minutes.  Add the carrots and cook for a few minutes more. 
  4. Pour in sufficient water to come half way up the shanks.  Crumble in the stock cube.  Add the herbs and the potatoes and bring to the boil.  Cover and transfer to the oven for 1.5 hours or until the lamb is tender and the vegetables are cooked.  Remove from oven.
  5. Blanch the beans in boiling water for 4 minutes.  Drain and add to the lamb and vegetables with the peas.  Return to the oven for 10 minutes or until everything has heated through.  Serve.

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One-pan roast duck – just add seasonal vegetables for a great meal.

24 Jun

I first ate duck fairly late in life, probably when I was in my late 30’s.  I can’t even remember people talking about actually eating duck when I was young and my only thoughts on the subject were that they lived in the River Gardens in Derby and loved to eat stale bread.  Thinking back, my first experience of eating duck had to be as a starter in a Chinese meal when on holiday.  It must have been on holiday as that was the only time I ate in a Chinese restaurant.  There were a couple of takeaways in the small town where I lived but nowhere to actually sit and eat a meal.  My first taste was a revelation!  Eaten with Hoisin sauce, celery and onions, wrapped in a small pancake.  Heaven!  The first time I cooked duck was one Christmas.  Mum and Dad were coming for their Christmas dinner and, as with every other year, they usually stayed for a few days.  I had cooked a traditional turkey dinner for Christmas Day (although I think I had drank too much wine with the neighbours and forgot to make the gravy!).  I knew Dad loved duck so I had bought two small ducks from the butcher to eat on Boxing Day.  My intention was to make the Chinese pancake recipe, a bit adventurous as, in those days, I was a novice to cooking anything other than meat and two veg meals.  I remember the recipe saying the duck skin had to be completely dry so that it crisped up during cooking.  We had limited kitchen facilities at the time so I put the ducks, unwrapped, in the greenhouse, secured the door and left them for 24 hours.  Just to reassure my friends who live in warmer climates, this was not risky as the temperature in the greenhouse was about 2 degrees C and not an insect in sight.  I made my own pancakes and even my own Hoisin sauce and the finished meal was fantastic.  I found the recipe in a Chinese cooking book that I gave away at some point.  Isn’t it typical that since then I have never found a recipe that comes up to the same standard.  I wonder where that book is now.

Nowadays we eat duck fairly regularly.  As there are just two of us I usually buy a couple of duck breasts rather than a whole bird.  This recipe, however, uses duck legs.  I was pleasantly surprised how much meat there was on the legs I bought.  I doubt I will start replacing the breasts with legs for most of my recipes but, for this one, they were perfect.  This recipe is based on one of Janet Allen’s, a Dublin born cook who has written some fantastic cookbooks.

One-pan roast duck                      Serves 2 (easily doubled)

  • 2 duck legs, skin left on
  • 2 onions, cut into wedges
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 small turnips, peeled and cut into small cubes (about the size of a thumb nail)
  • 4 medium potatoes (floury eg King Edwards or Maris Piper) cut into small cubes as above
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & black pepper 
  1. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan that has a lid.  Fry the duck breasts, skin side down, over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the skin is browned and going crispy.  Surround the duck with the onion and rosemary while it is browning.
  2. Add the potatoes and turnip, season and mix to coat all the vegetables in the fat.  Cover and transfer the dish to a preheated oven 180C/160Cfan/gas 5 for 75 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and continue cooking in the oven for a further 15 minutes or until the duck skin is crispy and the vegetables are tender.  Serve with seasonal green vegetables.

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