Last week I spoke about Spring having finally arrived, the weather getting warmer and the sun making an appearance…. well my happiness was sadly very short-lived as soon after that post was published the weather took a turn for the worse and it has been cold, wet, windy and miserable since then. So much for craving light, summery salads and barbecue foods; I have gone back to cooking hearty soups, stews and comfort foods such as this slow cooked lamb Rogan Josh which I served with rice and some quick, flaky roti flatbreads.
Red Tractor’s Simply Beef and Lamb have launched a #LivePeasant campaign, inspired by the current ‘Peasant Food’ trend; it encourages every day, at home cooks and families to embrace a more simple, rustic approach to cooking and to rediscover traditional cooking techniques from around the world that are easy, warming and hearty. By slow cooking inexpensive cuts of beef and lamb, you can transform even the cheapest meat into tender, melt in the mouth, delicious, hearty meals which can be prepared in advance and left to cook so that they are ready and waiting for you. When choosing your meat, whether its beef or lamb you are using, make sure that you look out for a quality mark like the Red Tractor logo which guarantees the meat you are buying is farm assured.
I used some very cheap frozen diced lamb for this Rogan Josh and by first browning the meat, then very gently simmering it for nearly three hours it became perfectly soft and full of flavour. I cooked it on the hob, but I think this recipe would also work well in a slow cooker; to do so I would go through the initial steps of browning the meat and cooking the onion and spices, then tip everything except the yoghurt into the slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours, add the yoghurt, turn the heat up to high and cook for a further 30 minutes.
I know that the addition of vegetables to a lamb Rogan Josh is not traditional, but it does turn it into more of an all-in-one meal so that you don’t need to make an extra vegetable side-dish; meaning that this is a really easy, healthy one-pot (apart from the rice) dish that creates minimal washing up (always a bonus!). It is also perfect for cooking in advance and then reheating when needed.
I made some really easy, quick, flaky roti to serve alongside; which are great for when you want bread but are short on time, as they don’t need any resting/rising time, take less than five minutes to knead and only about four minutes to cook in a pan. There is quite a lot of rolling involved – the flakiness is achieved by rolling a ball of dough out as thinly as you can, brushing it with melted butter, rolling it up, shaping it into a coil and rolling it out again. This creates lots of layers of dough separated by butter which makes for a delicious, crisp, flaky, pull-apart flatbread. It sounds like quite a lot of work but really doesn’t take long at all; I like to get a system going whereby I have one flatbread cooking while I am shaping the next; I do this while the rice is cooking so that everything is ready at the same time (the Rogan Josh can be cooked in advance); but of course shop-bought naan breads would also be just as good.
- 450g/1lb lean lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 2.5cm/1 inch cubes
- 2tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cardamom pods, bruised
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 400g (14oz) tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 200ml (1/2 + ⅓ cup) lamb stock
- 1tsp sugar
- 100ml (scant ½ cup) natural yoghurt
- 300g (10.5oz) new potatoes, cut into chunks
- 250g (9oz) cauliflower, cut into small florets
- salt to taste
- rice, coriander and extra yoghurt, to serve
- 300g (2 + ½ cups) strong white bread flour
- ½ tsp salt
- about 240ml (1 cup) cold water
- 50g (1/4 cup) butter or ghee, melted
- vegetable oil for frying
- Heat 1tbsp of the oil in a heatproof casserole dish over a medium heat and brown the meat in a couple of batches, spoon into a bowl and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in the same pan over a low heat and add the onion, garlic, ginger and spices; fry gently for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, stock and sugar and tip the meat back into the dish along with any juices.
- Bring up to the boil, then turn the heat down as low as it goes, cover and leave to cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Add the yoghurt, potatoes and cauliflower, season to taste with salt, re-cover the dish and leave to cook for a further 30-45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Serve with white rice, roti or naan bread, extra yoghurt and chopped coriander.
- Place the flour and salt in a large bowl, gradually stir in the water until you have a slightly sticky dough, you may not need to use all of the water. Knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic then divide into 8 equal pieces.
- Place a heavy bottomed frying pan over a medium heat and brush with a little vegetable oil.
- Shape each piece into a ball, roll the ball out on a lightly floured surface as thin as you can get it without it tearing, it doesn't matter if it doesn't stay circular. Brush with melted butter then roll it up tightly, as if you were making teeny tiny cinnamon rolls.
- Shape the roll into a coil, tuck the end under, flatten slightly with your hand then roll it out again into an approx 17cm circle. Cook in the hot pan for a couple of minutes per side until puffed and golden; place on a plate and cover with a clean tea towel to help keep it soft. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
This post is sponsored by Red Tractor Beef & Lamb as part of their #LivePeasant campaign. All views expressed are my own.