We had our first snow for this winter and I can’t actually remember the last time it snowed in Nov! We’ve had such mild winters the past few years it’s easy to forget that I’m actually living in Scotland. It’s certainly a change from the never ending heat and humidity of Singapore. For someone who was born and lived in a hot country for the first half of my life, you’d think that the cold would bother me more. In fact, it’s the other way around. I love the cold! Don’t get me wrong, I love sitting outside in the summer sipping on some Pimms while M tends to the BBQ. But Scottish Summers are mild and easy to enjoy.
To heat us up this cold winter’s day, I made some Lamb and Pumpkin Stew. It’s easy to make and if you still have any pumpkins left from halloween, this is the perfect way to use them up. You can also easily substitue the pumpkin for butternut squash or sweet potato. I’ve made many versions of this stew based on what’s in the fridge. That’s one of the perks of stews, the recipe can be easily adapted to accomadate the leftover odds and ends of veg and meat that’s lying in the fridge. Plus it’s an extremely forgiving recipe, doesn’t matter if you run out of bay leaves or forget to put in the tomato puree. It’ll still taste nice even though it’s a little different. It also means that you can comfortably play around with the recipe and still expect a 90% success rate! Why not 100? I’ve seen some of my friends cook…. if you leave the pot on the stove and forget about it and everything is burnt to a crisp, that’s on you!! If you add weird crap that’s lying in the back of your fridge in an unmarked jar and now suddenly everything is ‘fizzy’, that’s on you to!
For this recipe I used diced lamb from Carmichael Estate which I got at the farmer’s market or you can check out their online shop. They also have a facebook page and a farm shop on the estate. I’ve been using Carmichael Estate lamb for years now and the quality of the meat is so good, I rarely buy lamb elsewhere. I’d rather pay that little bit extra and buy meat that I can trace back to the farm, where you will see the animals grazing outside and not locked up in some overcrowded shed.
- 300g dice lamb
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 garlic clove diced
- ½ red pepper diced
- 100 -150g pumpkin cut into rough chunks –no peeling needed
- 1 carrot cut into rough chunks
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbp tomato puree
- 100ml red wine
- 2 tsp flour
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 tbp oil
- Optional: Chilli flakes & mixed herbs
- Heat the oil in a pan that’s large enough to hold all the ingredients.
- Add the onions, red pepper and sauté on medium heat for 2 mins.
- Add the lamb and let it pan fry for 2-3 mins.
- Now sprinkle the flour over the lamb and mix everything well. This stops any flour lumps from forming and also helps thicken the sauce. If you have a gluten allergy, either use gluten free flour or some ground almonds.
- Add the red wine and let it boil away till its reduced to half the volume.
- Now throw in all the other ingredients – carrots, garlic, pumpkin, tomato puree, bay leaves (chili flakes and herbs as well if you are using it).
- Give everything a good stir and season with about 1 tsp salt and as much pepper as you want. Or leave the pepper out if you don’t like it. I put in a bit of black pepper.
- Now pour enough water to just cover the ingredients and turn the heat down.
- Allow it to softly bubble away making sure to check it every 30mins by giving it a good stir. If the heat is too high, there’s not going to be enough liquid for the meat to cook, so make sure it’s on a low setting.
- Once the meat is tender and the sauce has reduced to the thickness of your liking, you’re ready to check and adjust the salt level (should take about 90 mins on a slow heat). You will probably need to add a bit of salt.
- I can’t stress enough the importance of checking it regularly. If it looks like there’s not enough liquid, add some water. If the meat is tender but there’s too much liquid, strain the liquid into another pot and cook on high till it’s thickened to your liking.
- You can also put everything into a slow cooker (at step 8) and leave it on the lowest setting over night.
I served it with potato croquettes. Sometimes I have it with a big bit of crusty bread with lashings of butter(gotta be butter!) or some couscous however, more often than not, I’ve ate half of what’s in my bowl before I’ve even gotten to the table. I’m too impatient, that also explains why my pictures aren’t great. I want to take the picture as quick as possible because I can’t wait to dig in! I leave you with a picture of M taking a pic of me taking a pic for my mum!