Thursday, 7 June 2012

Rainy, Recession Dishes for a Wintery Summer

Sometimes when I am shopping in my local supermarket I come across meat at a really reduced price that I can't resist.  Often they are cuts I would never normally buy so I challenge myself to try and make something tasty with them.

I love lamb but hate the the taste of mutton and a few times I have been caught out buying mutton dressed as lamb so to speak.

I almost never buy shoulder chops as I prefer loin.  But the other day I came across a packet of 4 big lamb shoulder chops at a substantially reduced price and as it was the weekend of my Seven Week Odyssey (diet) I decided to try and make a curry but reducing the calories.

The curry paste was made up as follows:
1 large onion finely chopped or buzzed in a blender preferably with 2 fat cloves of garlic and a piece of ginger the size of your thumb.  Add a good pinch of salt and a tablespoon of sunflower oil.

Remove this mix and add to the blender 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds, cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon of fennel, mustard seeds, nigella seeds and fenugreek.  Buzz these until crushed and add to the onion mix above.

Mix in 1 teaspoon of turmeric, chilli powder (more if you like it spicy), ground cumin, coriander, garam masala, 5 cloves, 2 bay leaves, 2 curry leaves, 5 cardamon pods and a small piece of cinnamon stick.  I also add a red chilli chopped with the seeds.


Trim excess fat off the meat and spread the paste on both sides of the chops and leave overnight or at least 3 hours covered loosely with cling film in fridge.

Scrape the paste off the meat and reserve. Sear the chops on a hot pan and set aside. Add the paste to the pan and stir for a few minutes as heating the spices releases the flavours.

Add the meat back into the spice paste and just cover with water.  

Simmer for approximately an hour.


When the meat has become tender, add 1 sachet of creamed coconut.  When adding it stir continuously to prevent it splitting.  The sauce will thicken. Just before serving add a good handful of finely chopped spinach.


I either serve with a small portion of basmati rice and/or a naan bread and some poppadoms cooked in the microwave.

All curries are far nicer cooked with meat on the bone and also left overnight before serving.  Nigella seeds are available in Sainsburys in Newry or Asia Market, Drury St.                                                               


Tags: curry, lamb shoulder chops, creamed coconut

Jarret de Porc

Jarret de porc also know as a pork hock i.e. a hock that has not been brined.  I bought one from my local butcher weighing 1kg for €1.

A hock this size feeds two people adequately so it is really economical.

Marinate the hock overnight with 500ml of dry cider or a craft beer (O'Hara's ale).  Add some chopped onion, celery, carrot and a bay leaf to the marinade.

Next day strain off the marinate and place in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum that rises to the top and reserve the skimmed liquid.


Fry off more veg of your choice (carrot, celery, onion, garlic and some fresh herbs such as thyme and sage) and transfer to a casserole with the skimmed cider/beer.  Pat the hock dry and sear it on a hot pan.  Place it in the pot.  Add 150ml of chicken or veal stock, season and place in oven for 2-3 hours or until the meat falls off the bone.













Tags: jarret de porc, pork hock, O'Haras