Slow Cooked Lamb Neck with Saffron & Cardamom
Lamb neck is a tough and relatively inexpensive cut of meat, but is delicious when slow cooked in a stew or made as a filling for a pie. In this recipe, I slow roasted the necks with cardamom and saffron until tender and slightly sticky and served on soft polenta with a date and almond chutney. I would also serve these roast with a korma-style sauce, on basmati rice.
6 slices lamb neck, each about 1-1.5 cm thick
4 cardamom pods, bashed slightly
1/4 t saffron strands
1/2 cup warm water plus extra
3 T red wine vinegar
1/2 red c hilli, sliced
1 head of garlic, sliced in half across the width
1. Add the saffron and cardamom to the water in a cup and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and salt, mix.
2. Heat oven to 140 degrees Celsius. Use enough heavy duty foil to create a sturdy parcel, that you will wrap over the lamb and the marinade. Place foil nest in a heavy based roasting tin or a stoneware baking dish.
3. Place the lamb necks and garlic in the foil, pour over the marinade, with extra salt flakes. Seal the foil tightly, so that the liquid remains inside. Make a small incision with a sharp knife. Bake for an hour.
4. Open parcel carefully and turn lamb necks over. Seal again and bake for a further hour.
5. Remove foil and bake until the liquid evaporates, another 40 minutes- use the fan setting if necessary. If your lamb is still tough, moisten with water and cook until tender, keep an eye on it every 10 minutes at this stage.
Serve with mashed potato or polenta, made according to the package directions. I squeezed in half of the soft, sweet roasted garlic into the polenta and mixed well.
For the Date and Almond Chutney
1 medium red onion, super finely diced
1 T olive oil
6-8 fresh dates (I used Medjool), de-piped and cut into thin strips lengthwise.
40 g blanched whole almonds, toasted in a dry pan
3/4 cup orange juice
salt, to taste
1. Bash almonds in a mortar and pestle, with some pieces whole and others smaller.
2. Fry onions in pan with olive oil on medium-high heat until soft and starting to brown. Stir frequently.
3. Add dates, orange juice a few tablespoons at a time, stirring.
4. Add salt, cook for 2 minutes. The juice evaporates quickly. Remove from heat and serve on the lamb once cooled down a little.