JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lamb with sundried tomatoes and basil

Here's a recipe for delicious lamb stew I made yesterday in the steam oven I am borrowing from Miele. Eleanor said it reminded her of a Thai red curry (without any spices). Definitely a keeper.

You don't actually need a steam oven to make it, indeed there'd be less washing up if you cooked it on your hob or in a conventional oven. But, for me, the surprise is that you can easily do this type of cooking in a steam oven .... and because the steam oven switches itself off when it's finished, you could put this together quickly in the morning and come home to find dinner ready to re-heat.

Lamb with Sundried Tomatoes and Basil

this is copied from a steam oven recipe supplied by Matt at Forever Better, but you could easily use a casserole dish and just keep on going on the hob

1 tbspn olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
900g lamb, diced
110g sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
1 tbspn dried parsley
25g basil
400ml vegetable stock
3 tbspns flour
seasoning, if required

1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Gently fry one of the crushed cloves
of garlic and the lamb for 5 minutes to thoroughly brown the meat.

2. Meanwhile, place the sundried tomatoes with the second clove of garlic,
parsley, basil and vegetable stock into a blender. Blend to a coarse sauce.

3. Sprinkle the flour over the lamb and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the
sauce to the pan and bring up to the boil. Transfer the lamb into a solid steam
container and cover.

4. Put the container into the Miele steam oven and select Cook Universal,
100ÂșC with a time of 45 minutes. When the cooking is complete, check the
seasoning and adjust with salt and freshly ground black pepper as necessary.

Mostly I've used the steam oven for bottling tomatoes and steaming vegetables, which seem to taste more of themselves than any other way I've ever cooked them. Not unlike a microwave, but easier to use, more versatile, and no need to buy horrible plastic dishes. I also poached pears in wine with vanilla and cinnamon - fab, and an ideal recipe for the steam oven. The watercress soup was less successful, because I couldn't / didn't get the leeks soft enough before adding watercress and stock, so the resulting soup is pitifully thin after passing through a coarse seive.

There are definite advantages to using the steam oven - you programme it in two steps, and then you can leave it, because it switches itself off. I find, though, that it's a bit scientific for me: I'm an intuitive cook, I don't often follow a recipe properly. Part of it is that I'm learning, so obviously have to consult a manual at this stage. But it also requires a precision I cannot manage in my daily cooking.

I've still got a few experiments to carry out: I haven't yet steamed an egg, or defrosted anything. I want to prove some more bread dough, because today's batch hasn't worked out well, but that may be because I'm using a Miele recipe which didn't read right to me and which looks as if it's going to end in rock-hard bread (in which case I'll blitz it for breadcrumbs).

The verdict is - I want one. Because I'd like to bottle a winter's worth of tomatoes. I probably won't use it for conventional cookery, so it's going in the scullery, not the kitchen, and therefore doesn't have to be the built-in model, which will save a fair amount of money.

Thanks to Steph and to Matt at Forever Better for organising the steam oven trial, AND for providing me with everything I needed for yesterday's sample menu.

Related links

V simple method of bottling tomatoes in a steam oven

Other things to do with lamb

Lamb with dates and chocolate

Very easy lamb with olive paste
Nigel Slater's lamb chops
Lamb shanks - good for when you're busy busy busy and have hungry hoards to feed


Ed Bruske said...

I love the looks of that,Joanna.

Beth said...

Looks so comforting. I'll just have to use the plain ol hob!!!

Julie A Carda said...

This sounds really good. I'll use a conventional oven though. Thanks for posting something new with lamb. Not much call for lamb recipes in the Midwest US.