Full of flavour and one of the original one-pot dishes. I like to use the neck fillet, rather than the scrag end and middle neck joints on the bone, which is traditional. I also like to thicken the stock a little by tossing the meat in seasoned flour. Really tender, melt-in-the-mouth lamb, with flavoursome gravy and vegetables topped with tender potatoes.
|2 tbsp||plain flour|
|1kg (2lb 3oz)||neck fillet of lamb, diced into 2cm (¾in) cubes|
|2||celery sticks, sliced|
|3||medium carrots, peeled and sliced|
|1 tbsp||chopped thyme leaves|
|600ml (1 pint)||chicken or lamb stock|
|750g (1¾lb)||floury potatoes (such as Maris Piper), peeled and cut into slices about 1cm (½in) thick|
|salt and freshly ground black pepper|
Cook time: 2-2½ hours, plus resting
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4.
2. Season the flour with salt and pepper and then toss the lamb in the flour. Heat some of the oil in a wide-based flameproof and ovenproof casserole dish with a lid, then fry the lamb on all sides over a high heat for 4–6 minutes until golden. Fry the lamb in batches, adding more oil as needed and removing each batch with a slotted spoon to set aside while you cook the rest.
3. Add a little more oil to the pan, then tip in the onions, celery and carrots and fry over a medium-high heat for 4–5 minutes. Add the bay leaves and thyme and scatter the browned lamb over the top. Pour over the stock and bring to the boil.
4. Reduce the heat and arrange the potatoes on top. Season with salt and pepper as you layer the potato slices, gently pressing down so the liquid rises to cover them.
5. Cover with the lid and carefully transfer to the oven to cook for 1½–2 hours or until the lamb and potatoes are both tender. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6, remove the lid and cook for a further 8–10 minutes or until the potatoes are golden.
6. Allow to stand for 5 minutes and remove the bay leaves before serving with a leafy green vegetable, such as chard or cabbage.
Mary’s Classic Tips:
* Ask your butcher to give you the bones from the filleted neck – perfect for making stock. Roast the bones for a fuller flavour, then cover with water and simmer with herbs and chopped vegetables for an hour. Freeze to use when you next make stew.
* Check the stew after 1½ hours – you don’t want it to dry out, particularly as it will be cooked for another 8–10 minutes.