Lamb ragu with yoghurt topping

Somehow, I managed to lose the photo of this great dinner party dish and had completely forgotten about it ANYWAY thanks to my brilliant friend Hattie (of and this book Hattie’s book among other things) I have remembered it, because brilliantly she just asked me for the recipe, then said actually come and join the dinner party tonight and eat it with us, which is a brilliant turn of events.
Serves 5-6
1kg lamb shoulder, boned and diced
2 onions finely chopped
4 garlic cloves
Carrot and celery – maybe one or two sticks of each
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp sea salt (minimum)
1 tsp herbes de provence
1 tsp/50 grinds black pepper
1 tsp chilli flakes
a large glass of red wine
1 litre chicken or veg stock
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar SORRY or honey or something
400g orzo pasta/any squiggly pasta if you can’t get it
most of a big pot of Greek yoghurt
zest of a lemon (optional)
1. Heat a frying pan to super hot with plenty of olive oil, and season the lamb with salt and pepper then fry off the lamb in batches until browned on all sides. Don’t do it all at once or you’ll just stew the lamb and it won’t crisp – the browning is important because that’s where a lot of flavour comes in.
2. Then put some more olive oil into a big casserole dish, add the lamb, then the onions, carrot and celery and cook for another five minutes, stirring so that everything cooks evenly.
3. Add the garlic, cinnamon sticks, chilli flakes, black pepper, sea salt and herbes de provence and then cook for another minute or two.
4. Add the wine, and bubble down for a couple of minutes to cook off the alcohol, then add the chopped toms and half the stock and the honey. Bubble for 1.5 hours until the meat is super tender. Check it after half an hour,stir, then again 30 mins later and if it needs the other half of the stock, add it in then.
5. Heat the oven to 1800C. Take out the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks, check the seasoning and add more salt if you need, then add the orzo. Stir well and cook it in the oven for 20 minutes. Then take the casserole out of the oven and turn it up to 200C. Spread the Greek yoghurt on top, and bake for 10 minutes.
6. Chop the coriander and sprinkle it on top, then zest the lemon and sprinkle that on too – it adds a lovely freshness. I have actually now thought of adding some lemon zest after removing the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks, before adding the orzo… but having not tested it, I leave that up to you. Serve with a big green salad, maybe some green beans too if you’re feeling up to it.
UPDATE:. Hattie tried adding the lemon zest along with the pasta/orzo and it worked REALLY well so definitely do that.

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