The Italians seem to have stolen my heart. Or, at least, my kitchen. Everything I cook at the moment seems to be from Rachel Roddy or Giorgio Locatelli and, now, here is another Italian-inspired wonder. Don’t let the Michelin-starred name put you off; this is as straightforward as they come and, like the beef stew I wrote about last year, once you’ve tried it you’ll want to repeat it. The simplicity of the recipe and ingredients is misleading; it tastes as if you’ve spent days on it, not a few hours.
The suggested main ingredient, scrag-end fillet, is not that easy to find so the first time I made it I used bone-in scrag-end. That was a, shall we say, crunchy mistake so, unless your butcher can find you the filleted version, stick to neck which is more widely available. Other than that, everything else is storecupboard-friendly, the whole thing cooks in one pot and it takes a couple of hours. And, since the temperature is expected to drop by nine degrees overnight, this is going to be perfect for this weekend. All you need with it is some mash.
Angela Hartnett’s lamb ragoût with peas (adapted from Delicious magazine)
Makes enough for 4
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
frozen peas, 300g
onions, 2 medium
garlic cloves, 5
plain flour, a pinch
tomato purée, 1 tsp
tinned tomatoes, 400g
salt and black pepper
lamb neck fillet, 1kg
celery sticks, 2
flat-leaf parsley, a small handful
1. Put the peas into a bowl or sieve and leave to defrost (if I forget this step then I just put them in boiling water for a minute or two before I need them).
2. Cut the lamb into 2-3cm pieces and season with salt and pepper.
3. Finely chop the onions and celery then crush the garlic. Chop the parsley.
4. Heat a little olive oil in a large pan (big and deep enough to hold the stew) then brown the lamb on all sides. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and leave to one side then drain away any excess fat.
5. Add the onions and celery to the same pan and cook until softening and starting to colour. Stir in the garlic and flour, cook for another minute then stir in the tomato purée and cook for another 3 minutes (I tend to keep stirring at this point, because it’s getting drier and may catch; if it seems too dry add a tad more oil).
6. Return the lamb to the pan, add enough water just to cover then simmer gently for about 90 minutes.
7. Stir in the tinned tomatoes and cook for another 30 minutes.
8. Once the lamb is fall-apart tender, stir in the peas. Cook for about 3-4 minutes more. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.