BEETROOT SOUP WITH HORSERADISH CREAM (SERVES 4)
You don't need to use the new season's spring lamb for this dish - you may be able to find locally produced hogget or mutton (1-3 year old sheep) which will give you real depth of flavour and can be just as tender.
1kg / 2½ lbs stewing lamb (neck or shoulder) cut into cubes
1 tblsp sweet (mild) paprika
salt and black pepper
3-4 tblsps vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
200g / 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
100ml / 3½ floz water
1 tsp horseradish sauce
small sprig rosemary, finely chopped
2 - 3 sage leaves, shredded
a few mint leaves, shredded (optional)
juice (approx.100ml) & pared zest of one large orange
300ml / 10 floz sour cream or crème fraîche
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / Gas 4 Put the lamb in a large bowl. Sprinkle over the paprika and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to coat the lamb. Heat half the oil in an ovenproof pan and brown the lamb, in batches. Put to one side. Heat the remaining oil and gently fry the onion and mushrooms until soft but not brown. Return the lamb to the pan with the onions and mushrooms then stir in the water, horseradish, herbs, orange juice and half of the orange zest. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook in the pre-heated oven for 1-1½ hours or until lamb is tender. When the lamb is tender, check the seasoning adding more salt and pepper if needed. Stir in two-thirds of the soured cream or crème fraîche, and sprinkle over the remaining orange zest. Serve with rice or cous-cous and the reserved soured cream or crème fraîche.
Recipe: Brigitte Dowling
RED ONION CHILLI MARMALADE (Makes 1 jar)
This sweet savoury relish is wonderful served with cheese or pâté but also goes well with humble bangers and mash, a burger and bun or even a fillet steak. Stored in a jar and refrigerated, it will keep well for a month or more.
450g / 1lb red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 tblsps olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
½ red chilli, chopped or a pinch of chilli flakes
5 tblsps balsamic vinegar
juice of one orange or 5 tblsps orange juice
2 tblsps soft brown sugar
½ tsp salt
black pepper, to taste
Gently heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the onions, chilli and garlic and cook slowly for about 20 minutes. They must not brown but should turn soft and translucent. If the onions are in danger of browning, stir in a tablespoon of water and continue cooking gently.
Add the balsamic vinegar, orange juice and brown sugar and continue to cook for a further 15 - 20 minutes or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and cook for a little longer, making sure that the marmalade does not catch. Transfer the mixture to a clean, warm jam jar. Cover and store in a cool place.