I have been cooking up a bit of a storm lately I think, and will be popping it all up over the next few days if I can find the time of course! Not all from Giada though but that’s ok, it is the cooking that I am enjoying I am still working through the cookbook slowly though. This entry is from Giada’s Kitchen – New Italian Favourites though.
I did a bit of an adaptation thing with the recipe though. What I went with was the Lamb Ragu with Mint. Only mine was sans the mint! Let me explain. I had an urge of late, to be making some pastry I like pastry. It may not be my friend so to speak when it comes to the weight loss that I may be wishing to achieve, however I am pretty happy with a small sample. But to make a small sample, it requires me too make pastry and you can’t really do it in small amounts can you? So I decided to make a pie with the ragu as filling.
Now I didn’t make any old pastry, I wanted to do something a little different for me, a different kind of pastry one I’d not done ever. Come to think of it I’m not really good at pastry which is why I’m trying! So I “stole” this recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess from Nigella’s Steak and Kidney Pudding – the suet crust in fact. And for something a little more different, I steamed it in the slow cooker!
So in terms of what I think about the recipes…..I really liked the suet crust. I could have rolled it out a little thinner; I must admit that in fairness. I didn’t have a large enough pudding basin for my pastry and I just wanted to do it! Plus since I like pastry? The Husband even enjoyed it, just did say that it would’ve been greater if it had been thinner.
The Lamb Ragu….I was really excited about the recipe to begin with. But, once it was completed whilst it was tasty. And I enjoyed it, it seemed to lack the punch I was expecting from it in terms of flavour. I’d want to add some more herbs to it I think. Give it a bit more flavour. But, it’s definitely a good base! Maybe it was just because I was putting it with pastry – it wasn’t a strong enough flavour to cut through the pastry. Maybe if the pastry had been thinner? Who knows…….but I will give it another burl as a ragu sometime.
2T olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
680g lamb mince
½ t salt
¼ t black pepper
1 cup red wine
2 cups Marina Sauce
½ cup olive oil
2 small onions
2 minced garlic cloves
2 celery sticks
½ t salt
½ t black pepper
2 cans of crushed tomato
2 bay leaves
350g SR Flour
½ t salt
½ t English mustard powder
Make the Marina Sauce. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the celery, carrots, and salt and pepper. Sauté until all are soft. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over a low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove the bay leaves and discard.
Warm the olive oil in a large pan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until tender. Add the lamb, salt and pepper. Cook until the meat breaks down and is browned and all the juice is evaporated. Add the wine, scraping up any brown bits from the pan. Simmer until the wine is reduced by half. Then add the marina sauce and simmer over a low heat until the flavours blend and the sauce reduces slightly. Recipe suggested 10 minutes, but I did mine for a bit longer.
Remove from heat and cool whilst making the Suet Crust.
Mix the flour, salt, suet and powder in a large bowl. Then stirring with a wooden spoon, add enough cold water to make a firm dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a large circle about 5mm thick and cut away a ¼ segment from the circle to use for the lid. Ease the circle into a world buttered pudding basin with about a 3cm over hang.
Spoon the cold lamb ragu into the bowl, not letting it come up to higher then 2cm from the rim. Roll out the other segment into a small circle to fit the top and seal it with the overhanging edges. Clip on the lid, and place in the slow cooker. Cook for 3 hours on high, or 5 hours on low.