Slam in the lamb for delicious meals
HE WAS on a mission to demonstrate that barbecues can be about more than just burgers and buns, so what better platform than NorthSheep 2017?
Preaching to the converted, sure, but then there was no argument from the 7000plus visitors when Simon Hicks told them to 'slam in the lamb'.
The head chef from Blanchland's Lord Crewe Arms and one of his comrades-in-arms, chef Stephanie Moon, who appears at intervals on the BBC's Great British Menu, had devised a number of finger-lickin' good recipes to teach them how during the newly-instituted Festival of Lamb.
Simon himself hails from the wine-growing Barossa Valley area of south Australia and grew up surrounded by sheep.
"As a result, sheep meat was something I ate a lot of as a child," he said, "so I've got fond memories of family meals as well.
"My mum also served us mutton, so we learned to eat it in many different ways.
"It's a bit of a shame these days, because lamb is regarded as a bit more luxurious. And then the supermarket shelves are stocked with New Zealand lamb - what's that about!"
He actually prefers lamb cold ("I love it"), sandwiched with a dollop of mint sauce, for a supper-time treat.
One of the messages he was keen to get over, and this certainly resonated with what some of the speakers were saying at NorthSheep, and that was more needs to be made of all elements of a sheep carcass.
"You can do a lot with shoulder and belly of lamb," he said. "The neck is also a meat that doesn't get used enough these days and it should be.
"I take a leaf out of the Italians' book - they're very good at showing that it's not all about the prime cuts."
Serve with a toasted wrap and some crunchy cucumber with natural yoghurt and fresh shredded mint.
600 g lamb shoulder on the bone
1/2 tablespoon ground fennel
1/2 tablespoon caraway seeds
3 caps of red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoons Hendo's relish
200 g pomegranate molasses
1 whole garlic split I half and the cloves crumbled in remove out skin but leave inner skin on
1 white onion peeled and roughly chopped
1 lime quartered leave skin on
1 can Italian tomatoes 400 grams - Once empty fill up twice with cold water and Pour onto the Deep tray
Make the sauce: Dice two inches of cucumber and add three sprigs of finely chopped mint leaves (discard the stems) and a pinch of salt.
Place the vegetables in a deep tray, stir in the molasses and place the lamb on top. Cover with tin foil twice to create a tight seal, and bake for five hours at 160 degrees until soft.
The meat will fall off the bone. Shred with two forks, pulling the meat to allow the sticky sauce to permeate. Discard all the bits, but keep the sticky glaze.
Taste and correct the sauce perhaps with a little salt.
4 lambs tongues
1 gem lettuce
½ cup of garden peas (frozen is fine)
½ cup of broad beans
2 diced shallots
150mls of rape seed oil
30mls of chardonnay vinegar
4 leaves of tarragon
Soft herbs for garnish
For the tongues: Boil in a pan of salted water until tender then remove from the pan and place on a tray to cool down for about five minutes.
Wearing gloves, skin the tongues and put in the fridge to chill. Slice them when ready to grill.
For the pea garnish: mix together boiled peas, broad beans in a bowl and at the last minute add the dressing.
For the dressing: Dice two shallots and just cover with rapeseed oil and on a low heat cook until tender. Add a splash of good quality vinegar to the chilled shallot mixture and ½ a tsp of chopped tarragon, salt and pepper and whisk well. Don't worry if the mixture separates - dressings don’t always need to be smooth.
Grilling: Slice the lamb tongue on the angle about 1cm thick place in a bowl with quarter cut baby gem lettuce, drizzle with rape seed oil, salt and pepper and on a very hot BBQ grill each side of the tongue and lettuce for about a minute each side or until you have good markings, remember the tongue is already cooked so you are just getting a good bar mark and adding a slight BBQ flavour.
To assemble: Add the grilled lettuce and tongue into the bowl which contains the peas and beans and toss thoroughly place into a bowl and its ready to go.
400 g British lamb mince
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 green pepper
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 peeled and chopped red onions (quite small)
1 green chilli
2 tablespoons tomato purée
4 large chopped ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
For the garnish:
1 lime cut into wedges
1 small carton of sour cream
1 ripe avocado (scoop out the ripe flesh, add freshly squeezed lime and mix with a little chilli)
Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil. Add the chilli, tomato puree, peppers and the minced lamb and stir.
Add the fresh tomatos and paprika and cook with 200 ml water. The tomatoes should begin to collapse into the mince. The liquid should start to evaporate and the lamb mince will soon be cooked.
This whole process should take about 20 mins on a medium heat in a large frying pan so the liquid evaporates quickly.
Serve with soured cream, and crushed avocado mixed with fresh lime, and wedges of fresh lime.