Ragout of Lamb
Neck of lamb is less expensive than many other cuts and, because of the bones, always gives the maximum amount of flavour. This, I think, is an excellent summer casserole.
This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course and Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course.
| 2 lb (900 g) neck of lamb, either middle neck or scrag end or a mixture of both|
| 1 tablespoon oil|
| 2 medium onions, roughly chopped|
| 2 cloves garlic, crushed|
| 1 heaped tablespoon flour|
| 1 sprig fresh thyme |
| 1 bay leaf|
| 12 oz (350 g) new potatoes, scraped|
| 4 medium tomatoes, skinned|
| salt and freshly milled black pepper |
| Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C).|
First trim any excess fat from the meat, wipe each piece and season it with salt and freshly milled black pepper.
Then heat the oil in a largeish flameproof casserole, and brown the meat a few pieces at a time. When they're nicely brown, transfer them to a plate, using a draining spoon.
Now gently fry the onions in the fat left in the pan – this will take about 10 minutes or so. Then, when the onions are softened and browned a little bit round the edges, add the garlic.
Next stir in the flour, to soak up the juices, and gradually pour in 1 pint (570 ml) boiling water, stirring to make a sort of gravy. When simmering point is reached, return the pieces of meat to the casserole and add the thyme, bay leaf and more seasoning – it won't look much at this point, but not to worry.
As soon as it comes back to simmering point, put the lid on and transfer the casserole to the oven.
Cook it for about an hour, then tilt the casserole and spoon off any visible fat (or mop it with absorbent kitchen paper) before adding the scraped potatoes and skinned tomatoes.
Put the lid back on and return to the oven to cook for a further 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked.