Moroccan neck of lamb, cauliflower puree,
couscous & cauliflower florets.
I chose this dish as I feel neck of lamb is a seriously under-rated cut and takes well to a heavy hit of dry spicing. Cauliflower (like the lamb) is a great spring ingredient, is very versatile and reasonably priced: I picked up two at the Farmer’s market in Partick for £1.30. This is great dinner-part material as the meat can’t really be overcooked and the accompaniments are really easy to assemble.
- Marinade the lamb the night before cooking; I used cumin, fennel and coriander seeds. Mix the seeds in a mortar and pestle and cover the lamb with a little oil, wrap tightly and set in fridge.
- Season the lamb and sear in a pan for around 5 minutes, ensuring the meat is well-coloured before de-glazing with red wine and chicken stock. Place in oven at 180 degrees for at least two hours.
- For the puree, separate the cauliflower into florets and sauté in butter and oil for a couple of minutes. Once they are slightly browned add about 300ml of whole milk (or until the cauliflower is immersed) and place to a low boil for about 8-10 minutes. When soft, add to blender with about 200g of butter and a 100ml double cream, season to taste.
- Place a cup full of couscous into a bowl with 1 ¾ cups of hot water, cover and leave for five minutes, stir with fork then add herbage—parsley, mint—plus a glug of olive oil and half a lemon. While the couscous is cooking, finely chop hazelnuts and toast on a dry pan.
- Once the lamb has cooked for the requisite time—try the spoon test, if it gives after a gentle press then it’s sufficiently braised. Take it off the oven and roll in the toasted hazelnuts. Your cooking liquor should be ideal for a little drizzle of sauce: if not, reduce slightly until it’s the right consistency.
- Assemble dish, starting with the couscous, lamb, and puree. For garnish, I parboiled a handful of cauliflower florets and sautéed them quickly.
750g neck of lamb (available at most butchers and supermarkets)
Cup of couscous
200ml red wine
200ml chicken stock
100ml double cream