Moroccan neck of Lamb

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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.

Ingredients:

750g neck of lamb (available at most butchers and supermarkets)

Cup of couscous

Two cauliflowers

Fennel seeds

Coriander seeds

Cumin seeds

250g butter

200ml red wine

200ml chicken stock

Parsley

Mint

Lemon

Hazelnuts

100ml double cream