The sun is shining, the orchard is full of daffodils, I feel like something light and seasonal to eat — and my husband has defrosted a packet of neck of lamb.
I’m very fond of Lancashire Hotpot and Irish Stew but they feel a bit heavy-going when I’m full of the joys of Spring so I’m cooking a Spanish-influenced dish instead, containing the usual lamb and potatoes but also fresh herbs, spring onions and artichoke hearts.
It’s light and fresh-tasting and not at all fatty or heavy. Serves two to four people, depending on the diners’ hunger or greed and the size of the chops.
Spring Lamb Hotpot
1lb/450g of waxy potatoes, cut in 5mm slices
2 fat cloves of garlic, pounded to a paste with a smidge of sea salt
6-8 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 medium-to-large artichoke bottoms or a tin of artichoke hearts
5oz/140g chestnut or button mushrooms, roughly chopped
A handful of parsley, finely chopped
1 tblspn of dried mixed herbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tblspns olive oil
4 good-sized lamb neck chops or shoulder or loin chops, trimmed of the outer skin and fat
6 fl oz/170ml dry white wine
Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5
Combine the veg, herbs and seasoning in a bowl. Place half the mix in a heavy flameproof casserole.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the chops on both sides until brown.
Remove and place on top of veg mix in casserole.
Deglaze the frying pan with the white wine, scraping up all the brown bits, bring to the boil and pour over the meat and veg.
Put the rest of the veg on top and add enough water to reach almost to the top of the veg.
Cook, covered, for half an hour then uncover and cook for an hour longer. Add more water if it looks as though it’s drying out.