I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lamb Bake with Crispy Potato Topping

Dear Readers when I embarked on this blogging journey I was only going to share with you all my wonderful successes (I wanted you to think that I never had failures!!) Well.... last night although the meal was not a complete failure, I did break the cardinal rule of cooking.  I didn't read the recipe completely (or should I say properly) before starting to cook.  Yes, I was following the "concept" idea of a recipe - I have made a casserole before, I know what I am doing.... ha!

What did I do wrong you ask??  Well first of all didn't quite read how long it was going to take, so when I turned the oven on to heat up - I had the temperature too high for amount of time I was going to be cooking the dish.  My second mistake was being too lazy to move the racks around and so the casserole was too close to the bottom of the oven instead of in the middle - lazy, lazy, lazy!!!  My third mistake was using too much flour (didn't read the first bit of the recipe at all) - I know how to flour meat - just read the amount of flour they were using - oh, and I doubled it because I was using more meat!!

But having said all that the meal was actually very nice - I must have compensated somewhere along the line - added extra stock..??  In fact the verdict was that the flavour was so good that one of "the darlings" even ate all the vegetables on his plate!!! OMG!!!  This is unheard of!  He didn't even gag once!!  If this is what happens when I make a mistake - I am going to have to make them more often!

This recipe is featured on the front cover of the latest edition of Super Food Ideas - I will give you the recipe verbatim - so that you cannot accuse me of making you make mistakes too!!

Lamb Bake with Crispy Potato Topping

Serves 4

1kg diced lamb (I used heart smart)
1/4 cup plain flour
1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
3 medium carrots, diced into 3cm pieces
2 tbs tomato paste
2 1/2 cups beef stock
2 dried bay leaves
1 cup frozen peas
3 cups (380g) frozen potato gems (I actually used more - to cover the dish completely)

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/140 degrees C fan forced. Place 1 tbs flour in a clean plastic bag, season with salt and pepper, add the diced lamb, and shake to coat.  Heat oil in frying pan over high heat. Cook lamb in batches for 3 minutes each side or until browned. Transfer lamb to a 28cmx25.5cm  (10 cup capacity) ovenproof dish (with lid / or cover with foil).  Drain excess oil from the pan.

Add onion to pan over medium heat.  Cook stirring, for 3 minutes or until softened.  Add the garlic and carrots.  Cook stirring for 2 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and remaining flour.  Cook stirring for 1 minute.  Stir in the stock.  Pour mixture over the lamb.  Add the bay leaves.

Cover and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes.  Remove the lid/foil and bake for a further 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  If there is any excess fat (which there won't be if you use heart smart lamb) - skim it from the top.  Remove and discard the bay leaves.

Increase the oven temperature to 200 degrees C/180 degrees C fan forced.  Stir in the peas.  Top the casserole dish with the potato gems.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until the potato gems are golden and crisp.

There you have it!!  Total cooking time is approximately 2 1/2 hours. 

I am not sure I should share with you the photo of our dish last night - I had to zoom right in so you wouldn't see the crispy bits around the edges (but you know what - they were the yummiest part too!!)

OK - I certainly know by now that I am no food stylist - if I was I would have been fired long ago!!!

Isn't there a saying Dear Readers - "The proof is in the pudding" - well the proof was in the pudding last night.  Against all odds this was still a great dish!!


  1. OMG!!!That was amazing, I must admit I hesitated on a lamb meal (not big lamb people) but, I cheated and tasted before the tatties went on, I knew I was on a winner. I did add a sweet tattie as well, told you I can't follow any recipe. Rebeka

  2. Is it possible to cook frozen peas and frozen beans in an oven bag by themselves? If so, for howe long Thanks

  3. I really don't know - I have never tried this. I cannot imagine it takes that long - are you going to put them in an oven, or in the microwave? I would be concerned with the bag melting - when you use oven bags there is a certain amount of moisture from the meat - with the vegetables you would have to use some liquid of some kind - I would think microwaving would be just as fast and easy?

    Any thoughts out there?

  4. I am looking for fork food for a stand up party. I have dishes covering pasta, rice and was looking for a dish with another starch: potato. I was thinking of mash but the gems seem to be a quicker alternative. But I was wondering if they go a bit chewy or soggy?

  5. They could go a little soggy if they are left out for a long time- but they will probably be OK if they are crisp enough.