Friday, 12 June 2009

Summer Lovin'

This is an ideal basis for supper on one of those days when it's hot and you want supper to be summery and perhaps a little Mediterranean, but have minimal access to shopping or exotic storecupboard paraphernalia.

Quick Lamb Stew with Summer Flavours

olive oil
1 aubergine
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
500g minced lamb
1 glass rosé wine
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin

Slice the aubergine and brush the slices with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, turning once. Meanwhile, heat a very little oil in a largish casserole and fry the onions until soft, then add the garlic and cook until its fragrance wafts up enticingly. Brown the lamb mince, then pour in the wine. Cook briefly to sizzle off the alcohol, then add the tomatoes, oregano, cumin and plenty of freshly-ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Roughly chop the baked aubergine slices and add to the pan, then cook for a further 10 minutes.

You can, of course use this stew in the same ways that you might use any meat ragĂș; with pasta, with baked potatoes, to form the basis of a pie - but for this sort of meal you can really go to town on the whole 'taverna' idea and serve flatbread, chunky salad, olives and a dish of crumbled feta cheese with fresh oregano stirred through. I have fresh oregano in the garden at this time of year, so this is not out-of-the-ordinary for us, but if you don't have any (please do consider the idea, though) just season the cheese with a little pepper. The dried stuff will just about do, but only if you combine it with some other fresh herbs (mint, parsley, basil are all good, severally and together).

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