Embrace Autumn Cooking with #LambTryItLoveIt

The evenings are drawing in, rainy days are here, and our favourite shows are back on TV. That could only mean one thing – winter is well and truly on its way! After enjoying one of the best summers on record, consumers across the country are experiencing the ‘winter blues,’ as long sunny days slip further into distant memories. But by incorporating the season in our cooking repertoire, it’s easy to embrace the autumn chill and get in the spirit of the season as the festive period approaches.

These pointers for getting into the autumnal spirit in the kitchen will help you cast aside the winter blues whilst also mixing up your meal repertoire, with winter warmers, cosy dishes for friends and family and ideas for making the most of the shortened days with meals that can be used for days. Of course, incorporating ingredients like European lamb, which is rich and flavourful and perfect in an array of seasonal dishes including stews, casseroles and roasts, is a great way to keep your dinners exciting as we settle in to the slow season.

Spice up your midweek

It is true that for many, we are entering the doldrums; spending most of the daylight hours at work and the evenings snuggled in our onesies bingeing the latest box sets as we try to resist the urge to fall asleep by 8pm. To keep the autumn and winter months exciting, try making an ‘event’ of mid- week meals by incorporating themes. Hold a family fiesta with Taco Tuesday celebrations complete with brightly coloured table dressings and Mexican-themed dishes – or enjoy a mid-week curry or stir fry without the guilt by making it from scratch and experimenting with spices and new cuts of meat. For a curry with a difference, try European lamb for a flavourful and succulent twist perfect for winter nights.

Preserve your back-garden bounty

Before the first frosts set in, make the most of the harvest from your garden or hedgerows. Our unusually warm summer benefitted gardeners across the country with bounties of tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, onions and more. With a surplus of fruit and veg available to many gardeners, try getting ready for autumn eating by creating pickles, chutneys, jams and sauces from whatever’s left in the garden. This is a great way to have convenience ingredients handy all winter without the added sugar, salt and preservatives found in commercially-processed foods. If you didn’t plant any of your own fruit or veg this year, Ireland’s walking trails and hedgerows are teeming with wild berries and edible flowers. Make a day of it and book in for a foraging walk at the weekend to get outdoors whilst stocking your cupboards.

Utilise Low and Slow cooking methods for comforting winter warmers

With the days getting shorter, our time outdoors is precious – especially during the work week. Not planning your evening meals in the winter often gives way to the slippery slope of turning to takeaways and convenience foods as we all feel the time crunch in the evenings. A great way to stay organised throughout the winter is by incorporating a slow cooker into your meal planning – simply add your ingredients as you get ready for work in the morning, set the temperature, and return home in the evening to your tea ready to enjoy with time to spare.

Embrace leftovers

Autumn really is the season of the roast dinner with all the trimmings and European lamb is a great addition to a delicious family dinner. Filled with natural flavour, lamb lends itself to a wide range of preparations, from a simple, lightly-seasoned roast to show off its rich flavour to ethnic-inspired twists featuring Moroccan and Indian spices, lamb truly is a hero ingredient for family meals. Even better, this is the ideal meal for leftovers, so you can prepare more than you need and repurpose into weeknight meals on-the-go. For a twist on a roast dinner, we love this lamb shank with an Indian inspiration from Chef Adrian Martin.

Lamb Shank Rogan Josh

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1–2 bay leaves
2 onions, sliced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons chilli powder
2 tablespoons tomato purée
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
4 lamb shanks, excess fat removed
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 tablespoons chopped coriander

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat and sweat the cinnamon, cardamom, fennel and cumin seeds and bay leaves in it. Then add the onions, ginger and garlic, and fry, stirring constantly, until they turn golden, using a pinch of salt to help them sweat.
3. Add the ground cumin, coriander and chilli and continue to stir, adding two tablespoons of cold water to
prevent the spices from burning.
4. Add the tomato purée and the chopped tomatoes with the sugar to balance the acidity.
5. Gradually add the yoghurt and stir in to the mixture. Keep stirring until all the yoghurt has incorporated into
the sauce and making sure the oil has not separated.
6. Sear the lamb in some oil in a frying pan on a high heat, ensuring that it is sealed and browned all over.
7. Place the meat in an oven roasting tray, then pour over the sauce, cover with foil and roast in the oven for 3 hours, until the meat is tender.
8. Remove from the oven, mix the garam masala into the sauce with a spoon, and adjust the seasoning with sea salt. Spoon the lamb shanks into bowls and ladle over that amazing sauce.  Finally sprinkle with the chopped coriander and enjoy with a side of your choice. I love serving this with some mashed potatoes.

LAMB – TRY IT, LOVE IT CAMPAIGN

This feature was created for the ‘Lamb – Try It, Love It Campaign’, a new campaign launched in association with Bord Bia with co-funding from the EU. Visit www.facebook.com/TryLamb a tasty and fun destination for all things lamb.

THIS IS A SPONSORED POST IN CONJUNCTION WITH BORD BIA TO HELP PROMOTE #LAMBTRYITLOVEIT, A CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTING THE BENEFITS OF COOKING WITH EUROPEAN LAMB. FOR MORE RECIPE INSPIRATION, VISIT TRYLAMB.IE OR FOLLOW @TRYLAMB ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM.

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