Fabulously easy to make and absolutely delicious peasant food. Here's how...
It starts with the butcher. If I had to leave Shropshire I sometimes think I'd miss the butchers most of all! Shropshire is deeply rural and has never lost the connection between careful animal management on local farms and eating delicious, local meat. It also means that appreciating the animal is about making the most of all of it, not just the choice fillets. The great thing about our butchers here is that they know and understand the animals, they are enthusiastic about the breeds and how they are cared for and where they come from. And this isn't just a new fangled notion. I have learnt the importance of how to chose the appropriate cut of meat for the recipe.
This recipe is cooked long and slow and can take one of those undervalued cuts like lamb neck chops. They cook to a wonderfully tender meat, with a gloriously smooth flavoursome juice.
For 2 people take 4 goodsized lamb neck chops, 3 little onions, 3 carrots and 3 biggish potatoes. Slice the onions, putting half on the bottom of a large le creuset casserole, follow with a layer of carrots cut into thickish rounds, place the lamb on top. Sprinkle generously with hot paprika. Put a sprig of rosemary on each chop and a few bay leaves tucked in and amongst. Finish with another layer of onion and the potatoes in slices interleaved on top. Add 1/3 can of tomatoes (Cirios are a good brand and believe me the brands vary enormously) and a cup or 2 of water to come ½ way up the layers. I don’t see any point adding stock as the casserole has already the perfect ingredients for creating a rich stock.
Bring up to boil on the hob, then put in oven at 200 degrees C for 225 mins, then turn down to 125 degrees for 2 hours or more.
You can turn off at this stage if need be and re-heat or if you are just about ready to eat turn on grill for a quick burst to toast the potatoes nicely.
This is a whole meal on a plate (or a shallow bowl as you wish). The great thing is that this is more than generous for 2 so the next day it can be augmented with chunks of a nice smoked Polish sausage or some such, or cannelini beans and lots more paprika for a new installment of good peasant eating. Wearing of brightly coloured headscarf optional.