Easy venison or beef stew with celeriac

Easy venison or beef stew with celeriac

I love to make this and put half in the freezer for a lovely fast dinner some other time. I like to save half the skin of an organic orange to use in this recipe. I just chop it up small and it “disappears” during cooking, leaving its beautiful flavour (in some traditional French rustic dishes, they use strips of orange peel). Less of a faff than cleaning your grater!!

For 4
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1cm dice
200g carrots cut into 1cm dice
300g celeriac cut into 1cm dice
Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g stewing beef or boned haunch of venison cut into 2-3cm dice
20g gluten-free flour e.g. Doves Farm gluten free blends or rice, sorghum, millet or gluten-free oat flour
200ml gluten-free beer or stout (Irish made gluten-free Stag Stout from Supervalu is lovely)
1 tsp ground allspice
Big pinch ground mace
Half teaspoon ground ginger (if you don’t have any, use 1 rounded dsp grated fresh ginger)
1 rounded dsp tomato puree
2 garlic cloves, chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped finely (will give about 1 heaped dsp)
4 bay leaves
Grated zest 1 orange (organic if possible)
500ml stock: this can be meat stock or water mixed with 1 level tsp vecon boullion powder/gluten-free miso paste such as genmai (rice) miso or hatcho miso.

1.Heat 1 tbs oil in a large heavy saucepan or casserole with 1 tbs water. Add the onion, carrots, celeriac and sweat, covered, on medium heat 10 mins until onion is softened. Remove from the pan and keep to one side.
2.Add 1 tbs more oil and half the chopped rosemary to pan, turn up heat and when hot add the meat -turning to brown slightly on all sides (you can be fairly slapdash about this).
3.Sprinkle the meat with the flour and stir through. Then add the beer/stout, veg stock, allspice, mace, ginger and tomato puree, then stir to mix. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the garlic, thyme, rest of the rosemary, orange zest and stock with the softened vegetables.
5.Bring back to the boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer 2-3 hours until the meat is tender. Check seasoning before serving.

Serve with:
2 cups steamed greens per person. Choose from: broccoli, tenderstem broccoli,kale, cabbage, spring greens or Brussels sprouts
No need for potatoes – the celeriac and carrots give plenty of starchy carbs (sugars).

Why this is good for you
Beef and venison are high in protein. You need protein to maintain muscle mass especially as you age, and for detoxification. Just 100g (raw weight) can give you over 30g protein.

Adding herbs or spices to meat before browning it reduces the amount of inflammatory toxins generated. There have been some great (human) studies showing massive differences in blood markers of inflammation within hours from eating grilled meat burgers (meat mixed with spices and herbs) vs plain grilled meat burgers (without spice and herbs). Herbs and spices are a powerhouse of health – they stimulate your body’s antioxidant defences as well as having direct anti-inflammatory action. Herbs and spices also preferentially favour growth of good bugs in your gut (and your lungs) which are essential for bullet-proof immunity. 70% of your immune cells are in your gut. And herbs/spices make your gut a hostile environment for bad bugs (disease causing viruses, fungi and bacteria). They also lower inflammation in your brain. If you are anxious, low, have ADHD or brain fog your brain is inflamed.

Celeriac and carrots are MUCH lower in carbs (sugars) than potatoes. Keeping starchy carbs to max 1/4 of your lunch and evening meal is a good idea if you want a healthy immune system and the waistline you like.

Sauteed liver with orange & sage

Sauteed liver with orange & sage

This is one of the ONLY ways I enjoy eating liver and it IS delicious provided you don’t let it overcook and go tough.  If you have someone in your house who struggles with acne this could be a game changer for them.  Liver is high in preformed vitamin A (retinol), which can have miraculous effects on reducing those micro-skin infections known as acne.  Read more about health benefits at the end of this post.  P.S. Don’t be tempted to use dried sage – it just won’t be nice.  Nigel Slater says dried sage belongs in the bin, and I agree.

For 2
300g lambs liver
20g rice flour/gluten-free oat flour
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt
1 heaped tbs (2 heaped dsp) chopped fresh sage
2 tbs chopped parsley to garnish
200g onions, sliced or roughly chopped
2 oranges, organic if possible
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

To serve:
4 cups of broccoli florets, peas, green beans or runner beans
Optional: some diced steamed Swede turnip of some (low carb) konjac/shiritake noodles (these are available in Asian shops and are also sold as “zero noodles” in some health store chains).  Alternatively use rice noodles or 100% buckwheat noodles.

  1. Mix 1 tbs chopped sage, the flour, a generous pinch of salt and about 1/4 level tsp black pepper together in a largish bowl.
  2. Cut liver into thin strips about 5cm long and toss in the flour
  3. Roughly chop the onions.
  4. Using a serrated knife, peel, halve and slice one orange.
  5. Zest the other orange and squeeze the juice.
  6. Heat the oil in frying pan, add onions and cook, stirring for 4-5 mins until softened. Remove the onions from pan and reserve.
  7. Add the liver to the pan.  Toss over a high heat for a further 3-4 mins until slightly browned and still very pink in the middle (it will keep cooking as you add in the rest of the ingredients).
  8. Reduce the heat, stir in the rind and juice of the remaining 1 orange and the onions and allow to heat thoroughly for 1 min.
  9. Serve immediately garnished with the prepared orange slices and chopped sage/parsley.

Why this is good for you: or your skin health and immune system.
Vitamin A (liver is the richest natural source) helps vitamin D work in your body to enhance your immunity to infections. Whether its flu, covid, the common cold or acne – they are all infections.  Liver, or other rich sources of vitamin A can be a game changer for you if you have acne.  A note of caution: don’t take supplements of retinol (animal source vitamin A) if you are likely to become pregnant or are already pregnant.  It’s perfectly safe for baby if you eat liver once a week though.

Did you know that people with hypothyroidism have altered vitamin A metabolism.  These folk may need to eat liver or a supplement of retinol (active vitamin A) to have skin that heals normally and isn’t dry and flaky.  Liver is a rich in choline, an essential nutrient that has largely fallen out of our eating patterns since we moved away from organ meats.  Choline deficiency causes non alcoholic fatty liver disease and muscle damage too.  Organic eggs contain a little choline and raw nuts/seeds contain some but organ meats like liver and kidneys are by far the richest source.  Liver is rich in iron too  and the vitamin A helps your body use the iron properly – how clever is that!!

 

Corncrake pot roast

Corncrake pot roast

My mother sent me the recipe cut out of the newspaper and I love it. Just the thing for a cold, dark Autumn night as we all stay in our houses. Many of my patients find that a paleo-style diet (vegetable-rich, virtually grain-free, dairy-free with meat, fish, eggs and good fats) makes them feel SO much better than a so-called “healthy diet” that is overloaded with grains and potatoes. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. This pot roast comes with its own gorgeous rich brown sauce. I love this pot roast because its delicious on the day and I can use leftovers sliced and either reheated in the sauce. Leftovers are your friend if you love eating well but don’t want to spend hours every night in the kitchen. We often eat this with cauliflower mash and a steamed green vegetable like cabbage, broccoli or green beans. Yum…

If you want to feed resolute carnivores and those who want to eat less red meat at the same meal simply add cooked butterbeans about 20 minutes before the end of cooking. They take up the fabulous flavour and are rich in protein.

1kg pot-roasting beef (housekeepers’s cut or topside). This will come tied up with string which stays on till you serve it.
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs tamari sauce (avoid if on SC diet)
6 tbs dry white wine
2 star anise (this makes the sauce extra flavoursome)
1 large/2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 rounded teaspoon raw cane molasses
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 onions, each peeled and cut in 8 wedges
2 large carrots, diced roughly
1 heaped tsp arrowroot powder (from health shops) to thicken

1. Preheat a heavy casserole, then add a knob of extra virgin olive oil and sear the beef for a minute each side until very lightly browned (browning isn’t essential, you can go straight to step 2 if you want).
2. Add the tamari sauce, wine, star anise, garlic, close tightly and simmer gently o the top of the stove or in a low oven or slow cooker for an hour.
3. Meanwhile dice the carrots roughly, peel and cut each onion into 8 wedges.
4. Add the molasses, some freshly ground black pepper, carrots, onion, and continue to cook very gently for a further 1½ hours. When cooked, remove the beef and keep warm.
5. If you want to increase the amount of sauce, add a little water (or some leftover vegetable-steaming water).
6. Blend a teaspoonful of arrowroot with a little water, add in a little of the hot liquid, then add to the juices in the casserole and bring up to the boil, stirring, until the sauce thickens and clears.

Serve with:
LOTS of steamed green veg and some mashed Swede turnip or cauliflower mash.

Why this is good for you:
Long slow cooking is much preferable to cooking at high temperatures because fewer toxic byproducts are created to would cause more inflammation in your body. For this reason, browning a single large piece of meat is better than browning small pieces. When I’m feeling really healthy I don’t brown this pot roast at all and it still tastes delicious – the sauce is so rich. Red meat contains acetyl-carnitine. For people with serious energy problems (eg M.E./chronic fatigue syndrome/long covid) eating foods that contain acetyl-carnitine every day can bring about great improvements in energy.

Chilli con carne/chilli con turkey

Chilli con carne/chilli con turkey

This is super-easy and works with turkey or beef mince. It tastes even better the next day and freezes brilliantly too. That’s why I always make enough for 4 and freeze half for one of those “don’t feel much like cooking” nights.

For 4:
2 x 400g tins borlotti or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or soak 1 cup raw beans overnight, change water, then boil hard till ender)
2 medium onions (about 350g) chopped
500g lean turkey or beef mince
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
1 heaped tsp ground cumin (or more to taste)
1 heaped tsp plain cocoa powder (optional)
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano (herb)
¼ – ½ tsp ground chilli or cayenne (optional)
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes with their juice/400g sieved tomatoes (passata)
1 heaped tbs tomato puree
Good splash (about 60ml) red wine if you have it
1 tsp miso paste OR a beef stock cube, dissolved in 50ml boiling water
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
Generous pinch Himalayan/sea salt

To serve:
Cauliflower “rice” (see recipe on blog) or if you don’t want weight loss you could use rice or millet (instructions on blog)
Steamed broccoli, green beans, peas or a green salad
Plus if you’re feeling fancy some roughly chopped coriander and some lime wedges

1. Heat a large, heavy bottomed saucepan (with lid) on a medium heat.
2. Add the onions, olive oil, small splash (about 1 tbs) water, cover with a lid and “sweat” (cook gently) until the onions are softened, about 10 mins.
3. Add the mince and stir around for a minute to break it up a bit. There is no need to brown it. Then add the garlic, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, oregano chilli/cayenne, tomatoes with their juice and the miso/beef stock.
4. Cover and cook at a simmer for around 20 mins stirring occasionally, till the meat is cooked. If the sauce begins to dry out you can add a little water or vegetable stock. If theres more liquid then you like, simmer uncovered until until it reduces.
5. Add borlotti/kidney beans and tomato puree and cook for a further 10 mins.
6. Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt.

Why this is good for you:
Turkey and beef are rich in amino acid tryptophan which is a building block of feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is one of the brain chemicals that makes you feel calm, happy and is essential for sleep (it gets converted to sleep-hormone melatonin). If you have a good balance of healthy gut bacteria AND good levels of certain vitamins and minerals your body will convert tryptophan to serotonin easily. Did you know that low serotonin in your gut can be a trigger for IBS? Not a lot of people know that.

Did you know that ALL herbs and spices have many effects – from helping you see off infections to helping you maintain a healthy weight and age agelessly?  These magical taste-bombs also have anti-inflammatory effects, even in your brain (did you know that depression involves brain inflammation?).  Herbs and spices selectively encourage growth of good bugs in your gut.  AND they make your gut a hostile environment for disease-causing organisms. 

When you cook meat WITH spices or herbs, you protect the meat (and whoever eats it) from much of the damage produced by heat.  A study of diabetic people monitored blood samples for inflammatory markers before and after eating 2 different types of grilled beef patty.  One cooked just with salt and pepper, the other mixed with at least 6 different herbs/spices before cooking.  After eating the patties, guess which group had less inflammation in their blood – you guessed it, the herb and spice group.  The WAY you cook your food has a massive effects on it’s power to help or derail your health.

This recipe also has onions, which contain the fibre inulin. Inulin feeds beneficial bacteria in your gut. Healthy gut, happy mind, happy life.

Simple Cajun chicken or fish

Simple Cajun chicken or fish

Cajun spiced fish

This is gorgeous and super fast.  I love this on a weekday when I come in late, hungry and don’t feel like spending more than 15 minutes cooking dinner.  It works beautifully for small fillets/darnes of chicken, hake, salmon, or cod and I have used it for lamb chops too.  Yum!  Make up more then you need and store in an airtight jar somewhere dark, so it keeps its precious volatile oils and flavours.

For two:
1/2 tsp chilli powder (or a whole teaspoon if you use very mild chilli)
1 tsp Himalayan or Atlantic Sea Salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbs each of:
Coarsely ground black pepper
Dried basil
Dried oregano
Ground coriander

2 x small (100g) chicken fillets, 130g-150g darnes/fillets of salmon/white fish or 4 lamb centre loin chops

For cooking:
Juice of 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon (or a little olive oil if you don’t have lemon)

  1. Mix everything well and store in an airtight jar away from light and heat until ready to use.
  2. When you want to cook the meat or fish, pour some of the spice blend onto a plate.  Rub with a little lemon juice on your meat/fish.  Dip/roll the meat or fish in the spice mix until totally coated on all sides.
  3. Cook in the oven on an oaked baking sheet or under the grill.
    Oven: 1/2 an hour at 180C for small chicken fillets, 15 minutes for fish fillets
    Grill: Around 7 minutes each side for chicken or around 3-4 minutes each side for fillets or darnes of salmon, hake or cod.Serve with:
    2-3 cups steamed broccoli, green beans, runner beans or peas per person, dressed with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or a knob of coconut oil.
    A large mixed salad of green leaves, sliced red onion, cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumber or courgettes, dressed with one of my salad dressings from this blog.

Why this is good for you:
Herbs and spices are a fantastic way to get even more taste and vitality into your day.  They are antioxidant, anti inflammatory, heal the digestive system (chillies can help heal ulcers!) and keep you younger longer by holding back the ageing process.   Many help alleviate skin conditions by supporting your liver function.  Black pepper contains piperine, a substance that increases your ability to absorb vitamins and minerals in the meal.  Herbs and spices contain tens or hundreds of times more antioxidants than fruit and vegetables, weight for weight.  Vegetables (and small amounts of fruit) are still a powerhouse for wellness but don’t forget the herbs and spices. 

Italian meatballs in tomato sauce

Italian meatballs in tomato sauce

Italian meatballs in tomato sauce

This is a real crowd-pleaser that an Italian lady taught me to make when I was au-pairing in Rome.  Rather then being fried, the meatballs are actually cooked in the tomato sauce.  You really need lean meat for this otherwise you’ll have a lot of fat floating on the serface.  Its up to you (and incidentally saturated fat is not the demon we were led to believe – much scientific evidence now to prove it).

If you would like to reduce the quantity of meat in the recipe, substitute cooked puy lentils for some of the meat.  Raw meatballs freeze well too – just thaw thoroughly before cooking in tomato sauce.

 

For 5-6 big eaters

For the meatballs:
350g lean beef mince, organic if possible
350g lean lamb mince (or use extra beef mince if you prefer)
2 tbs freshly grated parmesan (if avoiding dairy, use 100% wholemeal gluten-free breadcrumbs instead of the cheese.  If you eat gluten, normal brown crumbs are OK)
1 heaped tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
A few good grinds of black pepper
1 organic egg, beaten
A pinch of himalayan or Atlantic sea salt

For the sauce:
1 litre passata (sieved tomatoes)
1 onion, peeled and halved.
1 dsp extra virgin olive oil
Small bunch fresh basil, rinsed, if you have it.

1. In a bowl combine all the meatball ingredients and mix well – the quickest way to do this is with your hands.
2. Shape into balls about ¾” in diameter and place in a single layer on a plate in the fridge to solidify for at least ½ hour if possible.
3. To make the tomato sauce combine the passata, the peeled halved onion and olive oil in a wide-bottomed saucepan or deep frying pan, bring to the boil, then simmer until the onion is translucent – usually about 20 minutes.  This sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance if you wish.
4. To cook the meatballs, bring the tomato sauce up to the boil in your wide bottomed saucepan or frying pan, then gently slide the meatballs in so they form a single layer.  Do not stir (or you will break up the meatballs), just shake gently if necessary to distribute the meatballs in a single layer.
5. Cook on a medium heat for around 20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.
6. Remove the stalks from the basil, tear up roughly  and add to the pan.  Serve in bowls.

Serve with:
A large salad of green leaves and radicchio, cucumber and thinly sliced red onions

Optional extra (if you don’t want weight loss).  Choose one:
A slice of gluten-free wholemeal bread or (if you eat gluten) some 100% wholemeal sourdough bread
2-3 baby boiled potatoes per person

Why this is good for you:
Cooking meat at low temperature in the sauce avoids the production of the harmful oxidation products.  Oxidation by products from charring food cause free radical damage, linked to digestive and skin problems, inflammation and premature ageing.   Tomato sauce is very rich in lycopene, a potent anti ageing, anti-inflammatory antioxidant.   Red meat is a good source of iron so for many people it’s useful to eat once or twice a week.

Goulash with haricots

Goulash with haricots

Goulash with haricots

It’s been a real weather roller-coaster lately, with lovely sunshine one minute, hailstones, cold and sleet the next.  I really felt the need of a nice, warming goulash the other day and trotted out this old favourite.  This recipe is super-easy as you don’t have to brown anything so it’s ideal if you are at home for the morning or the afternoon and it can bubble away as you go about your business.  It tastes even better the next day so I always make enough to have leftovers.

 

 

 

 

For 4:

450g organic stewing beef or round steak, or venison if available – in 4 serving size pieces, or else diced, whichever you prefer – try to get something with some fat in – super-lean round steak goes very tough in slow cooking!
225g onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
1-2 rounded tsp paprika
1 teaspoon of (gluten-free) miso paste or 3/4

Kallo (gluten-free) beef stock cube, dissolved in 250ml boiling water
1 tin chopped tomatoes (about 400g)
1 heaped tsp tomato puree
½ glass red wine, if handy (avoid if on a candida diet)
3 carrots, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 400g tins of white haricot beans, drained and rinsed (or 200g dried beans, soaked overnight and boiled hard for ½ hour)
1 heaped tsp herbes de Provence (usually a mix of rosemary, oregano, basil),  mixed herbs or (at a pinch) dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
3 heaped tbs chopped parsley
To thicken (optional) 2 tsp ground rice or brown rice flour

1. If intending to cook this in the oven then preheat oven to 180C/GM4
2. Trim the meat of visible fat.
3. Line the base of a heavy bottomed deep sided ovenproof casserole dish or saucepan with the meat.  The meat can be in flat pieces or bite-sized chunks, whichever you prefer.
4. Add the onions, garlic, paprika, or water, tomatoes, tomato puree, beans, wine if using, carrots, celery, pepper and herbs de Provence.  If using home-cooked haricot beans, add them now.
5. If using a saucepan: bring to the boil, then simmer very gently with the lid on until the meat is tender – about 2 hours if using round/stewing beef.
If using the an ovenproof casserole: cover the casserole with the lid and cook in the oven until the meat is tender – about 2 hours.  If using tinned haricot beans, add, mix in and warm through the tinned haricot beans now and warm through.
6. If you like you can thicken the stew juices by mixing in the ground rice or rice flour a few minutes before the end of cooking and whisking until thickened.  I don’t usually bother.
7. Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top just before serving.

Serve with:
Steamed broccoli drizzled with a little fresh lemon juice.
Or
A large leaf salad of bitter leaves (rocket, spinach, watercress) dressed with extra virgin olive oil

Variation:
If you can eat dairy, top each portion with a dessertspoon of natural organic unsweetened yoghurt or Greek yoghurt (which is made from ewe’s milk) – it gives a lovely tang.

Why this is good for you
White haricot beans are filling and also provide soluble fibre which helps feed friendly bacteria in your gut.  This is important for skin and digestive health as well as mood.  Beans are also rich in magnesium, which helps reduce stress,  insomnia and irritability.  Herbs and spices such as paprika and herbes de Provence have antioxidant anti-inflammatory properties – great if you have problem skin, an inflamed digestive system, or want to keep looking younger for longer.  Note: Some people suffering from ME/chronic fatigue syndrome may benefit from more red meat in the diet than the general guideline of once or twice a week.  This is because red meat contains a substance known acetyl carnitine.  Poor energy production in ME can impair the production and utilisation of acetyl carnitine.  For these people, eating extra lean and ideally organic red meat daily is of benefit.  I know it certainly helped me, whereas a totally vegetarian diet definitely did not.  For more information and a useful e-book on recovering from ME/chronic fatigue syndrome see the website of Dr Sarah Myhill, a brilliant GP specialising in this area www.drmyhill.co.uk

Lamb Tagine

Lamb Tagine

Lam tagine

Lamb tagine

I love this because you just put everything in the pot, turn on the heat and cook for 3 hours while you potter about.   This Moroccan stew was traditionally made by working men in Marrakech who did not have anybody at home to cook for them while out all day.  Everything went into a tall earthenware jar which was then topped with paper and tied with string and given a good shake to mix.  The whole jar would be brought to the Hamam (public steam baths) before work, to be collected, ready to eat, in the evening.  This recipe was shown to us by Sidi Mahommad in Marrakech – the only changes I have made are in adding onions and potatoes.  If you are doing a ketogenic eating plan or wanting to lose weight simply omit anything that contains lots of carbohydrate (millet, potatoes, chickpeas) and serve with more green veggies.

 

 

 

 

For 4
4 lamb shanks, 500g of large chunky lean beef or lamb pieces or 4 large lamb gigot chops
2 heaped teaspoons ras el hanout*
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly cut up in quarters
1 small or half a large preserved lemon*, rinsed and divided into 8 pieces (these are available from Halal shops and Asian store).  Alternatively use the quartered skin of half an unwaxed, organic lemon – it won’t have the distinctive Morrocan flavour though
450g bag small onions or shallots, peeled
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish, if you have them.
Optional: 450g/2 large floury potatoes, peeled and halved
*You can make your own spice blend and preserved lemons by checking out the recipes for them on this blog.

1. Take a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or top-of-the-stove casserole dish with a lid and in it place lamb, spices, garlic, onions, potatoes and enough cold water so it covers the meat and veg by about 4cm.
2. Put the lid on and swill around gently to coat everything in the spices.
3. Simmer gently for 3 hours on the top of the stove
4. Garnish with lots of fresh coriander leaves if you have some.  It’s still great without!

Serve with:
500g runner or green beans  – either steamed or else cooked on top of the simmering tagine for 15 mins or so until tender.

Variations:

  • Leave out the potato and instead serve with freshly cooked millet grain.  (Cook 1 mug millet with 2 mugs of boiling water – it takes about 10 mins.  If you fluff it up with a fork after cooking it should look quite  like couscous). Garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of ground paprika, it works brilliantly with most tagines.
  • Instead of potatoes, add two mugfuls of chickpeas (soak 1 mugful overnight and boil rapidly for 15 mins first) to the meat at the beginning of cooking.  That way they will take up a great flavour.  Otherwise just add 2 tins of rinsed drained chickpeas to the tagine for the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Shortcut:
If you cant get preserved lemons then use unwaxed ORGANIC lemons – the peel of fruit has a lot of pesticides unless organic. It wont be exactly the same but still gives a good flavour.

Why this is good for you:
Stewing rather than browning your meat means it keeps its nutritional value.  Browning any food leads to oxidation which damages the meat, and your body when you eat it.  Avoiding browned foods helps you keepy our digestive system in tip top shape and delays skin (and other!) ageing.  Spices are powerful antioxidants and it is more useful to have a wide variety of them than to focus narrowly on just one or two.  Ras el hanout gives you a good range of vitality-boosting antioxidants.  If you use cuts of meat that include bones these will fortify the broth with collagenous substances.  This supports the essential daily repairs and maintenance of your gut (digestive system).  Great news if you are trying to heal gastritis, ulcers, food intolerances or indeed almost any digestive disorder where the lining of your gut is inflamed or damaged. 

Persian Lamb Pot

Persian Lamb Pot

This is another lovely slow-cook recipe for winter.  You could also do it on top of the stove so it simmers gently after initially coming up to the boil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For 2:

250g lamb gigot chops (with bones) or fillet, trimmed of fat and sliced (with bones is better for the flavour)
220g onions (ideally a massive Spanish onion as it saves peeling time!)
2 medium potatoes, ideally a floury type, scrubbed and sliced into rings
1 medium quince/tart eating apple (eg cox’s pippin) washed, and sliced into thick rings (no need to core or peel)
6 large prunes, soaked overnight, drained, stoned and chopped (or use no-soak prunes)
1 level tsp turmeric
2 heaped tsp tomato puree
Juice of 1 small lemon, or to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Put a few pieces of the meat in an ovenproof casserole and cover with layers of onion, potato, quince, prunes and spices.  Repeat the layers until all the ingredients are used up.
  3. Dissolve tomato puree in 120ml cold water or leftover veg cooking water, then pour into the casserole.
  4. Cover and cook in the oven until the meat and potatoes are tender.  This takes 2 hours if using lamb gigot/fillet.  If using unsoaked prunes double the quantity of water in the dish and check every ½ hour to ensure it does not dry out and burn (I found this out by experience!).
  5. Hand around the lemon juice at the table to be added to  taste.

Serve with one of these:

  • A large green salad
  • Steamed frozen peas
  • Steamed broccoli or (even better) purple sprouting broccoli
  • Baby spinach leaves and halved cherry tomatoes drizzled with virgin olive oil

Variations:
Use trimmed organic sirloin steak (takes about an hour but be aware quince takes much longer to cook than an hour so use the apple with this instead) or round steak (takes about 2 hours) instead of the lamb.

Why this recipe is good for you:
Powerful antioxidants for health come from the tomato puree (lycopene) and turmeric (curcumin) in this dish. Onions, quince and apples are a great source of soluble fibre to feed beneficial gut bacteria.  Meat cooked on the bone releases collageneous substances into the liquid that help nourish and heal the lining of your digestive system.  Yes, home made chicken soup and other bone-based broth soups really are good for you.  Lamb is a more natural meat exposed to fewer intensive farming practices than some other meats so if you can’t buy organic read meat, its a good choice.