Sunday, 20 January 2008

Baked Scrag End Lamb

This wonderful hearty dish is the epitome of simple home cooking. The flavours and textures are robust, the ingredients cheap and best of all its a one-dish meal - so minimal washing up. Scrag end chops cost next to nothing and because of the quantity of bone, the meat has great flavour.


Serves 4

10 smallish new potatoes
4 plum tomatoes
1 large aubergine
2 medium onions
6 cloves garlic
50ml olive oil
a few sprigs of rosemary
4 thick cut neck chops - at least 220g each


Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Clean the potatoes and halve lengthways. Add them to a medium/large roasting tin. Halve the tomatoes (also lengthways), dice the aubergine and add them both to the potatoes. Peel the onions and slice them thickly. Peel the garlic but leave it whole. Add the garlic and onions to the dish, pour over the oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

Give the mixture a good mix so that the vegetables are covered with seasoned oil and tuck the rosemary sprigs under the vegetables. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Toss the vegetables once during cooking to prevent any burning but try not to break up the tomatoes.

Pick any bone fragments off the lamb chops and rub them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Remove the vegetables from the oven, toss them gently and put the chops on top. Turn the oven up to 220 degrees C and return the dish to the oven for 30 minutes. Test the lamb, it should be browned on the outside and still pink inside.

You will find that during the second period of cooking, juices from the chops drip down and douse the softened vegetables with a wonderful rich lamb flavour. When you plate up the meal, be sure to scoop the spare juice onto the plates. I like to eat this with my sister's crabapple jelly or redcurrant jelly if I've run out.

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