Spring is a joyous season – flowers are in bloom, trees are returning to a vibrant green and the evenings begin to get comfortingly warmer.
We often find ourselves eating according to the seasons and craving the warm comfort of hearty stews and meaty pies throughout the winter. Once the cold has passed though, it’s time to start looking to fresher, more vibrant flavours and lamb is one of the best ingredients for this time of year.
Versatility, richness and the delightful way it becomes deeply infused with flavour make it one of the great tastes of spring.
So, ease into the spring months with this selection of dishes – transport yourself to the bustling dusty streets of Marrakech with a Moroccan-inspired tagine, rustle up a traditional slow-cooked lamb shank or give things a contemporary edge with a juicy and flavoursome burger.
Lamb burger: Lamb mince is a great alternative to beef, lending a light and subtle flavour. Try adding rosemary and garlic to the meat for a traditionally flavoured burger. Serve on a soft ciabatta with a handful of rocket, sliced tomato and red onion.
Lamb koftas: This meaty Middle Eastern delight packs a spicy punch and is simple to make. Just mix minced lamb with onion, chilli, ginger, herbs, ground spices and garlic, roll into sausage shapes and grill (better still, barbecuing will heighten the flavour with its smoky charring). When they’re ready, simply serve on warm flatbreads with a crunchy salad and a drizzle of tzatziki.
Moroccan lamb tagine: When the spring sun is shining, a cool breeze is blowing and you’re entertaining guests, an authentic tagine slow-cooked tagine is perfection. The addition of ingredients like dried apricots, dates, sultanas and flake almonds will give your tagine the marriage of earthy sweetness and spice which North African cuisine is renowned for.
Spring lamb and vegetables: For a seasonal Sunday lunch, a roasted rack of lamb is just the ticket. Serve with a colourful medley of new potatoes, carrots, peas and green beans and don’t forget that a classic lamb dish wouldn’t be complete without a hint of mint. For a quick sauce combine fresh mint with red wine vinegar and a tablespoon of golden caster sugar.
Slow-cooked lamb shank: Lamb shank dishes all about the tenderness of the meat, which means slow cooking until the meat is so tender it falls off the bone. After browning the lamb shanks, place in a slow cooker for around eight hours along with some onions, red wine, stock, rosemary and bay leaves. Serve it on a mound of buttery mashed potato and a generous glug of gravy. Be sure to allow its full cooking time and your meat will sumptuously soft!