Lamb Ragu with Ricotta Cheese and Mint 

A simple slow cooked ragu is simple and tasty. Once you get it going you just let it simmer away for a few hours. This recipe is for a lamb ragu, however the method will work for any ragu you would want to make. Rabbit ragu is also fantastic.
It’s simple in the method as well as the food and equipment you’ll need. What you’ll need:

Olive Oil 

Onion 

Carrot

Celery 

Fennel

Salt/Pepper

Oregano 

Thyme 

Rosemary 

Mint

Red wine 

Diced or ground lamb 

Tomato paste 

Canned tomatoes 

Pasta 

Ricotta cheese 
First of all you’ll make you’re mirepoix. Dice your onions, celery, fennel and carrot. In a large pan sweat your vegetables in olive oil and season. 

Now you’ll chop and add your herbs. I tend to go moderate on the herbs. This can make the difference between an okay and a really good ragu. Depending on the protein you’ll be using in the ragu adjust what herbs you’ll use. For this recipe I use oregano, thyme and rosemary. Lamb is a gamey protein so you’ll want herbs that can stand up to that. I love basil, but it doesn’t add much adding it now. It’s too light and delicate for this recipe to come through enough in the final flavor of the ragu.

Add your tomato paste at this point. Stir it around and let it fry out. Let most of the moisture cook out. This will create a fond on the bottom of your pan. The stuff thats kind off cooked onto the bottom. Now you’ll want to deglaze this with your red wine. I just use a simple table wine. 
Add your canned tomatoes and water. Now is when you let it simmer for hours. Cook until your diced lamb is falling apart. If you used a minced lamb this would take less time, however the texture of the chunky lamb is nicer. Gently simmer don’t let it boil. Adjust your seasoming at this point.
For this recipe and ragus in general, use a bigger pasta. I prefer a short pasta like a penne or papradelle. Fresh pasta is perfect for this kind of recipe. Cook it al dente in seasoned water. 
In a separate smaller pan add as much ragu as you want and your pasta and stir. Let it sit for a minute. It will be extremely hot so it’ll stay warm for a minute. This helps the pasta and ragu come together as one the most they can. 

Ricotta cheese does this a lot of good. The creamy soft cheese with the rich tomato sauce is a match made in heaven. Finish with a little chopped mint and you’re ready to serve. 

Easy beef Wellington 

Beef Wellington was an intimidating dish for me to cook at first. It seemed difficult, but making a few for dinner is really an easy thing to do. A beautiful fillet mignon in puff pastry. What you’ll need:

Fillet mignon 

Stone ground mustard 

Prosciutto 

Portobello mushrooms

Thyme 

Oregano 

Basil 

Parsley

Puff pastry 

Salt/pepper 

Eggwash 
First of all you’ll cut your fillet into about 4 inch long rounds. This makes them look nicer and cook more quickly. Sear your fillet until nice and brown on all sides. While still hot rub your mustard on it. Lightly coast it. The beef will absorb a lot more mustard flavor while it’s hot. 
Blitz your mushrooms and herbs in a blender. Add this to a sautee pan with no oil and cook out all the moisture from the mushrooms. 
Set your prosciutto out on plastic wrap. Enough that it’ll wrap all the way around the beef. Place your mushroom mixture on top of the prosciutto in a thin even layer. Place your fillet down now and wrap around tight. 
Now you can wrap it in your puff pastry coated in eggwash. Pinch the seems tight and score the top of the puff pastry. Place on your baking sheet seem down and bake until your desired tempature is reached. I reccomend using a digital thermometer. You won’t be able to feel the beef for doneness so this takes the guess work out of It.
When it’s done, rest it for around 8 minutes and slice into thick slices. I like to slice mine around 1 inch thick. 

Easy curried lentils 

I love Indian food, the smell of the spices and the simplicity. Curried lentils I eat probably once a week. It’s very simple to make and there’s no fuss to it. It’s also extremely tasty and smells incredible. What you’ll need:
Butter

Curry paste

Onion

Leek

Celery 

Lentils 

Salt/pepper 

Cilantro 

Parsley 

Mushrooms 

Chicken 
First off, I’ll get my butter nice and hot in a sautee pan, add your curry paste and lightly toast. I always prefer curry paste over powder. I think curry powder tends to be a little flat myself. Add your sliced onions, leeks and celery and sweat until translucent.
At this point I’ll go ahead and add my diced chicken and sliced mushrooms. Make sure you sautee these a minute before asking everything. The mushrooms cook much better that way. When your mushrooms are cooked add your lentils. Then add water or stock. I think water works just fine. Season and simmer until lentils are soft making sure to keep stirring and adding water as it runs out.
When your lentils are soft add your chopped cilantro and parsley and serve over rice. 

Lamb

Lamb has a slightly gamy flavor, that makes for great dishes. Lamb is a chefs dream and a chefs nightmare. It dries out quickly if it’s overlooked even a little bit. Home cooks generally don’t cook lamb frequently, because it’s more expensive than most other proteins. Cheap cuts of lamb are available such as the shoulder chop. The most popular cut of the lamb is the rack.

In America the two most popular lamb are New Zeland lamb and American lamb. New Zeland lamb are smaller in size and have a slightly more potent flavor than their American counterparts. American lamb are larger and more fatty, although lamb in General is leaner than most proteins.

For home cooks I would recommend the shoulder chop cut. It’s relatively inexpensive and is perfect for dishes like sheppards pie. Sheppards pie is an Irish dish that is layered with lamb, vegetables and potato purée. It’s anamazing dish and can be prepped ahead of time so all you have to do is bake it.

In the restaurant setting the rack of lamb is the primary cut used. It looks stunning when sliced, slightly pink in the middle. Rack of lamb with a ratatouille and Cous Cous is popular and easy to make. Sear the lamb and finish it off in the oven.

The tenderloin is usually made into a stew or something of the sort. When I was in my butchery class at culinary school I made a Wellington within that came out well. The recipe for that is on a previous post of mine. If you haven’t had lamb I encourage you to try and if you have I encourage you to see what you can do with it.