Wales on the Menu - Series 2

Programme Three: The Home Cook

In the third programme one of Wales's leading solicitors brings his dish to be judged by Simon before serving it to a jury of foodies. Chris Nott is an Employment Tribunal Judge and runs his own law firm - Capital Law - in Cardiff Bay. One of Welsh life's movers and shakers, Chris is Chairman of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, a director of Cardiff Blues and a member of the Board at The University of Glamorgan. He also owns a restaurant and a gastropub but has never ventured into a professional kitchen to cook. A fan of Wales On The Menu's first series, Chris was persuaded to take part by his two teenage sons. "Some people play golf, others follow football teams but my passion is cooking. When we listened to the first series, all the family were saying, 'have a go at that dad'. My colleagues in the law firm have been looking at me goggle-eyed. They think I'm mad to take part but I think it's going to be fun." But it also proves to be a big challenge for Chris as he travels to one of the top restaurants in Scotland and attempts to get his Moroccan/Welsh lamb dish on their menu.

Chris Nott

Chris Nott's Recipe

Moroccan Lamb & Side Dishes

Hummus

Ingredients:

1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the centre of the hummus.

Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well. Garnish with parsley (optional).

Chill in the fridge for two hours.

Ras el Hanout Spice Blend

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
I teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preparation:

In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients until combined well. Spice blend keeps in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 month.

Lamb

Preparation:

Take shoulder of lamb suitable for 4-6 people and trim any excess fat. Score the skin to create a diamond effect.

Crush a clove of garlic into a paste with a teaspoon of salt in a pestle and mortar and incorporate into the Ras el Hanout with a good glug of olive oil to make a paste. Rub this into the lamb, all over, very thoroughly. Wrap the lamb in cling film and store in the fridge overnight.

Also overnight soak half a pint of dry haricot beans in cold water. The following morning simmer the beans in a large pan of water containing a quartered onion and bay leaves for one and a half hours until cooked but not too soft. Drain, rinse, remove onions and bay leaves and set aside.

To make the lamb:

Finely chop a large onion and sauté in a tablespoon of olive oil together with three leeks, a large carrot and one stick of celery all cut into large chunks in a casserole just large enough to accommodate the lamb. When the vegetables are warmed through and glistening, mix with 5 chopped tomatoes and sit the lamb on top, skin side up. Fill the pan with boiling water to the bottom of the lamb, cover and place in a hot oven (200oC) for 20 minutes and then reduce to 160oC for about three hours, until the lamb has come away from the bone.

Remove the lamb and cover with foil and tablecloths and keep warm and resting for about 30 minutes.

For the sauce:

Whilst the lamb is resting, strain all the juices from the pan through a sieve, pressing firmly to remove the last ounce of flavour. Let the fat in the juices collect at the top and then skim off. Put the haricot beans and a handful of quartered, pitted black olives, into the cooking juices and simmer whilst the juices reduce and thicken slightly. After about 25 minutes add a tablespoonful of ground almonds and a handful of finely chopped mint and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Gently separate the lamb from the bone into bite-size portions, removing any excess fat and skin and place on a serving dish, covering the surround with the sauce.

For the rice:

Cook enough portions of pilau rice and drain. Immediately stir in a tablespoon of ground coriander seeds and a tablespoon of good, extra virgin olive oil and rest for a minute or two. Then mix in a handful of toasted pine nuts, a handful of sultanas (which have been softened in warm water and then drained), a handful of finely chopped spring onions, a handful of finely chopped dried apricots (or fresh if in season) and a handful of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves. Finally, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and finish with a squeeze or two of lemon juice. Serve immediately.

For the carrots:

Gently sauté finely sliced carrots in olive oil for 15 minutes in a covered pan, with one finely diced red chilli until very soft. Blitz in a food processor together with two tablespoons of plain yogurt. Serve immediately.

I serve the four dishes in separate bowls, mezze style, and allow people to help themselves but you can serve it as you wish.


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