Thursday, April 02, 2009

One-pan lamb chops

Allegra McEvedy has offered some very attractive recipes in the Guardian recently. I think I shall give this one a miss, however. Perhaps it's unfair not to have a go; but there are several details that make me think it would give me trouble.

You fry spiced lamb chops, then onion rings, then slices of butternut squash. You layer them in the frying pan with broccoli, pour stock over it all, and bake for 10 minutes.

First, I would not use a cast iron pan of the type illustrated in the newspaper. Any seasoning that the pan has had - the accretion of a slick layer thanks to cooking fat - will be compromised by the deglazing effect of the stock.

Allegra McEvedy can peel and slice a squash in four minutes, while her onion rings are frying. That is beyond my competence. My biggest reservation, though, concerns the cooking time. Squash is often tough. You cannot rely on it to tenderise after a brief frying and a 10 minute immersion in stock, as it receives here - even assuming that the stock is sufficient to immerse it. The broccoli might be a problem, too. If it does not touch the liquid, it might remain crunchy; if it is immersed, it will overcook.

What do you do with all the liquid at the end? Use some as sauce, and the rest later as stock, I suppose.


pablopatito said...

I had a similar problem with her sausage, leek and cheese stew. In that, you cook pasta in the pan with the other ingredients. But I found you need a lot of liquid to cook the pasta, and it turned into soup, rather than a stew.

I've made it again but cooked the pasta separately and it was great. It seems like its one of these cases where writers think they're making life easier by using one pan, when in fact using two or three pans is easier.

Nicholas Clee said...

Glad you agree. It's very satisfying to cook everything in one pot, but difficult unless you're able to ensure that each ingredient gets its optimum cooking time. This can apply even to forgiving ingredients. For example, when I make a pork and (dried) bean stew, I usually cook the beans first.

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem I find is that this recipe along with the sausage, leek and cheese thing and just about everything else she's come up with for the Guardian sound absolutely horrid. I'm sure she must be very talented, but I think she has no taste. Yuck.

Nicholas Clee said...

I wouldn't go that far! She likes robust flavours - and that suits me. Occasionally, though, I find her recipes impractical.