Showing posts with label Rosemary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rosemary. Show all posts

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Roasted Vegetables

You can’t beat lamb shoulder, slow roasted with loads of vegetables, rosemary and garlic. It practically falls off the bone, the succulent lamb is so tender. I promise you won't even need a knife.

This week my Sunday Supper group is joyously celebrating a wedding we wish we could really attend, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, the sequel to one of our favorite movies. It’s been a long time coming! When the theme for this week was first announced, all I could think about was the quote from Aunt Voula, and one of my favorite scenes from the first movie.
Aunt Voula: What do you mean he don't eat no meat?
[the entire room stops, in shock]
Aunt Voula: Oh, that's okay. I make lamb.
So I had to make lamb. We eat lamb a minimum of three to four times a month at our house, either roasted leg or shoulder, lamb steaks, lamb patties with mashed potatoes and gravy, not to mention grilled lamb chops. This dish is one of our favorites and would make a great main course for Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday which will be celebrated on May 1st this year.

Make sure you scroll down and check out the link list of all the other My Big Fat Greek Wedding-inspired dishes we are sharing today, along with our talented host, Nichole from Casa de Crews. What a fabulous Greek wedding feast this would be!

Adapted from

2 purple onions (approx. weight 9 oz or 255g)
3 carrots (approx. weight 9 oz or 255g)
2- 3 stalks celery (approx. weight 3 3/4 oz or 105g)
Few sprigs fresh thyme
5-6 fresh rosemary sprigs, plus 1 for garnish, if desired
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 lb 10 oz or 2.55kg lamb shoulder, bone in
2 1/3 oz or 65g cloves garlic (about 15)
2 red chili peppers (optional but we love the hint of spice that infuses the whole dish)
4 ripe tomatoes (approx. weight 11 oz or 312g)
2 cans – 14oz or 400g – whole plum tomatoes
1 2/3 cups or 375ml drinkable red wine (half a bottle)
2 bay leaves
1 large leek (approx. weight 14 oz or 400g, before trimming)

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C and make sure the shelves are positioned so that you put a pan with a big lamb shoulder in it. I use my large Le Creuset roaster so I put the shelf almost at the bottom to leave room for the cover and its round handle.

Peel the onions and carrots. Quarter the onions. Cut the carrots and celery into bite-sized pieces.

Strip the leaves off of your thyme and sprinkle half of them into the bottom of a large roasting pan, along with a good drizzle of olive oil, a couple of sprigs of rosemary and a good pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Season the bottom of your lamb shoulder with more salt and pepper and lay it on the herb bed.

Use a sharp paring knife to poke holes in the top of the lamb shoulder, then stuff these holes with a quarter or half a clove of garlic (depending on the size of your clove) and a few rosemary leaves.

Give the whole thing a good sprinkle of salt, fresh ground black pepper. Add on the other half of the thyme leaves and a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Add the onions, celery and chili peppers around the lamb shoulder.

Chop your tomatoes in large pieces and add them to the pot along with the carrots.

Pour in the canned tomatoes, along with half a can of water and the rest of the garlic cloves.

Pour in the wine and then tuck the bay leaves down in between the vegetables.

Thoroughly clean the leek, cut off and discard the hard green end, and then chop the white part into small cylinders. Add these to the pot.

Cover the roasting pan tightly with a double layer of heavy-duty foil or its tight fitting cover and put it into the oven. Turn down the oven temperature to 325°F or 170°C and cook for about three hours.

Remove the cover or the foil, baste the lamb shoulder with the juice in the pan or drizzle with a little more olive oil.  Cook for another 30 minutes or until the lamb is nicely browned and falling off the bone.

You can gently remove some of the bones before putting it on the table for folks to help themselves or pull it apart for them in the kitchen.

Either way, serve it with some crusty bread to sop up all the juices. Or over the top of some mashed potatoes.


Have you seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 yet? It just opened in the cinemas here in Dubai but I haven’t had a chance go yet so I am going to have to just console myself with some movie-inspired dishes instead. Won’t you join me?

Greek Appetizers:
Greek Soups:
Greek Breakfast:
Greek Main Dishes:
Greek Side Dishes:
Greek Desserts:
Greek Beverages:


Monday, October 26, 2015

Roasted Onion Brie Muffins #MuffinMonday

Roasted onions lend a subtle sweetness to this savory cheesy Brie muffin complemented by the added herby freshness of rosemary.

The other night I roasted a big pile of onions with just this muffin in mind for the leftovers. But since I know how we are about roasted onions, I actually removed the one cup from the serving dish before it even made it to the dining table and hide it in the refrigerator. (A small bowl of roasted onions left vulnerably open on the countertop will be emptied in no time in our house, just a pinch at a time. The same goes for crumbled bacon, grated cheddar and toasted pecans.) It was a good move, as it turns out, because we ate every last crunchy, succulent bite of the onions that were on the table.

Savory muffins may not be everyone’s choice for breakfast, but they sure make a great accompaniment to soup for a light lunch or dinner. These guys with roasted onions and Brie would be as happy on your holiday buffet table as they would be on a TV tray for a cozy night in.

2 sprigs fresh rosemary plus more to garnish if desired
1 cup or 125g roasted onions (from this recipe or your favorite)
2 1/2 cups or 315g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
7 oz or 200g Brie
1/3 cup or 80ml canola or other light oil
1 cup or 240ml buttermilk
2 eggs

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup muffin tin by lightly rubbing it with oil or use non-stick spray to coat. Or if you have silicone liners, those work too.

Mince your rosemary leaves and roughly chop your roasted onions.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and minced rosemary.

Cut the outside rinds off of the Brie pointe (if it has any) but you can leave the top and bottom on. Cut the Brie into cubes.

Reserve 12 bigger pieces for topping each muffin before baking then add the rest of the Brie a few pieces at a time to the flour mixture, stirring between additions, so that they are coated by the flour and won’t stick back together.

Add in the chopped roasted onions and stir again to coat them with flour.

Whisk together the oil, eggs and buttermilk in a smaller mixing bowl.

Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ones and stir a couple of times, until just combined.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups and top with the reserved cubes of Brie and some rosemary leaves, if desired.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.


I am delighted to have six muffins to share with you today! Which one will you bake first?

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Roasted Onions with Rosemary

There is something about the application of heat on onions that sweetens them as they roast, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and rosemary. Simple, but delicious. 

Onions are vegetables so why is it we so often use them as a flavoring for less well-endowed dishes, instead of giving them their rightful place as the star in a side dish? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for more than 14 years, which was the first time I made this Jamie Oliver recipe for cheesy stuffed onions with bacon. The main reason that many years ago was because my young daughters, still living at home, were not fans of cooked onions, although they both enjoyed them raw in salads. Perhaps your family is the same. Their father and I, on the other hand, love onions any way you’d like to prepare them but are particularly enamored when they are roasted.

A few years ago, when we were still living in Cairo, a friend was giving a dinner party and I was roped in to help. He would handle the starters and main course and I would bring the sides and desserts. One of the things I made was a huge pan of roasted onions that had been drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs. As they roast, the onion layers separate, some pieces breaking off entirely and becoming extra crispy in the heat of the oven, others softening sweetly into tenderness. I could have eaten the whole lot before it ever made it out of the kitchen.

We’ve been eulogizing those roasted onions for more than three years now. Last night I finally got around to making them again. I served them alongside some roasted chicken and they were sheer perfection. Just as good as we remembered. Which is somewhat of a relief.

2.2 lbs or 1kg small purple onions (Some people call them red onions but they sure look purple to me.)
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary or your favorite fresh herb, plus extra for garnish
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C. Peel your onions and cut the smaller ones in half. Cut larger ones in three or four pieces.

Set them cut side up on a large baking tray. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pull the leaves off of the rosemary and sprinkle them on the onions as well.

Drizzle everything generously with extra virgin olive oil.

Pop the pan in your preheated oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.

When the timer goes off, have a look at the onions. If the edges are just beginning to turn brown, leave them another 15 minutes on that side.

When that time is up, take the pan out of the oven and give the onions a gentle stir. Some of the outer layers of the onions will come loose, but that’s okay.

Put the pan back in the oven for another 15-25 minutes, checking periodically so that the onions don’t burn. You want them very dark in some places, crispy in others but still with some soft insides showing.

Remove them from the oven and taste for seasonings. Add more salt and pepper, if needed.

Sprinkle with a little more chopped rosemary, if desired.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Orange Rosemary Boule #TwelveLoaves

This orange rosemary boule is a yeast bread flavored with orange and rosemary. It makes a lovely accompaniment to your soup or salad. Or just eat straight up, spread with butter or cream cheese!
In every Paris boulangerie you will find boules for sale, breads shaped like the eponymous ball. Often they are so-called country loaves or pain de campagne, but they almost always have a crusty exterior and a soft crumb inside. Despite its shape, this particular boule bakes up more like a pain de mie, with a soft crust and a soft crumb inside. 

I am loathe to speak badly of Paris, because it’s a city I love, but there were times, many times, in the three years we lived there that I would have given anything just to see some sunshine. Winter was cold and grey and rainy. And long. The girls were little and seemed to have constant colds, accompanied by the inevitable runny noses and consumptive coughs that keep a mother up at night. 

Once the baby’s congestion was so bad that the pediatrician wrote her a prescription for a therapist who came to the house to bang her on the back and suction the mucus out of her chest. Too much information for a food blog? Yeah, well. That was my life. On the other hand, I learned to appreciate whatever joy I could find, even through the cold, wet days. 

One was the daily pleasure that was watching my children blossom and grow as little, articulate people. The other was the bakery just around the corner from our home. I’d bundle the girls up and we’d go for a walk, just to get out of the house. Stepping into the headily yeasty boulangerie, with its eye-goggling display of artisan breads and fancy pastries and Viennoiseries, a subclass of baked goods that include croissants, pain au chocolat and brioche, we were transported to a place where it was warm and inviting, indeed summer all year round. 

My elder daughter almost invariable chose a palmier – a sweet treat made from puff pastry, baked to a golden crunch, and my younger daughter, when she got old enough, chose a pain aux raisins – a brioche bun baked with raisins. My favorite take-home was a baguette they called tradition, shorter than a baguette ordinaire or standard baguette, that is baked after a longer fermentation time, with a thicker, crustier outside.

Orange Rosemary Boule

For this month’s Twelve Loaves, our ingredient is oranges which easily lends itself to many sweet options. I decided to go savory and add rosemary to the mix, forming the dough into a boule or ball. As it baked, both the oven and the wonderful aroma of oranges and rosemary warmed our rented house in Providence, taking me back to the welcome we received at La Fournée d'Enfance all those years ago.

1/2 cup or 120ml water
1/2 cup or 120ml orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil plus a little extra for oiling bowl for proofing
2 tablespoons grated orange zest plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 oz or 7g active dry yeast
Several sprigs fresh rosemary plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon sea salt
2-3 cups or 250 – 375g unbleached wheat flour (If you are using regular all-purpose flour, you might use even more.)
2 tablespoons milk

In large bowl, measure in 1/2 cup or 60g of your flour and make a little well in the middle. Sprinkle in your yeast and then pour in 1/4 cup or 60ml of the water that has been warmed. Let this hang out for a few minutes, while the warm water activates the dried yeast.

Meanwhile zest and juice your orange. Mine was a Minneola, a special hybrid between tangerines and grapefruit, distinguished by the knob at the end and being extra sweet and juicy. One Minneola gave me a 1/2 cup of juice so I ended up not needing the second one and just peeled it and ate it. Lovely! They are only available in early spring but if you can find some, buy!

Pull leaves off your rosemary sprigs and mince most of them finely. Keep a few leaves for garnish.

To your yeast/flour mixture, add in the orange juice, oil, zest, honey, rosemary, and salt. Be sure to reserve some zest and rosemary for garnish before baking.

Mix until you have a loose batter.

Mix in enough flour, a 1/2 cup or about 60g at a time, to form a soft dough. I used unbleached wheat flour. When I finished adding two cups, it was already fairly stiff so I kneaded in the last half cup. Bleached flour doesn’t absorb as much water so it might take you more if you are using regular all-purpose flour.

Turn dough out onto floured board and knead it for about five minutes, sprinkling on extra flour if needed. Form the dough into a nice round ball. Wash out your mixing bowl then dry it and oil it. Put your dough ball in and toss it around a little to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with a cloth or some cling film and put it in a warm place for about an hour. Meanwhile, grease your baking pan with a little more olive oil.

After the hour is up, punch the dough down and knead again for a minute or two.

Form the dough into a nice round ball and put it in your baking pan. Cover it with the mixing bowl and put it in a warm place for the second rising of about an hour.

When your hour is almost up, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

When your hour is up, use a very sharp knife or lame, to cut a cross in the top of the dough. Gently brush on some milk with a pastry brush. (I didn’t have a brush so I used some spare sprigs of rosemary. They didn’t add any flavor, of course, but I felt resourceful and creative so that’s worth something.)

Sprinkle on your reserved zest and rosemary.

Bake the boule in your preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes or until the dough reaches 180°F or 82°C when measured by thermometer in the middle or is golden brown all over and sounds hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing. If you can wait that long.


One of the goals of each month’s Twelve Loaves challenge is to encourage bread baking. I hope this wonderful list of orange flavored recipes inspires you to create some warmth in your own kitchen.

If you would like to join us this month, it’s easy:

1. Bake a bread using oranges and post it on your blog before the end of April 2014. This must be a new post. Your bread of choice recipe can include oranges, orange marmalade, orange zest, in fact, anything orange related but it must be IN the dough. In addition to being in the dough, it could also be added to a glaze. Whatever you bake, (yeasted, quick bread, crackers, muffins, braids, flatbreads, etc) have fun!
2. Mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your post. This helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts.
3. Add your link to the linky tool at the bottom of this post.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess. #TwelveLoaves runs so smoothly thanks to the help of the Renee from Magnolia Days and Heather from girlichef.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Crisp Brick-fried Chicken with Rosemary, Thyme and Garlic

Here’s a recipe I’ve been meaning to share for the longest time, (read from back when my photo taking skills were really pathetic - Sorry!) but other more pressing dishes got in the way.  Which is rather ironic since this recipe calls for a great deal of pressing, so to speak, down on the chicken, so there is hardly a more pressing recipe.  Yeah, okay.  You are probably not laughing like I am laughing but that’s all right.  As our friend Jamie Oliver says, “You’ll be laughing” when you eat this.  Because it is delicious!  It is also perfect for warmer months when you are craving roasted chicken but can't bear to turn the oven on.

1 chicken
Olive oil
3-4 long springs of fresh rosemary
1 small bunch of thyme
Sea salt
Black pepper
8-10 whole garlic cloves
1/4 cup or 60ml dry white wine

Spatchcock or butterfly the chicken by removing the backbone.  That is to say, put your bird breast down on a cutting board and then, using a knife or poultry shears, cut up either side of the backbone and remove it.  (Throw it in the freezer bag of bones and castoff vegetable bits you are saving to, one day, turn into stock.  Okay, start one now.  Go ahead, we'll wait and you won't regret it.)

Turn the chicken over and press firmly down on the breast to flatten it out as much as possible.  Use two hands and put your weight into it.  I did.  But I couldn’t take a photo and press at the same time.

Pull your rosemary and thyme leaves off the thick stems (fine stems can be chopped up along with the leaves) and chop them up.

Next sprinkle the bird liberally with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Press the chopped leaves all around on the chicken.

The inside

The skin side

If you have the time, let the chicken hang around with the seasonings for as long as you can before you have to cook it.  If it’s longer than an hour, go ahead and refrigerate it but it’s best, but not essential, if you can get it back to room temperature before cooking.

Start the cooking process by heating a little olive oil in in a non-stick pan.  Put the chicken in, skin side UP.

Weigh it down with a heavy iron skillet or another skillet with weight added by inserting cans or bricks to the skillet.  As you can see, I used an extra skillet and a kettle filled with water.  (Years back I watched the Frugal Gourmet, Jeff Smith, make a similar dish and he used bricks covered in foil laid directly on the chicken.  Hence the name but whatever you’ve got works, as long as it’s heavy and helps flatten the bird out.)

Clean pan on top of the chicken. Full kettle in the clean pan.

Cook the chicken until it browns, about 15 minutes over a medium heat.

Remove the weight and turn your chicken over, breast side down. Put the weight/s back on.   Sprinkle the garlic cloves around the bird and cook until the skin is crispy and brown.

The inside again

I set my timer for 12 minutes on this side but the bird wasn’t quite cooked when it rang.  The garlic was looking on the verge of burning though, so I scooped it out with a slotted spoon.  I turned the stove OFF and left the weights on for another 12 minutes and then it was perfect.   If you use a lower flame, you might be able to avoid this step.  A medium low flame for 24 minutes might just be perfect.  (Twelve minutes each side.)

Regardless of the heat level, your time will vary depending on how cold your chicken was when you started this process. A room temperature chicken will naturally take a shorter time to cook than one straight from the refrigerator.

You will know your chicken is done when an instant read thermometer stuck in the thigh reads 170°F or 77°C or when the juices run clear when the thigh is poked with a sharp knife.

Remove the chicken to a carving board and skim the excess oil off from the pot.

It looks completely black but that's just my poor lighting.  It was a delicious amount of charred.

Turn the heat up high and add 1/4 cup or 60ml dry white wine. Cook until it thickens slightly. Mash your garlic with a fork and add it back into the sauce.

See the little blue bowl back there?  That's how much oil I skimmed off. 

Warm through and serve alongside the chicken.  If you are not serving immediately, put the chicken back in the pan  and cover it with the lid or a bit of foil to keep warm.


And for those of you eyeing the quinoa salad, I can highly recommend it.  The original recipe post is here and that will tell you how long I've been waiting to share this chicken with you!

I’m on a touring holiday right now with my mom so if I don’t answer comments right away, please know that I am still delighted when you leave them and will respond as soon as I have internet access again.