Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Slow Cooker Minty Lamb Shank

Minty Lamb Shank is one of the steadfast dishes at our home.  The dish is hearty, flavourful and very delicious. 

Minty Lamb Shank can be served at your family dinner table as well as to guests.  The flavour wonderfully improves as you reheat.  I therefore often cook this dish when we invite guests and prepare it the day before their arrival.  When the guests have arrived, all I have to do is to put the pan on the stove top to reheat, and I can concentrate on entertaining the guests with conversations and drinks.

I usually cook Minty Lamb Shank in the oven, but recently I have modified my recipe so that it works for slow cooker cooking.  It worked very well and was even easier to reheat the following day. 

Ingredients for 4 people
some olive oil
4 small to medium lamb shanks
salt and black pepper
1 large purple onion, chopped into small pieces
2 - 3 garlic, chopped
1/2 cup + 1 tbs mint leaves, chopped
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock - 2 cubes dissolved with 2 cups of hot water
1/4 cup white wine
1 table spoon tomato paste

Heat the olive oil on a large frying pan and place the lamb shanks inside, covering with a lid.  Fry for 5 - 6 minutes.  Turn, cover and cook for a further 5 - 6 minutes.

Transfer the lamb shanks to a ovenable tray or dish (i.e., Pyrex dish).  Lightly sprinkle with salt and black pepper.  Cook in the preheated oven at 400F for 15 minutes.  Turn them over and return to the oven to cook for a further 15 minutes.  Transfer the lamb shanks to a plate lined with kitchen towel to drain off the extra fat.

With a kitchen towel, wipe off the fat from the frying pan that cooked the shanks.  Heat the olive oil on a medium heat and cook the onion and garlic for 7 - 8 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of the mint, thyme and bay leaves and stir well.  Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

Evenly spread the half of onion mixture on the bottom of the crock pot.  Place the lamb shanks in a single layer inside, then scatter the remaining half of the onion mixture over the lamb shanks.

Combine the tomatoes, stock, wine and tomato paste well and pour over the lamb shanks.  Season with salt and black pepper.  Cover the slow cooker, turn on at high and cook for 7 hours.

For your information, when you reheat the Minty Lamb Shank the following day, simply turn the slow cooker to low and cook for 4 hours.

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If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE.

Bon appetit!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Vegan Friendly Teriyaki Tofu Burger

Once again, it has been a long time since I posted the last blog.  I hope everyone had a relaxing holiday and a great start to the new year.

On New Years Day, I made some resolutions for 2014 including to extend my cooking repertoire to vegetarian & vegan friendly dishes.  This does not mean I have suddenly changed my diet or beliefs.  I am still a very omnivorous woman!

I sometimes cook snacks and sweets for my husband's work colleagues.  Among them, there are some vegetarians and vegans.  They have never had a chance to taste my cooking as I was not considerate enough to choose ingredients which were suitable for any diet and/or belief.

I love cooking, but, even more, I love seeing people enjoying my food.  So, this year's cooking challenge is to create delicious recipes that satisfy omnivorous people, vegetarians and vegans.

As the start of my challenge, I have recently created a teriyaki tofu burger.  Caramelised sweet onion gives a hint of meat flavour, garam masala adds some natural umami, and "no-high fructose corn syrup" sweet teriyaki sauce boosts the taste of the burger.

I personally have never liked any tofu burgers before, but this was something different!  It satisfied me as a convicted meat and fish lover completely!

Ingredients for 4 people
1 12oz pack of silken tofu (I bought a tetra pack of Morinaga tofu)
some olive oi
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped finely
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped finely
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons cornstarch
salt & black pepper (to taste)
pinch of garam masala (about 1/8 teaspoon)

(Teriyaki Sauce)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin (sweet sake)
2 tablespoons sake
2 teaspoons caster sugar

Double wrap the tofu using two sheets of paper towel, place it on a plate and cook in the microwave at 1000w for 1 minute.  Remove the tofu from the microwave and turn it over while still wrapped.  Return the tofu to the microwave to cook for further 30 seconds.

Remove the sheets of paper towel and place the tofu in a colander.  Leave it to drain any excess water for about 15 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes or until the onion starts to discolour.  Add the sugar and cook for further 10-15 minutes until the onion is nicely browned and caramelised.  Remove from the heat and leave it to cool to room temperature on a plate.  Wash the frying pan thoroughly with detergent.

In a large mixing bowl, add the drained tofu, cooled caramelised onion and other patty ingredients. Using your hand, mix well until everything is well combined.  Divide the mixture into 4 (or 8 if you prefer miniature patties).

Heat the olive oil in the cleaned frying pan over a medium heat.  Wet your hands with a little bit of water, then take one of 4 (or 8) tofu mixture and form it to a half inch thickness (a quarter inch thickness if you are making miniature patties) either round or oval shape.  Place it on the frying pan.  Repeat for the rest.

Cook one side 4-5 minutes or until it nicely browns, then gently turn it over.  Cook the other side also until it turns to brown.  (The tofu burgers are very fragile.  If you do not brown each side well, it is more likely to break while turning over.  Handle with much care!)

Remove the tofu burgers to a plate and wipe off the extra oil from the frying pan.

In a measuring cup or small mixing bowl, combine the teriyaki sauce ingredients until the sugar has dissolved completely.  Pour the sauce to the frying pan and bring it to the boil.

Return the tofu burgers to the frying pan and reduce the sauce almost by half while turning over the burgers several times to coat the sauce on both sides.

The tofu burgers are extremely soft when they are hot.  I recommend to serve them with some Japanese steamed rice or vegan safe burger buns, after cooling for 5 - 10 minutes.

If you would like to know my recipe for beautifully soft vegan safe buns, please feel free to ask me using the comment box.  I am very happy to share that with you!

Before you go, click the ranking banners below 
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Many thanks and see you soon! 
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If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE.

Bon appetit!