How to successfully entertain your friends without being overwhelmed, breaking the bank and still enjoying yourself – Yoghurt & turmeric leg of lamb + slow-cooked Bloody Mary brisket
[**there are two recipes in this post… scroll a little further from the yoghurt and tumeric leg of lamb to find the Bloody Mary brisket recipe**]
You may have just jumped onto this post and wonder what the *&^ is going on?!
Fear not, this was a bank holiday weekend of friends, family and neighbours and the challenge of how to feed them all, not break the bank (always important) and have fun (even more important).
Having friends and family to stay is always brilliant but, in my opinion, what makes it even more fun and special is getting everyone involved in the food prep, the cooking, not just the-sitting-down -and-eating part.
No one wants to be tied to the oven, while everyone else relaxes around you.
This is how I tackled that challenge. … a LEG OF LAMB and an easy SLOW-COOKED BRISKET.
Firstly, a summary of my bank holiday menu:
- PART I: Friday night homemade pizza night – DIY. – TICK
- PART II: Saturday morning the one pan big brunch. Set everyone up for the day at the beach. (I think) quite an impressive way to feed a group with a bit of a ‘wow’ factor for the humble full breakfast. – TICK
- PART III: Saturday evening Leg of lamb with yoghurt and turmeric marinade, slow cooked Bloody Mary brisket, salads.
We’re now three meals down and have the big finale supper to get underway for the evening.
After we polished off the BIG ONE PAN BRUNCH, everyone is itching to get in the landy and down to Bantham beach – good surf, and a lovely float down the Swoosh (*this is another story)
My practical brain is still (thankfully) engaged…
First off, we need to prep the Leg of lamb and the brisket.
This is seriously simple and the result is seriously yum.
First, the LEG OF LAMB
Inspired by Tomasina Miers’ Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder with yogurt and tumeric but with a twist i.e. I didn’t have a lamb shoulder, I didn’t have time to marinade the day before, and I didn’t slow cook it.
I did have a leg of lamb which I took out from the freezer the day before (tips on freezing and thawing here). And I did pass on the job to Steph!
Remember, my dear friend Steph, #italianmama? She’s a great cook and so it was decided the lamb would be done conventional-style in the oven so that’s all taken care of.
TIP: If you don’t have someone to help on this, you can easily prepare the marinade a few hours or even day earlier.
Here’s Stephs’ take on the yoghurt and turmeric leg of lamb…
Yoghurt and turmeric leg of lamb
- 1 x 2kg leg of lamb
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 500 g Greek yoghurt
- 450 ml vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 large cinnamon sticks (or two small)
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp tumeric
- First, turn the oven on to 200ºC/400ºC/gas 6 to pre-heat
- Next, take the cinnamon, coriander, cumin and dry, hot fry until you can smell them (approx 30 seconds) then grind to a powder and add the turmeric
- In a bowl, mix the yoghurt and garlic (season to taste) and half the spice mix
- Put the lamb on a roasting tray and rub a tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Then cover the lamb with your spice-yoghurt mixNote: if you have time, place in the fridge for at least a few hours to marinade it. if you're super organised, do it the day before and leave overnight
- When the oven is ready, pop in and leave top cook for 1 hour 15 minutes (pink) and remember to rest for 15 – 20 minutes. (I use a meat thermometer to check it's on track and I haven't blown it!)
- Serve with the rest of the spice-yoghurt mix
Over to me (yes, I was busy. I wasn’t just kicking back with a cup of tea while Steph cracked on, not the whole time anyway).
BLOODY MARY BRISKET
One of my favourite, crowd-pleaser recipes that definitely wow’s people with its flavour and incredible slow cooked tenderness.
I’m doing it in the wood oven, I’m all about the outdoors this weekend. Of course, a conventional oven is perfect to slow cook and actually, a lot easier – temperature control can be a pain when going back to our cave man ways of cooking but I like a challenge.
Here’s what I did –
This is inspired but one of Jamie Oliver’s recipes. I think Jamie has some great recipes and a lot of them I’ve used in my wood oven.
Having said that, sometimes I simply don’t have all the ingredients so I free-style. This is one of those times and it is delicious… I also like a bit more punch when it comes to the bloody mary sauce so if you want, you can pair it down a little.
Slow-Cooked Bloody Mary Brisket
- 1 x 1 kg beef brisket
- sea salt
- ground pepper
- 1 head of celery
- 4 red onions (white onions if you don't have red)
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 fresh bay leaves (dried is fine as well)
BLOODY MARY MIX
- 1 x 700 g jar of passata (but I often just use two cans of tomatoes if I don't have passata)
- 1 tbsp horseradish
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- several drops of Tabasco sauce
- 4 tbsp vodka (you can buy little bottles to keep in your store cupboard, if like me you're more of a gin drinker)
- 1 good squeeze of a lemon
- Turn the oven on to 130ºC/250ºF/gas ½
- Put a casserole dish on a medium heat while you season your brisket all over with salt and pepper. The add the brisket to the pan with a splash of oil and cook until brown all over (approx 10 mins or so).
- Now, cut the celery into chunks, peel and cut the onions into quarters and throw into the casserole dish. Cook on a low heat now until they have softened (approx. 5 – 10 minutes)
- Make up the Bloody Mary sauce by mixing all the ingredients together into a jug. Pour the sauce, along with 250ml of cold water, into the pan
- Take your rosemary, thyme and bay leaves and tie a bouquet garni then pop into the pan as well. Now bring everything to the boil
- Finally, turn off the heat and cut large piece of grease proof paper (wet it quickly under the tap) to place directly onto the surface of the food. It's chef-y name is a 'cartouche' and it's there to help prevent evaporation of skins forming
- Put the lid on your casserole dish or cover with tin foil if you don't have a lid and slow cook for 6 hours or more, or until the beef falling apart.
- Use two folks to break up the beef and have pulled beef brisket
- Serve and see everyone's faces light up!