Being an absolute sucker for lamb, we really wanted to cook a lamb based meal that included a little beer but wouldn’t result in yet another stew.
After a little research, we settled on the idea of a pulled lamb with beer braised lentils.
The idea is to cook up a joint of lamb until it is soft and moist so that it pulls apart easily with a fork or two. The lamb will be sat on a bed of green lentils which will soak up all the flavour of our chosen wheat beer and beef stock whilst still retaining their texture and shape.
Finally, something green will be needed on the side just to freshen things up as this is going to be one rich dish, perfect for a lazy Sunday.
The beer of choice will be a Hitachino Nest, Weizen.
A German style hefe-weizen that makes use of weizen yest for hints of banana, clove and vanilla along with lightly toasted malts as well as a subtle touch of Chinook and Tetnang hops.
Here is what we came up with.
Pulled Lamb with Beer Braised Lentils
- 300g shoulder of lamb (Enough for 2 people)
- 200ml Beef Stock
- 1tbsp Cooking Oil
- Heat the cooking oil in a pan, season the lamb and seal the joint in the pan on all sides.
- place the lamb in a baking tray along with the 200ml of beef stock and create a tight seal around the tray with foil.
- Ensure the oven has reached 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4 and place the lamb in for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Check every now and again that the lamb isn’t drying out and that there is plenty of juice left in the baking dish. You can always top up with more stock if required.
Beer Braised Lentils
- 1 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 1 Onion (Finely Chopped)
- 1 Carrot (Diced)
- 200g Green Lentils
- 175ml Wheat Beer
- 600ml Beef Stock
- 2 tsp Thyme
- Heat the oil in the same pan that the lamb was sealed in and cook the onions until translucent on a medium-low heat. Finally add the diced carrot to add a little colour.
- Add the lentils to the pan and sir around to coat remaining oil.
- Pour in the wheat beer, bring to a gentle boil and continue to cook until the liquid has reduced most of the way down.
- Pour over the 600ml of beef stock, bring the stock to a boil then bring things down to a simmer, adding the thyme and stirring well. Allow the lentils to cook for around 30 – 35 minutes or until the lentils are cooked though.
A Little Steamed Savoy?
The dish will be screaming out for something fresh to break up from the richness of the lamb and the lentils.
Our solution was to take a few leaves of savoy cabbage, roll them up tightly into a cigar shape and shred the savoy finely with a knife.
Add to a steamer or a pan of boiled water and allow to cook for around 4 minutes to cook through, but leave a little bite and texture.
The finished dish was absolutely delicious, fusing the rich and meaty lamb with the subtle and slightly spiced lentils with a little bitterness from the wheat beer.
Adding the steamed savoy cabbage takes some of the richness and intensity away whilst offering a little freshness to really clean things up.
This is a recipe where it really pays to monitor the lentils and the lamb to ensure they are cooked to your liking.
Over cooking the lamb and would result in the overall meal being fairly dry which would be an absolute shame after all the time and effort producing both of the elements.
We used a fairly small shoulder of lamb, just be aware of the cooking time with a larger portion. It will likely take a little longer.
The only recommendation I would offer, would be to produce a jus with some of the left over beer. This could be done in the baking tray that the lamb cooked in to really make the most of anything left in the tray.
All in all, it was a delicious meal and well worth to time to cook up.