Friday, 3 June 2011

My Lamb’s Fry and Bacon Stew – Offal doesn’t have to be awful!

No really it doesn’t have to be awful! If you think about it people have been eating it for centuries and still do today. It makes sense to eat. It’s cheap and it stops part of an animal going to waste, although there is the “ick” factor…

The Back Story
I haven’t been feeling myself for a few months – No, I’m not changing the topic, I’m just telling you about how I got to eating offal. I just haven’t been very “focused”. I haven’t been able to concentrate properly, slightly dizzy and I’ve been feeling run down with no real reason. I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong with me so I ignored it.

I went to the doctor the other day just to get a medical certificate for taking the day off for a cold. While I was there I thought I may as well ask about my malaise. I asked the doctor if maybe I had diabetes or something (I have a family history). He checked my blood sugar and it was normal. He asked me a few more questions and then he said, “It sounds like you might be anaemic.”

‘Well,’ I thought, ‘At least I have a theory as to why I’ve been feeling the way I have.’ So after my doctors visit I looked about on the web and did some reading on anaemia, causes and treatments. I told my mother and she reckoned it was an issue she had as a young woman. One of the things she did to increase her iron intake (low iron is one of the causes of anaemia) was to eat liver. Liver is high in iron and vitamin A. So I was going to eat liver…. Hmmm.

I hit the net to see what recipes are out there for liver. I had a look and a common theme was lamb fried in bacon fat with a side of friend onions – BORING! So I gathered some ingredients and just improvised a pressure cooker stew.

The Recipe

  • lamb’s fry,
  • sliced 2 small onions,
  • cut 3 strips of middle bacon crossways,
  • found a large tin of diced Italian tomatoes in the pantry and tomato paste in a squeezy tube in the fridge,
  • collected dried thyme, rosemary, oregano
  • and a couple of vegetable stock cubes from my pantry

Then the improvisation began, I fried the bacon in a large frying pan for about 5 minutes and set aside, fried the lambs fry in the same pan in two batches, I needed to add a little spray olive oil to the pan for the second batch.

I then moved onto my pressure cooker (I’m a little bit in love with my pressure cooker, but I’ll tell you more about that another day :-)  ). I put a little olive oil in my pressure cooker and fried the onion for two minutes or so, added the bacon and liver and gave it a good stir.

Next I put in the tomato, quickly rinsed the inside of the can (don’t want to waste that tomato goodness) and poured in the water from the can (about 1/2 a cup) added the herbs, a really good dose of each, about 2 tbsp of tomato paste and the stock cubes and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.
I gave it a good stir and turned the heat right up to get the stew boiling. Kept stirring the pot often to stop any burning on the bottom and once the stew was steaming up a storm I plonked the lid on my pressure cooker and turned the heat right down.

I left the stew at pressure for about 15 minutes and while it was cooking sorted out the rice and peas that I am going to serve with the stew. Once the time was up I took the pot off the heat and let the pressure cooker reduce pressure naturally.
And I was rewarded with the lovely stew below. It tasted pretty damn good for offal, it wasn’t awful at all :-).

My Stew ready to serve up - Yummo!

I would have taken a picture of the stew served up on a mound of rice and peas on the side. But I didn’t do that. I just piled the rice, stew and peas in a bowl, mixed it together and ate it all up. The peas added a lovely freshness to the meal, so a definite must!

When I do this again I think that I’ll brown the liver in the pressure cooker in fewer batches instead of dirtying a frying pan (I hate making more dishes than necessary). I’d also just fry off the bacon and onion together and then add all the other ingredients. that would make it easier and quicker. I think I would leave the water from the can and instead add a generous slurp of red wine.

Is there something that you wouldn’t eat? Is there something interesting that you DO eat?

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