Easter lamb

Domini Kemp’s meat feast

 Lamb hot pot with harissa yoghurt. Photograph: Alan Betson

Lamb hot pot with harissa yoghurt. Photograph: Alan Betson


It’s hard to come up with something new and different for Easter, as the traditional stuff is always so appealing. Thoughts run from the mundane to the slightly more extreme: why not cook some rabbit on the big day? But boiling bunnies on such a holy day may not go down too well in households that are carefully unwrapping gold-leafed chocolate rabbits. So, for the sake of peace and quiet, I’ve parked that idea for a few weeks.

But because Easter is so early this year, I didn’t entirely think the whole lamb thing through. I scoffed at the notion that new season lamb may not be ready in time for Easter, and suddenly the dawning that we may be cooking something a little older on the day in question started to dictate the recipes on this page.

This was reinforced when I made a stew with chunks of boned shoulder of lamb and had to cook it for an hour-and-a-half longer to get the same meltingly tender results I should have obtained after two hours of gentle simmering.

So, instead I have two lovely lamb recipes and considering how crazy the weather has been, one will do if it’s cold and miserable and the other will be perfect if you find yourself looking at sunshine. The lamb skewers were very easy to do, and don’t feel the pressure to use rosemary skewers. The only reason I did is that the ones that have survived the winter in my garden were so stalky and tough, I decided to give them a final hurrah in the frying pan.

The pistachio aioli is wonderful. It is so good that I urge you to slather it on all sorts of fish and chicken, or even just keep it to blob on some boiled new potatoes. The colour is gorgeous and even though minced lamb can sometimes be too strong, this recipe was delicious. The aioli recipe will make more than you need for this lamb dish, but it becomes a tad addictive after a while, so embrace the extra quantity for use during the rest of the week.

The hot pot is a fabulous thing to come home to. Cook it for an hour at least, but after my recent stew experience, you could end up needing to cook it for two hours. So allow extra time.

Like most stews, this tastes better the next day so why not get it over and done with today, leave overnight and then just re-heat for tomorrow, especially if you’ve managed to get out for a lovely, long walk? This would be a one-pot, hot pot pleasure to come home to.