I’m not sure if this is common knowledge, but many Asian people do not like the smell of lamb. A prime example of this is my old man, Bac Nam. He has been living in Australia for decades and has adjusted well to most things, but lamb is not one of them. I find this really odd, because Vietnamese cuisine uses some of the stinkiest ingredients known to man. Things like fish sauce, shrimp paste and fermented tofu taste absolutely fantastic but you don’t whip out these bad boys on a first date. Unless of course, you are planning for it to be the only date.
For me personally, I love lamb. My first taste of this heavenly protein was at a mate’s BBQ. I remember the smell of flame grilled lamb chops, wafting through the house and hitting me straight in the face. My natural tendency was to fight it. It was like I was programmed to say “no”. But of course, I ate it. I was rebellious but more so I was hungry. Ever since that day I have not looked back.
For the large part of our relatively short lives, Steph and I were food snobs. We never bought generic brands or cheap cuts of meat because they were beneath us. We were young professionals in the bubble that was Canberra and that meant eating at the best places and buying only the best ingredients. But times change. I got fatter, Steph got wiser and we now have a child… sooooooooooooooo, I have finally learnt the value of money. It only took 32 years, but I got there.
My new perspective on life was how we discovered the cheapo forequarter chop. We were looking to still have meals we enjoy but at a fraction of the cost. For years I would pass by the forequarter chop and head straight to the cutlet. But no more. Not after I realise that the cutlet is nearly 3 times as much. So, these days when I see cutlets, I just walk on by.
I used to cook the forequarter chops in the oven for a few hours to get it tender, but now that I have a pressure cooker it only takes an hour. It has been such game changer to be able to cook this type of meat fast! I usually have this dish with rice but you can have it with couscous, bread or mashed potato. It is really up to you.
So if you’re not living with anyone who hates lamb, and you’re after a relatively quick, cheap and easy dish, then give my Pressure Cooker Cheap Lamb Cut Casserole a whirl.
Pressure Cooker Cheap Lamb Cut Casserole
This hearty lamb casserole is a perfect healthy midweek dinner for the family.
- 1 - 1.2 kg lamb forequarter chops
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly cracked pepper
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
- 700 ml Passata (tomato puree)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sprigs of rosemary leaves only
- 3 medium carrots (200 gm), cut into small chunks
- 500 gm baby potatoes, with skin on and quartered (Note 1)
- 1 tsp of sugar
Trim the desired amount of fat off the lamb (I leave some for richness and flavour) and then cut into big chunks. Do not throw away the bones.
Season the lamb with 1 tsp of salt and freshly cracked pepper.
In a non-stick pan on high or in you pressure cooker on saute, add 2 tbsp of oil and sear the lamb chunks including the bones in batches. (Note 2)
Turn the heat down to medium (ignore if using a pressure cooker) and add the onion. Saute for a minute.
Add the celery and cook for roughly 3 minutes
Take the pan off the heat / turn off your pressure cooker and let it cool down for a few minutes.
Add the Passata and deglaze the pan. (Be careful of the steam or splash back generated if the pan or pressure cooker is still too hot!)
Add the lamb, bones, onions, garlic, celery, rosemary, bay leaf, sugar and Passata into the pressure cooker.
Turn on the pressure cooker and cook for 30 mins on high / stew setting.
Start cooking enough jasmine rice for everyone. (Note 3)
After 30 mins, carefully depressurise the pressure cooker according to your user manual and remove the lid.
Remove the bones, bay leaves and any unwanted fat.
Add the carrots and potatoes to the pressure cooker. Put the lid back on and cook for another 10 minutes on high pressure / stew setting.
After 10 mins carefully depressurise the pressure cooker according to your user manual and remove the lid.
Check the sauce for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
Serve with rice and garnish with parsley.
- I prefer baby potatoes but you can use any potato you have on hand. My only suggestion is to choose a waxy variety that is good for casseroles.
- Do not overcrowd your pan or pressure cooker with the lamb chunks / bones because you will steam the meat instead of searing it. Also, avoid moving the chunks of meat around too much. Give it ample time to brown on one side before flipping them.
- Skip this step if you're going to eat this with something else like fresh crispy bread or cous cous.