Hearty Leek and Lamb Cobbler


  • 2 tbs plain flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 450 g (1 lb) stewing lamb such as shoulder, cubed (or use pork shoulder or braising beef)
  • 2 tbs vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 150 ml (¼ pt) brown ale
  • 4 medium leeks, trimmed then cut into thumb lengths
  • 1 stick celery, sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks
  • 400 g (14 oz) swede or turnip, peeled and cut into big chunks
  • Few sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried is fine
  • 500 ml (18 fl oz) lamb or beef stock
Recipe courtesy of www.britishleeks.co.uk.

For the cobbler topping

  • ½ tsp salt
  • 250 g (9 oz) self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 80 g (3 oz) cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz) semi skimmed milk
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • To Serve: seasonal greens.
Recipe courtesy of www.britishleeks.co.uk.
  • Heat the oven to 160 deg. C., 325 deg. F., Gas Mark 3.
  • Season the flour with salt and pepper and toss the lamb in the seasoned flour until coated.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a flameproof casserole, then add the meat and fry for 10 minutes, until dark golden brown all over. Transfer to a bowl. Add the ale to the casserole and bring to the boil, scraping up all of the tasty brown bits from the bottom. Tip this over the meat then wipe the pan with kitchen paper.
  • Heat the rest of the oil in the casserole then gently fry the vegetables with the thyme and bay for 10 to 15 minutes until turning golden here and there. Return the lamb and juices to the casserole, top up with the stock, then season. Cover with a lid, leaving just a small gap to one side, then cook in the oven for 2 hours.
  • With 40 minutes to go, make the topping. Add the salt to the flour in a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Combine the milk, mustard, thyme and half of the egg, then tip into the bowl and bring to a soft dough. Knead a few times on a floured surface till just smooth, then pat the dough to about 3 cm (1 in) thick and stamp into rounds. Squash together any trimmings and repeat. Dont overwork the dough as it will make it tough.
  • Uncover the meat, stir gently and check the sauce for seasoning, adding more to taste, if needed. Place the cobbler pieces on top, brush them with the remaining egg, then return to the oven until the topping is golden and lamb tender. Let the cobbler settle for 10 minutes before serving with your favourite seasonal greens.

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