30 August, 2008

August recipe: Stir-fried lamb with courgettes and peppers

August is the season for plump Mediterranean vegetables - courgettes*, peppers, aubergines, tomatoes and their like. I am a great fan of courgettes, but if they have a fault it’s that the plants never seem to know when to stop. So I'm always on the lookout for ways to use courgettes, preferably in some quantity. They stir-fry well, being quick to cook and ready to take up flavourings like garlic and soy sauce. I probably cook some variant of a courgette stir-fry about once a week in season.

Here’s a good basic recipe that’s both easy and quick. It's one of my standbys to cook after a long day at work, because once the ingredients are chopped dinner can be on the table in minutes. You can vary the ingredients according to taste and availability, e.g. it works well with pork or flash-fry beef steak instead of lamb. I happen to grow yellow courgettes, but it works just as well with the green kind.

Stir-fried lamb with courgettes* and peppers

Serves 2

7 oz (approx 200 g) leg of lamb. Leftover cold roast is ideal.
1 lb (approx 450 g) courgettes
Red pepper
Half a small onion, or 2-3 large salad onions
4 oz (approx 100 g) mushrooms
1 piece root ginger, approx 1” cube (approx 2.5. cm cube)
1 large clove garlic
2 Tblsp (2 x 15 ml spoon) dark soy sauce
2 Tblsp (2 x 15 ml spoon) dry sherry or rice wine

Cut the meat into thin slices.
Trim the ends off the courgettes and cut into slices if small, or into matchsticks if large.
Remove the seeds from the red pepper and cut into strips.
Peel and slice the mushrooms.
Peel and chop the onion, or slice the salad onions into rings.
Peel the root ginger and shred into fine strips.
Heat approx 1 Tblsp cooking oil in a wok or large frying pan.
Add the onion and ginger and stir-fry approx 1 minute.
Add the chopped lamb and stir-fry another minute.
Add the courgettes, pepper and mushrooms. Crush the garlic and stir in. Stir-fry another 2 minutes until the meat is cooked and the vegetables soft and starting to colour.
Stir in the soy sauce and sherry. Stir well to mix. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with rice or noodles.

*Called zucchini in North America and Australia


Constance Brewer said...

You'd think, being in Wyoming, where we have more sheep than people, good lamb would be easy to come by. It's not. I may have to call on my ranching friends to get decent lamb. In the meantime, beef works. :) I love stir fry anything with peppers and zucchini.

Jules Frusher said...

Oh, if only I liked courgettes, peppers and mushrooms! It looks really yummy though :-)

Gabriele Campbell said...

We call them zucchini, too.

That dish looks really yummy. I think I'll give it a try.

Bernita said...

Called zucchini in Canada too.
I love stir-fry.

Carla said...

Constance - so what happens to the sheep, if they don't end up in the local butchers? A friend of mine who emigrated to the US told me it was hard to get lamb in the US, but he thought it was because US farms mainly raised cattle.

Lady D - well, you can use different vegetables, as long as they fry in a few minutes. I use mange tout peas in spring and leeks in the winter, if that is any help.

Gabriele/Bernita - so it seems 'courgette' is very much the minority name :-)

Gabriele Campbell said...

You pilfered it from French and the rest of the world from Italian. :)

Jules Frusher said...

Thanks Carla - looks like it will be carrots and onions then ;-)

Carla said...

Gabriele - English never met a word it didn't like...

Lady D - if you stir-fry carrots, cut them wafer-thin or put a lid on the wok after adding the soy sauce and sherry and braise the dish over a low heat for five minutes or so.