I love the delicate smoked flavour the fish imparts here and the sour sweetness of the tamarind – but vary the tartness to taste by adding another tablespoon of tamarind paste if you love it or omitting altogether if you prefer.
Recipe Category: Ginny Grant Issue 195
I think of celeriac as one of the most underrated winter vegetables with its delicate celery flavour and a light nuttiness. Its versatility makes it a valuable addition to a gratin, mashes, soups and of course raw in a remoulade.
I’d been toying with the idea of treating a vegetable in southern barbecue style for a while, and while this version is cooked in the oven, there is no reason why you couldn’t do it in a barbecue. Be aware that many barbecue sauces often contain fish, so if you are vegetarian look out for a sauce that is suitable for you. I like to use a tangy, sweet and lightly smoked sauce here.
When my eldest recently got braces, this vegetable-laden mac and cheese was one of the few things he could manage to eat (minus the crunchy topping). Vegetables, puréed until silky, go surprisingly well as pasta sauces, especially if they are cooked in a well-flavoured stock. I vary the mix to what I have around – parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes and turnips also work well and I always have a jar of roasted red capsicums in the fridge. The cheese varies depending on what I have to hand; sometimes it’s a mix of cheeses using up odd bits. Sometimes, too, I might have cream that needs using up so I replace the crème fraîche with that. The straight purée can also do double duty as soup.
Tart dried apricots from Central Otago are ideal to use here, where the fruit melts into the sauce and helps cut the richness of the lamb. It’s a wonderful dish to make ahead, too, just add the herbs and toasted nuts once you have reheated the lamb and chickpeas.