Put tuber and tuber together

2010-04-03 10:40

THOUGH most of us can only tell what’s seasonal by the price, it’s ­always best to eat with the season in mind – and autumn is when ­tubers, pumpkin and orchard fruit are plentiful and when you can ­enjoy the last of the summer vegetables.

Festivals celebrating tubers’ ­release from the earth are held in various countries. Yam festivals are held in ­Jamaica (tomorrow) and Nigeria (in August), and in the US state of Kentucky Tater Day will be celebrated tomorrow in honour of the sweet potato.

While it is possible to get yams here, sweet potatoes and potatoes are easier to find and most recipes that call for yams do just as well with one of the other starchy ­tubers, and vice versa.

Robust, starchy potatoes are the perfect food to ward off that familiar autumnal nip in the air.

And as autumn settles in, the shops fill with orchard fruits and butternuts and pumpkins return in abundance.

Here is a suggestion for an easy dinner that celebrates the colours and flavours of autumn. It’ll also be the perfect savoury antidote to those chocolate eggs you found in the garden this morning.

Layered Cumin Lamb with sweet potatoes

This recipe is easy to make for more people – simply add potatoes and chops accordingly and don’t scrimp on the cumin. This one feeds four and allows for leftovers.


8 lamb chops (you can use lamb neck instead)

4 large potatoes or sweet potatoes, sliced into rounds half a centimetre thick

2 tablespoons of cumin

1 handful of chopped parsley

2 large red onions, sliced

2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced

2 large eggplants, sliced

1 large orange, juiced

Half a cup of water or chicken stock


Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Lay the sweet potatoes in the bottom of the dish, then layer the sliced red onion on top, followed by the lamb chops.

Sprinkle the cumin over them.

Use plenty as this is the dish’s main flavour.

Lay the sliced eggplant over the top of the lamb, then the ripe tomatoes.

Sprinkle with a little more cumin and the fresh parsley. Pour the orange juice and the water or stock over the top.

Cook at 180°C for about 90 ­minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

Serve it with roasted pumpkin: Cube the pumpkin, roll it in olive oil, sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar and put it in the oven alongside the lamb to cook.

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