Lamb Jollof Rice

One of the best rice dishes – ever! Often a centrepiece at parties, I can’t imagine a celebration without Jollof. It is packed with flavour and is to West Africa what paella is to Spain, biryani to India and risotto to Italy. It’s delicious with just about any type of meat – lamb, mutton, beef or chicken – this dish speaks for itself.  Here is my interpretation of mum’s interpretation of a classic, using a combination of lamb cuts for their aroma and flavour.


  • Tomato sauce ingredients:
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2cm / 1 inch ginger, peeled and halved
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper or 1 scotch bonnet chilli, to taste
  • 400g / 14oz tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 guinea peppers, crushed, optional
  • Small handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Dash of Worcester sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to shallow fry
  • Jollof rice ingredients:
  • 700g / 1½ lb lamb, bone-in stewing and breast pieces, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, bashed
  • Thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 4 guinea peppers, optional
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli, pierced, or cayenne pepper to taste
  • Salt to season
  • Tomato sauce (as above)
  • Turmeric or curry powder to taste
  • 5 cups of basmati rice (ramekin size)


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C / fan 180°C / 400°F / gas 6
  2. Heat a heavy-based pan, add the oil, then fry and stir the onions until golden.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Leave to simmer until the sauce reduces and intensifies in flavour and the oil separates. This should take about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the guinea peppers and ginger.
  5. Place lamb breasts on an oven rack and roast for 25 minutes or till nicely browned.
  6. While breasts are roasting, add stewing pieces, onion, garlic, thyme, guinea peppers (if using) scotch bonnet chilli and salt to a large saucepan. On a moderate heat, stir, cover and leave to steam in its own juices till meat juices run clear.
  7. To create a stock, add enough water to just cover the stewing pieces and bring to a boil. Skim and discard any froth that rises. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer till meat is tender.
  8. Using a slotted spoon, remove the stewing pieces, place on an oven tray and brown in the oven.
  9. Add the browned stewing and breast pieces, the tomato sauce, along with a couple of heaped teaspoons of turmeric or curry powder to the stock, and return to the boil.
  10. Stir in the rice and mix. Pour in just enough boiling water to cover the rice and sauce and give it a final stir.
  11. Cover the saucepan with foil and replace the lid to trap in the steam.
  12. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or till the rice has absorbed all the liquid; is tender and a luscious orangey-red hue.
  13. Serve with a medley of vegetables – try steamed baby spinach, green beans fried plantain and carrots.

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