Pot Roasted Lamb with Braised Shallots

lamb and leek flower sauce

 

It’s absolutely freezing right now, the snow is falling and it’s time to raid the freezer for something that will gently braise away filling the cottage with warm hunger pang inducing scents. At the back of the freezer, much to my surprise I found a big hunk of lamb leg that I must have bought a good 6 months ago and completely forgotten about it hidden away behind the frozen elderflower syrups. I marinated it in a warming blend of garlic, rosemary and thyme whilst it defrosted then simply popped it in a big roasting pot with some peeled pickling onions, lamb stock and sherry. In Summer I tend to serve lamb with fresh mint sauce but colder days mean sturdier stuff so I opt for leek flower sauce which is an incredibly potent blend of leek flowers, salt and seasoning and packs a real flavour punch.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic, few sprigs rosemary, small bunch thyme, olive oil
  • lamb leg joint
  • 6 pickling onions, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons Essential Cuisine lamb stock powder
  • 300ml amontillado sherry
  • 3 bay leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper and Halen Môn salt

To serve:

Roasted veg, steamed savoy cabbage and leek flower sauce.

Method:

  1. Blitz the first four ingredients to make your marinade then rub it all over your lamb and leave for 24 hours.
  2. Put everything in a pot, cover then roast in the oven at 180C for about 1 1/2 hours then remove meat to rest covered with tin foil and tea towels whilst you reduce the liquid by about half to make the gravy.
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Marmite Lamb, Blackberry Beetroot, Lamb and Mint Yorkies and Green sauce

Sundays round my cottage mean one thing: a blissful afternoon in the kitchen – the red wine is open and The West Wing is playing on my laptop. Today was no exception and somewhat more excitingly I had a hunk of salt marsh lamb.

As I was getting a quick olive oil and rosemary marinade together for the lamb, it suddenly occured to me that Marmite would actually be a wonderful addition too, it’s salty umami flavour bringing out the meaty sweetness of the lamb, so in that went too. I can happily report that it was indeed a total triumph and will forever more be included.

I also had a few beetroot to roast too, and as I was washing the dark purple earthy little things, I glanced at my big bottle Bridget’s blackberry vinegar, and just like the marmite, it just made total sense to add bung that in too.

Now when it comes to yorkshire puddings I never just make plain ones, why miss an opportunity to add more flavour? I am a massive fan of Essential Cuisine‘s powdered stocks. Their flavour just can’t be beaten when it comes to bought stock (okay, they are actually better than my homemade ones too, sshhh) and because they are in powdered form they are absolutely brilliant for adding to sauces, batters and just sprinkling over meat and roast potatoes.  When I roast a chicken I use their chicken stock and some chopped sage to boost my yorkies to super sexiness, roast beef gets the veal stock and horseradish sauce treatment and today’s lamb was graced with lamb stock, mint and rosemary.

And what sauce for my meal? Well a quick forage around the herb garden produced a beautiful, vibrant kickass green sauce that made everything just that little bit more awesome, just as a good sauce should.

For the Marmite Lamb:

  • hunk of lamb (mine was a bit of shoulder and it was achingly tender)
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 heaped teaspoon marmite.
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped dried rosemary

Mix the marinade ingredients and cover the lamb, leave for at least an hour then roast in the top of the oven on its highest setting until the fat crisps and browns then move to the shelf below. Roast until the centre of the lamb reaches about 60C then take it out and rest for 15 minutes under foil that’s covered by a tea towel.

For the Blackberry Beetroot:

  • Small beetroot, washed but not peeled
  • big glug of Bridget’s thick blackberry vinegar (if you don’t have a thick syrupy vinegar then use your thin blackberry vinegar plus a big drizzle of balsamic glaze)
  • black pepper
  • sea salt flakes

Put your beetroot in a pot and pour over your vinegar then add your salt and pepper and mix well, leave to marinate for an hour then put them in a roasting tin, cover with foil and put in the top of your oven at its highest setting for an hour. Check them, if they are soft then remove the foil, give them a bit of a mix then roast uncovered to caramelise slightly.

For the Lamb Yorkies: (makes about 16, you can never have too many yorkies)

  • 300ml eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml flour
  • 1 tablespoon Essential Cuisine lamb stock powder
  • chopped fresh mint
  • chopped dried rosemary
  • few grinds black pepper

Just whisk it all together in a big bowl, leave for 30 minutes then whisk again, leave then whisk (thats just how I do it, works for me every time, electric or rotary whisks are perfect). Put a bit of dripping or oil in the bottom of your muffin tin hollows, heat in the oven (at highest setting still) until smoking then quickly pour your mixture in so that it about half fills each muffin hollow then put in the oven until well risen (about 20 minutes).

For the Green Sauce:

  • couple handfuls mixed fresh herbs (fennel fronds, chives, parsley, tarragon, mint)
  • dried chilli flakes (depending on how hot you like it, I like a big pinch)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • big glug extra virgin olive oil
  • zest of one lemon
  • Filipino spiced vinegar (distilled white vinegar that has garlic and chillies steeped in it)
  • few grinds black pepper

Just bash it all together using a mortar and pestle and leave to infuse for about an hour.

Oh there was also peas involved but you know what peas look like 🙂

Lamb Sweetbreads with Smoked Butter Samphire and Elderflower Gooseberries

This morning I looked out of the window and the pouring rain and screwed my face up, I had to go out in that. I had to go to the Farmer’s Market and pick up some rainbow chard for the veg patch, arse. I headed out in the rain only to return 10 minutes later, not with any rainbow chard seedlings (Ash wasn’t able to make the market today) but with a punnet of plump gooseberries and a bag of bright green samphire, aces. Despite having loads of writing work I needed to get done these purchases were screaming to be turned into something wonderful.  I’ve mentioned before about my synesthesia, I tasted the sharp gooseberry followed by a bit of the salty samphire, the shapes could work together with a bit of help. I could feel the shape that the dish needed to be and so I turned to my larder to set about finding the components to make that form happen. I should add that Glen was really skeptical about my decision to marry samphire and gooseberry before he tasted this dish, and was eyeing up the tin of beaked beans in the cupboard for lunch, but he went on to eat  3 bowls of it, yeah it rocked.

The only flower that is purely for decoration is the violet on the top of the dish. Parsley, chive and onion flowers are incredibly concentrated and without these the dish will suffer. The 2 tarragon leaves add a lovely burst of aniseed to the dish and in just the right amount. I don’t think you should put stuff on a plate that doesn’t contribute to the dish, the violet is there because it looks pretty and is edible, it’s value is sensory, and a dish should make you happy in a holistic fashion (my god that sounds really wanky but its absolutely true in this instance!).


Ingredients:

 For the sweetbreads:

  • lamb sweetbreads
  • cornmeal
  • type 00  flour
  • Spiced salt (Halen Môn)
  • beaten egg
  • oil for frying

Elderflower gooseberries:

  • 1 punnet gooseberries
  • 2 tablespoons homemade elderflower syrup (otherwise use Belvoir cordial)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 sprig rosemary

Samphire

  • 1 bag samphire (washed)
  • 1 knob smoked butter (mine is from Derimon Smokery on Anglesey who sell online)
  • freshly ground pepper

To serve:

  •  Parsley flower heads
  •  chive flowers
  •  onion flowers
  •  tarragon leaves
  •  violet
  •  marigold flower
  •  homemade Harvest Ketchup.

The homemade Harvest Ketchup recipe you will have to wait for until the harvest issue of Great Food Magazine is out because it is one of my “Recipes from Wyldelight Kitchen”. An alternative would be a really good sweet brown sauce like Tiptree (or your own obviously!). Method:

  1. Simply dust your prepared lamb sweetbreads in the flour seasoned with the spiced salt, then into the beaten egg then roll in the cornflour before deep frying for a minute or so depending on how big they are.
  2. Put your gooseberries in a saucepan with the syrup, rosemary and water and cook really gently for a few minutes until soft but still holding their shape.
  3. Blanch the samphire in boiling water for about a minute (I like mine to still “pop” when I bite into it. Drain then add your smoked butter and plenty of freshly ground pepper.
  4. To assemble simply put some of your smoked butter samphire on a dish, top with sweetbreads, surround with your elderflower poached gooseberries (and a bit of syrup), dot splurges of your sweet ketchup and scatter your herbs and flowers evenly about the plate. Dead easy, really tasty.

Lamb Sweetbreads and Early Summer Veg with Sheep’s Curd

Despite telling her many times, Glen’s mum still insists that sweetbreads are lamb’s bollocks, they’re not. Sweetbreads are the thymus or pancreatic glands from lambs and calves. This recipe uses the thymus glands from the neck of Spring lambs, their season is short so as soon as they start to arrive in my butchers I stock up the freezer.

They take a little bit of preparation but they really are worth it. Sweetbreads have a wonderfully creamy texture and delicate lamb flavour. Being quite fatty I tend to serve them with a squeeze of lemon if cooking them on the BBQ or like this dish, I make a zesty green sauce. The sheep’s curd is from Homewood Cheeses and it’s light creamy saltiness really makes the dish.

Ingredients:

  • lamb sweetbreads
  • unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots
  • good stock, I use veg or a very light chicken stock (Essential Cuisine is perfect as its powdered so you can control exactly how concentrated it is)
  • young veg such as baby new potatoes, chanternay carrots, asparagus, peas, lettuce, broad beans
  • dried sliced garlic (or fresh)
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh sheep’s curd, fennel fronds and pea shoots to serve

For the green sauce:

  • parsley
  • mint
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 finely chopped red chilli
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. To prepare the sweetbreads soak them for a few hours in cold water, changing it a couple of times to remove any blood. Then peel away the membrane surrounding the sweetbread and discard.
  2. Finely chop your shallots and gently sweat off on the butter. Add your stock, garlic slivers and the sturdier veg such as the new potatoes followed by the carrots etc. You want all your veg to be just cooked and still with a bit of bite to your carrots and pop to your peas. Depending on the size of your sweetbreads they should take about 7 minutes to poach so pop them in too. Check for seasoning.
  3. Whilst your sweetbreads are poaching prepare your sauce. Finely chop everything and combine.
  4. Serve the poached sweetbreads and veg in their own broth, scatter with fennel fronds, pea shoots and dollops of green sauce.

I also made a liquorice foam to place on the sweetbreads which you can just about make out in the photo but I preferred it with the mint foam that I made for the second time I made this, not essential but just added another layer of delicate flavour.