Some of London’s top chefs share their favourite spring lamb recipes, just in time for Easter weekend…
Atul Kocchar’s punjabi lamb shanks
- Serves 4
Ingredients4 x 400g lamb shanks, trimmed
12 plums, cut in half, stones removed
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Watercress sprigs, to garnish
Meanwhile, after about 1 hour, start the potatoes. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the potatoes and boil for 12–15 minutes until tender. Drain well and pat dry.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the finely chopped red onion for 2–3 minutes until softened. Add the potatoes and sauté for 3 minutes to give them a golden brown colour, then transfer to a bowl with the tandoori vegetable marinade and mix together. Leave to marinate for 1 hour.
After the shanks have marinated, heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Scrape the excess paste off the shanks and add them to the pan, in batches, if necessary, to sear on all sides until lightly coloured.
Drain on kitchen paper to remove the excess oil, then set aside.
To make the gravy, heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole, add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves and bay leaf, and sauté over a medium heat until the spices crackle.
Add the onions and continue sautéing for 8–10 minutes until they are light brown in colour. Add the fresh ginger, garlic and green chillies, and sauté for further 2–3 minutes until the garlic is softened.
Stir in the tomato purée, ground coriander, chilli powder and turmeric, and sauté for 1–2 minutes until the ingredients are combined. Stir in the lamb stock.
Add the lamb shanks and plums and coriander leaves, and bring to the boil.
Cover the pot, lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours, turning the shanks once during cooking, or until the lamb is perfectly cooked and almost falling off the bones.
Meanwhile, to roast the vegetables, preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Rub the carrots, courgettes and quartered red onions with olive oil.
Place the carrots and onions in a roasting tray and roast for 10 minutes.
Gently crush the potatoes in the marinade and add them and the courgettes to the oven and continue roasting all the vegetables for a further 10 minutes, or until they are tender and lightly charred.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the finely chopped coriander leaves, lemon juice and chaat masala to the potatoes, and keep hot with the other vegetables.
When the lamb shanks are tender, set them aside and remove the cinnamon stick from the gravy. Blitz the gravy in a blender or food processor and pass through a fine sieve. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and stir in the butter to enrich and give a good shine.
Serve the lamb shanks in wide bowls, with the gravy spooned over, and the potatoes and vegetables alongside. Garnish with watercress sprigs.
Randall & Aubin’s cannon of lamb with haricots and sauce persille
Ingredients2 x 8oz lamb cannon trimmed of all fat
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
Salt and pepper
1 sprig chopped rosemary
1/2 pt gravy
Add the white wine and bring to boil now add the beans and stock turn down the heat and cook out on a low heat for 30 mins stirring occasionally.
Season to taste.
To make the sauce chop the parsley and garlic and add seasoning, olive oil and lemon juice. Stir and put to one side.
Heat the pan over ¾ heat with the oil till smoking. Lay the lamb into the pan and seal for 40 seconds on each side. Now turn the heat to low and cook gently, occasionally turning the meat.
After 5 mins add the butter and chopped rosemary. Remove the pan from heat and leave the lamb in the pan to rest for 5 minutes.
Remove the meat and place on a warmed plate. Cover with foil.
Add a little pre-made gravy to the lamb pan and bring to gentle boil.
Spoon the beans into a bowl. Slice the lamb and place over the beans.
Pour over a little gravy and finish with the sauce persille.
Verden’s leg of lamb with salsa verde
Ingredients1 boned and butterflied leg of lamb
1 bunch of rosemary- picked and finely chopped
1 bunch of thyme- picked and finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic- finely chopped
Salt and pepper- to season
Once your barbecue is nice and hot, place your leg of lamb onto the well-oiled bars. Cook for around 20-30 minutes each side depending on thickness and how you like your lamb cooked.
Meanwhile, make the salsa verde. Finely chop all your dry ingredients, and then add the mustard, vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste.
Once the lamb is ready, remove from the barbecue and leave to rest for 20 minutes, covered in some foil.
Once rested, carve and serve with a generous serve of salsa verde and some buttered potatoes.
Paul Croasdale’s 48 hour shoulder of Welsh lamb
Ingredients1 good organic Aubrey Allen lamb shoulder, boned but not rolled
Bulb of garlic peeled and chopped
Maldon sea salt
Enough lamb or chicken stock to cover
200g sea vegetables
1 kilo of clams (optional)
Lightly spread the tomato paste on the flesh side and then season with salt, the chopped garlic and the chopped black olives.
Roll up into a tight cylinder and tie with butchers string as tight as possible to keep its shape during cooking. Set your oven to 80°C and season the lamb well on the outside.
Seal or pan fry until golden on the outside and place in a casserole dish. Cover with stock.
Cook in the oven uncovered for 8 hours or until tender (prod with the back of a spoon there should be no bounce). When ready take out and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
To make the garnish choose any sea vegetables available and in season at the moment (e.g monks beard, welsh samphire and sea fennel). Pick any dead stems and wash thoroughly. Salad spin till dry.
Place the lamb shoulder in to a 200°C oven for 6 minutes to crisp the outside.
Remove the fat from the left over stock by bringing it up to a simmer and skimming of any fat that comes to the top. This is your broth/sauce.
Blanch the sea vegetables.
Optionally steam a kilo of clams to serve with the broth.
Daylesford’s roast lamb leg
One of the finest ways to showcase wonderful meat is in a classic, timeless roast. However, roasting meat isn’t an exact science, because every chicken and every joint of beef is different, as is every oven, so it is better to get into the swing of using your eyes, sense of smell and touch to gauge when the meat is ready, rather than relying on charts. Remember, when you are cooking beef or lamb, fat is flavour. An ultra-lean cut will never be as succulent and tasty as a cut that has a fine marbling of fat running through it - which is why when you buy a piece of silverside or topside beef, a butcher will often tie a piece of fat on to it for you. For me, roast lamb leg needs to be medium, not as pink as, say, grilled chops, because the longer cooking allows all the fat to melt into the meat, flavouring and tenderising it.
IngredientsLeg of lamb
Salt and pepper
Tie the joint (or have your butcher do this) so that it keeps its shape.
If you have kept any lamb fat from a previous roasting, heat this in a roasting pan on the hob, or alternatively heat some vegetable oil. Season the lamb at the last minute with sea salt and black pepper, put it into the pan and colour it all over, then transfer to the oven and turn the heat down to 180°C / gas mark 4.
As the meat roasts, baste it with the juices and let it cook until the point where, once rested, it will be medium. To test for this, use the skewer test. Run a cold tap over a metal skewer so that it is very cold, insert it into the centre of the meat, leave it there for 5 seconds, then quickly remove it and put it carefully to the back of your hand. If the skewer still feels cold, the meat isn’t ready. If the skewer comes out hot, but not burning, it means that the meat will be medium by the time it has rested.
Take the meat out and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes, covered with foil, to allow the meat to relax and for the heat to finish transferring through to the centre. Provided it passed the skewer test, it will be perfectly medium.
Adrian Martin’s Kentish loin of lamb
- Serves 4
Ingredients2 racks of lamb, boned
1kg maris piper potatoes
4 fresh button onions
1ltr lamb or good quality stock
1Ž2 bunch rosemary
200g broad beans
Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan.
Season the potatoes and place into the pan. When golden brown, turn and place in the oven and cook at 180°C until cooked.
Cut the lamb into 4 pieces. Season and pan-fry the lamb for approximately 12 minutes.
When cooked, place somewhere warm for 5 minutes to allow the meat to rest.
Place the peas and broad beans in boiling salted water and simmer for 3 minutes.
Blanch the spring onions and keep warm.
Put the lamb back in the oven for 4 minutes to get hot again.
Arrange the lamb on a plate.
Add the peas and broad beans, potatoes and spring onions.
Garnish with a few lettuce leaves, if desired.
Blanchette’s braised lamb shoulder with anchovy, rosemary, confit garlic and sauce soubise
Ingredients1 shoulder of lamb
100g anchovies in oil
5 bulbs of garlic
1 pack of butter
Splash of white wine vinegar
100g tomato paste
Bunch of rosemary
100g duck fat or light olive oil
2 glass of red wine
2L chicken of lamb stock (store bought is fine but I recommend the fresh stuff not powder)
Spoon of redcurrant jelly
Place in container with the carrots, leek, one of the onions all roughly chopped, and the wine, cover and leave overnight.
The next day remove the lamb and veg from the wine, brown off the lamb and veg (and the lamb bone if you have it). Use a deep pan, baking tray or casserole dish, add the wine back to the pan you browned the lamb in to “de-glaze”, add the stock, tomato puree, redcurrant jelly. Make sure lamb is covered with the stock. Place a tight fitting lid or tin foil and place in a preheated oven at 170°C.
After 2 ½ hours, remove it from the oven and check the lamb. It should be soft but not falling apart - you should be able to push a carving fork through it easily. If it is still very elastic it needs longer! If ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool a little.
Strain the sauce, skim off the fat and reduce to taste.
To make the sauce soubise (onion puree) peel and chop the 3 onions (large Spanish onions). Place in a sauce pan with 150g of butter, a pinch of salt and a splash of white vinegar. Put on a tightly fitting lid and simmer for a few hours until the onions are soft.
You want a little caramelisation on the onion but not a lot - if they start going too far add a little water. If you have a pressure cooker this sauce is much quicker!
When onions are completely soft allow to cool a little then blend and adjust seasoning.
For the garlic, place peeled garlic cloves in a pan with cold water and bring to simmer.
Discard the water and repeat 3 times (this removes the harshness of the garlic), then add to some warm duck fat or light olive oil and simmer for about 30 minutes until lightly golden.
To plate, put some of the warm onion puree on the center of the plate, carefully place the lamb on top with some of the sauce with some fresh rosemary. Garnish with the confit garlics and a sliver of anchovy – enjoy!
Peter Gordon’s lamb on cherry potato salad
- Serves 4
Ingredients4 x 160g lamb rumps (or any other prime cut), trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
300g new potatoes
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 tsp oregano or thyme leaves (or a mixture of both)
16 cherries, pitted and halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 handfuls salad leaves
Score the lamb fat. Place a frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tsp oil, then place the lamb in fat-side down. Cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes to render some of the fat from the rumps and give a lovely colour.
Turn the rumps over and transfer to the roasting dish, then put in the oven. Roast for 13-15 minutes for medium-cooked.
Turn the oven off and leave the door open while you rest the meat and finish the dish.
Boil the potatoes in salted water until cooked, then drain and cut in half if small, or slice to 1cm thick.
Caramelise the onion and garlic over medium heat in the remaining oil, stirring often. Add the potatoes, herbs and cherries and continue to cook so that it’s all warmed through. Season, mix in the vinegar, then take off the heat.
To serve, divide the potato salad among four warm plates and scatter with the salad leaves. Slice the lamb against the grain and lay on top.
Rohit Ghai’s Andhra lamb masala
- Prep Time 15
- Cook Time 15
IngredientsMutton -1/2 kg
Onion - 200 g
Tomato - 100 g
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking
Chop the onions and tomatoes. Keep aside.
Take a Kadai and dry roast all the masala. Once cool, grind to a fine powder.
Heat the oil and add the curry leaves. Add onions and sauté till the onions are brown.
Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook well.
Add the tomatoes and mutton pieces and cook on a high flame till the tomatoes are soft.
Add the ground masala and simmer for 5 mins, then add the water and bring to boil. Cook on a high flame until the water evaporates leaving a nice thick gravy.
Now fry the pieces until oil comes out. Once the water is completely gone, each piece gets a nice coating around it.
In the end, add the remaining pepper powder over the pieces and stir it well.
Guy Awford’s slow cooked lamb shoulder with olives and preserved lemon Hollandaise
Slow cooked lamb shoulder with white bean puree, grilled spring onions, olives and preserved lemon Hollandaise
- Prep Time 45
- Cook Time 35
- Serves 2
IngredientsShoulder of lamb, 2kg on the bone and marinated
400g dried white beans, soaked overnight, boiled until soft and pureed
½ red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 spring onions
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
Drizzle the lamb with olive oil and season generously with salt. Pour a cup of water into the oven dish.
Cook for 1 hour at 160°C to colour the skin. Reduce to 120°C and cook for a further 3 hours, basting and adding a splash more water every 30 minutes.
Heat a little olive oil in a large pot and fry the onions, garlic, bay leaf and fennel seeds until the onions are soft and just beginning to colour.
Add the saffron and cook for a further minute. Add the bean puree and cook for 5 minutes.
Brush the spring onions with olive oil, season and griddle for 2 minutes on each side until charred.
Pull the lamb from the bone and serve with the bean puree and the spring onions.
Spoon over the olive and lemon dressing and drizzle over some roasting juices.
Vivek Singh’s slow-braised lamb leg filled with Montgomery’s cheddar, dried nuts and fruits
- Serves 4
Ingredients1 leg of spring lamb, weighing about 1½ kg
For the marinade
250g Greek style yoghurt
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
2 onions, sliced and fried until crisp
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
1½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil
6 bay leaves
2 tsp royal (black) cumin
5 no green cardamom
3 cinnamon sticks approximately 2inch each
1 tsp salt
1 cup malt vinegar
For the filling
60g khoya (reduced milk cakes, available in Indian stores), grated
60g Montgomery’s cheddar, grated
4 dried figs, cut into 5mm (¼-inch) dices
4 dried apricots, cut into 5mm (¼-inch) dices
1 tablespoon raisins
2 tablespoons cashew nuts, roasted and crushed lightly
2 tablespoons almond flakes, roasted
2 tablespoons pistachio, roasted and crushed lightly
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped
4 green chillies, chopped
½ teaspoon royal (black) cumin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lime
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade. Rub the marinade over the leg of lamb, both outside and inside the cavity, and leave for 15 minutes.
To make the filling, combine all the ingredients and then use it to stuff the lamb leg. Truss the leg using a butcher’s needle and twine to close the open part completely.
Transfer it to a roasting tray and add the ingredients for braising. Add enough water to cover the lamb leg, cover the tray with tin foil and place in an oven preheated to 175°C. Cook for about 2 hours until it is very tender and ready to fall off the bone.
Take it out of the oven and allow it to cool down. Remove the leg from the liquid and allow it to dry, cool and keep aside. Pass the juices through a strainer and reserve to make a sauce.
Cut the meat into slices 1cm (½ inch) thick and serve with accompaniments of your choice.