Sunday, 2 May 2010

Lamb of God

Lamb is awesome. That is all.

On the eighth day, God created roast lamb. It's tender, juicy and flavoursome - hats off to my butcher once again. Mint and lamb are one of those flavour combinations that can be just thrown together without you having to put too much thought or effort into the dish. This recipe will serve one.


* 2 x best end of lamb chops
* About 6 asparagus spears, depending on the thickness
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* A splash of port or madeira wine
* Clove of garlic, smashed, skin on
* Handful of fresh mint leaves (or rosemary sprigs, if you prefer)
* Olive oil
* 2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
* 2 bay leaves
* 1 tbsp plain flour

  1. Turn the oven on at 190 degrees, pre-heat a saucepan to a medium heat and pre-heat a roasting tin or ovenproof frying pan on the hob at quite a high heat.
  2. Break the woody bottom ends of the asparagus off and peel the spears. Trim the excess fat off the lamb chops, but leave a little bit on.
  3. Add a little bit of olive oil to the saucepan, then add the lamb fat trimmings and let them render down. Add the garlic, bay leaves, mint and asparagus trimmings and saute for a few minutes, then cover with water, season it and bring it to the boil. Boil and reduce the mixture for about half an hour - this will make a nice stock that you will use for the gravy later.
  4. Meanwhile, season the lamb chops well on both sides and drizzle with a little Worcestershire sauce and olive oil. Put them into whatever roasting vessel you've chosen to use - they should sizzle vigorously on contact, if they don't take them out. Add a little more olive oil if it's really necessary, but use any additional fat sparingly as lamb is quite fatty anyway and quite a lot will have rendered down when you turn the chops over, plus a slight bit of charring actually makes the lamb taste better in my opinion. Turn them over once the underside has browned, which should take a couple of minutes, and let them brown on that side too, then add a splash of port and put them in the oven for about 15 minutes if you still want them to be a bit pink inside.
  5. Take the lamb out of the oven and let it rest on a plate (preferably in a warm place) while you make the mint gravy. Put the roasting vessel on the hob and turn the heat up to full, stir a little flour into the juices and then add the asparagus and mint stock. Bring to the boil and reduce, then strain into a jug or gravy boat (if you're posh) and skim any fat off the surface.
  6. To cook the asparagus spears, blanch them in boiling water for about three-four minutes until they're tender - don't overdo it though. I used the water from the boiled potatoes I served with the lamb.
  7. Serve with boiled or sauteed potatoes and drizzle with a generous amount of the gravy.

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