I have joined with Bord Bia to support the European campaign to promote lamb. Lamb can be quick and easy to prepare, is convenient, versatile and suitable for everyday meals, whether you’re a traditionalist or are looking for an ethnic twist. You’ll love its natural flavour. A wide variety of cuts makes it suitable for a range of dishes and cooking methods, from quick mid-week meals to special dinners at weekends or holidays. Lamb is grass-fed and raised outdoors across Ireland and the rest of Europe and sheep farming supports the local economy and communities.
2 racks of lamb cut in half (3 bones per serving)
Salt and cracked black pepper to season
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
8 pearl onions
Butter for frying
2 little gem lettuces, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon of butter
Red wine jus
For the crust
4 slices of stale bread made into crumbs.
Small bunch of parsley
4 sprigs of thyme
For the sweet potato fondant
1 large sweet potato, peeled
2 tablespoons butter
2 sprigs of thyme
Carrot and star anise purée
Place the lamb on a chopping board fat side up. Lightly score the fat layer with a sharp knife. Next, generously sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper. Mop up the excess seasoning with the meat, ensuring it is thoroughly coated.
Heat some oil in a frying pan on a high heat. Seal the lamb by placing each side in the oil long enough to develop colour. It is simple: no colour equals no taste so make sure you brown the lamb properly.
Transfer the lamb into a preheated oven at 190oC/410oF/gas mark 6 and bake for 7–8 minutes. While the lamb is cooking you can prepare the crust.
Place all of the ingredients for the crust into a blender and pulse several times until it looks nice and green. Pour the mixture into a deep dish and set aside.
Make the jus, then taste it and make sure it has the right balance of sweet and sour. Sometimes, you may need to adjust by adding a little more vinegar or honey. Pass it through a sieve just before serving. The jus can be made a day in advance and reheated before serving.
Remove the lamb from the oven and brush generously with the mustard. Dip the lamb into the crust mixture coating it completely. Dip it several times to ensure an even coating, then allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes covered in tinfoil.
While the meat is resting make the fondant. Cut the sweet potato with a sharp knife so you are left with 2cm-thick rounds. With a 5cm fondant cutter, cut out four perfect rounds of sweet potato. Whatever is left over keep it for a purée.
Add the sweet potato, 1 tablespoon butter, water and thyme to a small frying pan. Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes on each side until softened but not overcooked. Once cooked, pour away the liquid and cook the rounds in a little olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter with the pearl onions, until coloured on the outside.
Sauté the sliced little gem in a little olive oil, butter and salt for 30 seconds in a separate small saucepan on a high heat.
When you are almost ready to serve, place the lamb back into the oven for 3–4 minutes. Slice through each chop once ready. This is best served pink.
To plate up, put a little carrot and star anise purée and some of the little gem lettuce on a plate, then sit a portion of lamb on top. Add one piece of sweet potato fondant, a couple of pearl onions and spoon on the red wine jus.