We couldn’t think of a better way to end our celebration of British food in September by looking at one of our favourite Sunday dinner staples – lamb.

Granted, we can’t claim it as our own, because if we did, the good people of New Zealand, who are also well known for their lamb, may have a thing or two to say (and we certainly don’t want to upset everyone’s favourite world politician, the amazing Jacinda Arden), but few would argue that British lamb is the best in the world.

But before we ramble any further, here are some fantastic fun facts:

  • Did you know that 97% of water sheep drink is water that falls from the sky?
  • Did you also know that 70% of our sheep live on land we can’t grow crops on, like mountains and hills?
  • And did you (finally, we promise) know that our weather and landscape make the UK one of the most sustainable places to produce lamb?

See, every day is an education in the SK Kitchen! (disclaimer, thanks to our friends at Simply Beef & Lamb for these top facts).

One of the reasons we’re discussing lamb, apart from providing an excuse for Chris’s recipe this week, is that we are entering into the traditional breeding season of sheep.

So, as we speak there’s lots of ‘tupping’ going on. In other words, the ram (male sheep) is having lots fun with the ewe (female sheep) and if all goes well, in approximately 147 days there will be lots of lovely cute lambs running around our fields.

Then, around 6-8 months later, we’ll be sitting down to eat said lamb as part of our Sunday roast, midweek when we enjoy lamb chops or on a Friday night served in a curry.

Sorry, all your vegetarians and vegans, this blog is definitely not for you this week.

From an environmental perspective however, lamb is a green dream. It’s the ecologically friendly of all the farmed meats we eat. There is no animal more naturally-raised – it’s all free range and the feed just grows at their feet, i.e. grass. Sheep don’t need water in the vast quantities other cattle require (see stat above) and farming them is in itself a form of recycling because they graze hills and marginal land, recovering nutrients from poor grass and weeds other livestock won’t eat.

Oh, and it tastes lovely too!

Recipe:

Trio of English lamb with blackberries and dauphinoise potatoes

Confit Shoulder of lamb

  • 1 lamb shoulder
  • 20g chopped parsley
  • 20g chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 15g sea salt
  • 4 litres of veg oil

Mix together the herbs, garlic and sea salt and rub into the lamb shoulder and leave for 1 hour after a hour remove as much of the salt as possible. Then in a large stock pot place the shoulder in the pan and cover with the oil turn the heat up high for 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat and leave the lamb to cook for about 4 hour. To check if it’s ready it should easily fall of the bone. When it’s ready take out the oil and leave on a cooling rack with a tray underneath to catch any excess oil. Once the lamb shoulder is cool enough to touch start pulling apart the meat, removing the bone and any extra fatty pieces. 

Line a bread tin with cling film and pack the meat in, pushing down and pressing the meat in as much as possible. Cover the top with cling film and then put in the fridge to cool, this should make it easy to slice when you come to heat it up.

Crispy lamb shank croquette

  • 1 large lamb shank
  • 1 carrot 
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 a bulb of garlic split half horizontally
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8g salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 230g of readymade mash potato
  • 150g caramelised onion chutney
  • 4 eggs whisked together with 100g milk
  • Plain flour
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • 20g butter

In a hot frying pan heat up the oil and seal lamb shank off with the veg and garlic. Then transfer to big sauce pan cover with water and cook on a medium heat till the shank is tender and the meat is falling off the bone. Take out the lamb shank and leave to cool so you can handle it. Once cool enough to handle pull apart the meat from the bone and chop up. Then mix together with the mash potato, caramelised onion chutney and the salt and pepper and chill for 15 minutes. Ball into about 25g balls chill in the fridge again for 15 minutes before bread crumbing by dipping and coating first into the flour then egg mix and then into bread crumbs. Allow to firm up before deep frying at 180oc for 3 minutes or until piping hot.

Leave the lamb shank cooking liquor on the heat and allow to reduce till a shiny thick sauce is left, finish by adding the butter.

Lamb rack

  • 1 rack of lamb
  • Salt and pepper

Pat the lamb rack dry with a piece of kitchen towel and the season well with salt and pepper then in a very hot frying pan seal the rack off letting every part of the rack cook for a minute.

Then transfer to baking tray and cook at 190oc in the oven for about 8-10 minutes longer if you like it well cooked. Take it out the oven and allow to rest before carving.

Dauphinoise potatoes

  • 900g peeled maris piper potatoes
  • 1 litre of double cream
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 100g grated mature cheddar
  • Salt and pepper

Slice the potatoes about ½ cm thick, put in a large sauce pan cover with the cream, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook on a medium heat stirring occasionally to stop the bottom of the pan catching. Cook the potatoes just to the point of being able to pierce with knife.

Put to one side and allow the potato to cool slightly, then transfer to a heavy baking dish and sprinkle over the grated mature cheddar cheese, Bake 180oc for about 30 minutes till piping hot and the cheese is bubbling.

Blackberries vinaigrette

  • 135g blackberries
  • 20g icing sugar
  • 30g red wine vinegar
  • 40mls virgin olive oil

In a food blender blitz all ingredients till a smooth puree.

To finish and serve.

1 punnet of fresh blackberries warmed through the oven just to take chill off them.

Slice the confit lamb shoulder and place on a baking tray to crisp up in an 180oc oven.

Slice the lamb rack in to individual portions and season with sea salt.

Put everything in the middle of the table with the bubbling dauphinoise and serve with fresh minted peas and the rich lamb shank sauce.

Chris Brown
About Chris Brown
Sous Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.