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Recipe of the week: Winter Lake District lamb with lamb hotpot and beetroot and blackcurrant purée

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Written by:
Recipe of the week: Winter Lake District lamb with lamb hotpot and beetroot and blackcurrant purée

Serves 4

Lamb loin and fillet
2 boned short saddles of lamb, about 475g each, loins and fillets separated
Meat glue, for dusting
Olive oil, for cooking
Sprigs of rosemary
Unsalted butter
Maldon sea salt and black pepper

Trim off any sinews from the fillets, then set aside in the fridge. Carefully cut off the fat covering the loins so that the fat remains as whole pieces. Lay out the fat on a chopping board and bang with a rolling pin to flatten. Arrange the pieces of fat side by side on a large sheet of clingfilm to make a rectangle large enough to wrap around the loins. Rub the loins with a little salt.

Sprinkle meat glue on the rectangle of fat, then place the loins along one side. Holding the ends of the clingfilm, roll up to wrap the fat around the loins to form a log. Unwrap the clingfilm, then tie the loin ballotine with butcher’s string.

Put the loin ballotine into a large vacuum bag and vacuum-seal it. Set the bag on a steaming tray and place in a steam oven to cook for five minutes. Remove and immediately immerse in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. Keep in the fridge until needed.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan and sear the ballotine for two minutes on each side or until evenly browned. Add some rosemary to the pan, then transfer to the oven and roast for a couple of minutes for medium rare. Leave to rest for a few minutes before serving.

To cook the lamb fillets for serving, heat a little oil in a wide frying pan. Season the fillets with salt and pepper, then add to the pan with rosemary and butter. Sear for two minutes on each side or until evenly golden brown. As they cook, spoon the foaming butter over them. When ready, remove from the heat and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Veal stock

Makes about 1.5 litres
5kg veal bones
olive oil, for cooking
5 onions, roughly chopped
4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped
½ head of celery, roughly chopped
1 bulb of garlic, cloves separated and roughly chopped
30g tomato paste
1 calf’s foot
50g thyme
1 bay leaf

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the veal bones in large roasting trays and roast for about an hour or until deeply coloured. Remove from the oven, drain off the fat and keep to one side.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a large stockpot. Add the vegetables and garlic, and cook over a medium-high heat until deeply caramelised. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for two minutes.

Add the veal bones, calf’s foot and herbs. Cover with 10 litres cold water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 24 hours, skimming the stock regularly and adding more water as the stock reduces. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a clean pan, then reduce by half, skimming regularly. Strain again. Cool, then keep in the fridge or freezer.

Chicken stock

Makes about 10 litres
5kg chicken carcasses, broken up roughly
6 onions, roughly chopped
2 leeks, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 bulbs of garlic, cloves separated and cut in half
2 bay leaves
50g thyme

Place the chicken carcasses in a large stockpot and cover with 10 litres cold water. Bring to a simmer, skimming off all the froth and scum that rises to the surface. Once the liquid is clear, add the vegetables, garlic and herbs. Leave to simmer for four hours.

Strain the stock through a fine sieve. Cool, then keep in the fridge or freezer.

Lamb sauce

Makes about 1 litre
Olive oil
1kg lamb rib bones, chopped into smaller pieces
1 onion, roughly chopped
½ leek, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
½ bulb of garlic, cloves separated and roughly chopped
½tbs tomato paste
200ml dry white wine
500ml reduced veal stock
500ml chicken stock
Sprig of lemon thyme
Sprig of rosemary
Pared zest of 1 lemon
1 dried kombu leaf
Maldon sea salt and black pepper

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large, heavy-based pan, add the lamb bones and fry over a high heat until evenly browned. Remove the bones and set aside.

Add a little more oil to the pan and tip in the chopped vegetables and garlic. Fry for about eight minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomato paste and stir well. Fry for another couple of minutes until the vegetables begin to brown, then deglaze with the wine, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan. Let the wine bubble and reduce by half. Return the bones to the pan. Pour in the stocks, topping up with water if the bones are not immersed in liquid. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about four hours, skimming off any scum and froth.

Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a clean heavy-based saucepan; discard the solids. Taste the sauce. If you want a stronger flavour, boil to reduce and intensify. Take the pan off the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the lemon thyme, rosemary, lemon zest and kombu. Leave to infuse and cool. Once cooled, strain the sauce once more. Reheat before serving.

Lamb hotpot
100g gros sel (grey sea salt)
Sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
1 large garlic clove
20g grated lemon zest
1 boned shoulder of lamb, about 2kg
Olive oil
200g lamb fat
4 large carrots
4 turnips
500g baby silverskin onions, peeled
1 litre lamb sauce
2 large Desirée potatoes
125g clarified butter, melted

Start by making a salt cure. Put the salt, thyme leaves, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor and blitz. Tip half the mixture onto a baking tray. Place the shoulder of lamb on the tray and sprinkle the remaining salt cure over the top. Rub the cure all over the lamb. Cover the tray with clingfilm and set aside in the fridge to cure for four hours.

Rinse off the salt cure from the shoulder and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Heat a little olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat and sear the lamb shoulder for about two minutes on each side or until evenly golden brown. Remove to a tray and leave to cool.

Once cooled, put the lamb shoulder into a vacuum bag and add the lamb fat. Vacuum-seal the bag, then gently cook the lamb in a sous vide machine (or water bath) heated to 84°C for eight to 10 hours. When ready, the lamb should be soft and tender. Remove from the sous vide and leave to cool completely in the bag to prevent the lamb from drying out.

Peel the carrots and turnips and chop into roughly 2cm dice. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the carrots, turnips and onions with a little seasoning and fry, stirring occasionally, for eight to 10 minutes or until tender and golden brown.

Roughly chop the lamb shoulder into 2cm dice. Add to the pan along with the lamb sauce and season well to taste. As soon as the mixture is heated through, remove the pan from the heat. Spoon the lamb mixture into four to six individual ovenproof serving pots.

Peel the potatoes and thinly slice them on a mandoline. Pile the slices into short stacks and stamp out neat discs with a 3cm round pastry cutter. Arrange the discs, overlapping, on top of the lamb in each pot. Brush the potatoes with clarified butter and season well.

When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the pots on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, turning every five minutes to ensure the potatoes colour evenly. The hotpots are done when the potatoes are golden brown and tender when pierced.

Beetroot-stained cabbage
1 Hispi cabbage
1 bottle beetroot juice

Trim off the base of the cabbage and separate the leaves. Trim the hard stalk from each leaf, then place the leaves in a pan. Pour over the beetroot juice and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pan with a lid and simmer for four to five minutes or until the cabbage leaves are tender and stained purple colour. Leave to cool completely in the juice.

Beetroot-blackcurrant purée
7 purple beetroots
250g blackcurrants
150ml red wine
150ml port
50ml raspberry vinegar

Peel and coarsely grate the beetroots, then place in a pan with all the other ingredients. Bring to a vigorous boil and cook, stirring the mixture every once in a while, until the beetroot is soft and the mixture has reduced to the consistency of jam.

Transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth. Season to taste. Pass the purée through a fine sieve into a pan, ready to reheat for serving.

Purple carrots
2 bunches of baby purple carrots, trimmed
Unsalted butter

Blanch the carrots in a pan of boiling salted water for about three minutes or until they are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the carrots to a bowl of iced water to cool them quickly and preserve their colour.

When you are ready to serve, lightly season the carrots, then reheat them in a pan of foaming butter for a couple of minutes until warmed through.

Pickling liquid

Makes about 220ml
125ml Muscatel vinegar
100ml white wine vinegar
100g caster sugar
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1tsp mustard seeds

Put the vinegars and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add all the spices. Leave to cool and infuse. When cool, strain the vinegar and discard the spices. It is now ready to use for pickling vegetables.

Mint sauce

Makes about 125ml
100ml rapeseed oil
Bunch of thyme, leaves stripped
6 bunches of mint
20ml pickling liquid
Maldon sea salt and white pepper

Warm the oil with the thyme leaves in a saucepan. Take the pan off the heat and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, pick the mint leaves and blanch in a pan of boiling water for 10 seconds. Transfer the mint leaves to a bowl of iced water. Drain. Repeat the blanching, leaving them in the boiling water for a few minutes the second time, then refresh and drain well.

Pour the thyme oil into a blender, add the mint and blitz to a smooth sauce. Season to taste. Transfer to a covered container, and refrigerate until needed. Mix in pickling liquid before serving.

Assembly
A handful of baby bull’s blood leaves, with stems on
Vinaigrette
Mint sauce

Slice the lamb loin ballotine thickly and place two slices on each serving plate. Cut the lamb fillets into individual portions and wrap each portion in one or two beetroot-stained cabbage leaves. Add this to each plate followed by a neat spoonful of beetroot and blackcurrant purée and a couple of purple carrots.

Dress the baby bull’s blood leaves with a little vinaigrette and garnish the plate with a few leaves. Bring the dish to the table with an individual lamb hotpot and a small serving jug of mint sauce on the side.

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