So I fancied some lamb yesterday and had a good hunt around the interwebs to see what I could find. This sounded amazing, so I went ahead and made a slightly different version.
I don’t really like combining sweet and savoury flavours, so the cranberry sauce had to go. Instead, I replaced it with fresh, chopped rosemary taken from my own herb garden that I have growing outside.
I decided to make it with creamy mashed potatoes and peas with fresh mint.
I made a mistake where I could have used the pan that I browned the lamb in to make a pan gravy with red wine, but I’d already thrown it into the sink. It turned out fine without it. Not a huge loss.
Without further ado, here’s how you make the entire dish. It needs some careful timing, but otherwise it’s pretty straightforward.
Here’s what you are going to need:
Lamb Leg Steaks, 1 per person
Pre-rolled puff pastry, 1 sheet (about 350G or more)
Maris Piper potatoes, or anything suitable for mashing
Butter (salted is preferable)
Coarse-ground black pepper
Crème fraîche or whipping cream
A good quality red wine if you’re making a pan sauce. I recommend a nice Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Garlic (optional, for making a pan sauce)
How to make it:
Season the lamb with salt and pepper on both sides.
In a pan with a little oil on high heat, sear the lamb on both sides for a minute or two.
Place the steaks onto a plate to cool. A kitchen cloth or paper should be used to soak up any excess oil so the pastry doesn’t get too mushy.
Roll out your pastry into a fairly thin sheet and cut into four rough squares.
Next, place the lamb steaks onto each square and some fresh, chopped rosemary on top.
Mix one egg together using a brush to make an egg wash.
Wrap each lamb steak up and brush each with the egg over the top. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper that has been greased with butter.
Put the entire tray of goodness into the fridge for 20-30 minutes to firm the pastry up. I find that this is a good time to have a clean up of the kitchen because we’ve probably made a bit of a mess by now!
About 10 minutes before the lamb steaks are ready to come out of the fridge, peel and start boiling some potatoes in salted water and pre-heat your oven to 200.C.
When the steaks are ready, put them into the oven for 20-25 minutes. The middle of the oven is probably best.
When about 5 minutes of cooking time is left, turn the heat off on the potatoes, drain the water out using the saucepan lid, and mash them using some butter and cream.
In a small pan, add some butter and about 1cm or less of water. Turn up to a low-medium heat, put the peas in and put the lid back on. This will gently steam them and they’ll be done in about 2 minutes.
The lamb should be done by now. If the pastry is lovely and golden in colour and the internal temperature is 60.C then it’s cooked perfectly.
A nice Shiraz goes well with this.
The lamb was perfect. Lovely and moist.
As I mentioned earlier, this would probably be better with a pan sauce/gravy.
There are plenty of recipes around the net, but the basics are:
Heat the pan used to cook the meat.
Scrape all that meaty goodness from the bottom of the pan.
Chop garlic, and onions if you like, then brown them in the pan.
Add half a cup of the appropriate kind of stock, and an equal amount of red wine (white for chicken/fish).
Simmer and reduce until you’re happy with it. Taste it often, and add a light dusting of flour every so often if you want it to thicken up faster.
I recently watched a fantastic Raymond Blanc cooking episode that is currently on BBC iPlayer that inspired me to try one of the recipes myself.
I had to transcribe the recipe as I watched, but it turned out to be one of the best dishes that I’ve ever experienced. It was incredible, and here’s how you make it.
I’ll leave the amount of ingredients up to you, but the ingredients in the photo posted immediately below should be enough for two people.
Here’s what you need:
Dried wild mushrooms. I bought mine from Waitrose, but Tesco, M&S and most other big stores stock them. Look for Morel Mushrooms if you can afford them, but Porcini or a mix will do otherwise.
Two Chicken breasts (or more, depending on how many people – one per person). No skin.
Fresh button mushrooms
Coarse-ground black pepper
A good quality white wine
How to make it:
Pour warm water over the mushrooms in a bowl so they become hydrated but leave their delicious juice behind. This process takes about 10-15 minutes.
Season the chicken on both sides with salt and a small amount of coarse-ground black pepper
Next, brown the chicken gently in foaming butter on a medium heat. Avoid burning the butter because it will become bitter in taste otherwise.
While that’s cooking, boil a few cups of the white wine (1 cup/mug per person) in a separate pan to burn the alcohol off on a medium-high heat
Squeeze the water from the soaked mushrooms, keeping the liquid aside, and place into a new medium-sized pan.
Chop the button mushrooms in half – these will be important for texture.
Place the button mushrooms into the pan along with the wild mushrooms.
Warm them through, stirring often. Don’t brown them! They just need to be cooked gently.
The chicken should be nicely browned by now on the outside but still uncooked in the middle.
In the same pan that you used to brown the chicken, add the reduced wine, mushroom juice that we saved from earlier and 200G of double cream (use 100-150G per person)
Ensure that the chicken breasts are mostly covered by the sauce and on a low heat, we need to poach the chicken gently, ensuring that it doesn’t boil or simmer – we want a low wet heat to slowly cook the meat all the way through which will leave it succulent.
Once the chicken is 60 degrees celsius (use a meat thermometer) in the middle, take them out and rest on a plate for 5 minutes or so. This will be the centerpiece of our stunning dish.
Reduce the sauce on a medium-high heat with vigorous bubbling
Don’t forget to taste it!
Slice fresh leeks and place in a pan on medium heat with a good sized chunk of butter and no more than 0.5-1cm of water – this will steam the leeks and create an emulsion at the same time. Put the lid on. Takes 3 minutes.
Place the chicken breasts onto plates (in the center), and spoon the reduced sauce with mushrooms over the top with the leeks around the outer edges of the plate.
Here’s a close-up of this delicious dish.
When cutting into the chicken, it should be moist and perfectly cooked.
Don’t season the final dish – it really doesn’t need it. Trust me!
With the recent news that Five Guys had opened in London on July 4th, I simply had to pay a visit this weekend and it was everything that I thought it would be. The burger was juicy, delicious and very moreish. The cheese was perfectly oozing out between the huge patties (I ordered a double) with the occasional drip of oily goodness onto the foil below.
I didn’t particularly like the fries because they left the skins on, and one wonders if this is something they did to test the waters on trying a new time/labour-saving method. I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t work with fast food. We don’t visit a burger joint for any “rustic” feel. They were well seasoned so that’s a plus point.
Kudos for providing a genuine American dining experience though with the big smiles, lovely staff and free drink refills. It’s the only restaurant I’ve been to in the UK which does this and it needs to be more common.
Anyway, let’s not get sidetracked for too long, here’s how you make a proper burger from scratch…
Serves 4-6 people.
Here’s what you’re going to need:
Peanut oil, rapeseed oil, grapeseed oil, or anything made from animal fat such as lard. Don’t use olive oil or butter because it will burn and make your burger taste horrible. Vegetable oil is fine.
500G of steak/beef mince. If you can afford the “Tesco Finest” Scottish stuff you’re in for a treat. Tesco has this on offer this weekend – £3 for 500G of Scottish steak mince. Avoid anything that has the word “lean” on the packet though because fat is what gives meat it’s delicious flavour.
Burger buns – any regular white bread buns will do
Medium to mild strength cheddar. Anything too strong will be too mature and won’t melt properly.
1 White onion (optional)
Pepper – I prefer course-ground black pepper.
Heat up a large frying pan/skillet to medium-high heat with a tablespoon of oil. Bring it to smoking point but try not to set off the smoke alarm.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the mince with your hands with a large pinch of salt and about a teaspoon of pepper.
Form the mince/salt/pepper mixture into patties with your hands. Be aware that they will expand during cooking so make them fairly thin.
Place into the heated pan and cook for 3 minutes each side. The ferociously hot oil will give you a lovely sear but with a juicy middle.
If you’ve chosen to include onions, just slice one up now but we’re gonna add it as is. We don’t need to cook it.
After you’ve flipped your patties and they’ve been in the pan for 6 minutes, take a slice of cheddar and place it on top of each pattie.
Turn your grill on to max – I prefer to use the setting marked “hotter than the sun”.
Place your burger buns under it for 30 seconds so they get lightly toasted.
The cheese should be melting by now, so put the patties onto your buns, add the onion slices and congratulate yourself on making a burger, the proper way.