Lamb Three Ways: Slow Roasted, Spiced Lamb Meatballs ... - BBC

Lamb Three Ways: Slow Roasted, Spiced Lamb Meatballs ... - BBC

Lamb Three Ways: Slow Roasted, Spiced Lamb

Meatballs and Racks with Rich Wine Gravy

Serves 6

There are lots of steps to prepare this lamb but it can all be done ahead,

leaving you to simply pop it in the oven 30 minutes before serving.

Slow Roasted Lamb

8 garlic cloves, peeled

4 long shallots, sliced lengthways

or 2 medium onions, sliced

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

1kg half shoulder of lamb, knuckle end

300ml white wine

300ml lamb stock

125ml port

1 tbsp redcurrant jelly

1 tbsp cornflour

1 tbsp cold water

flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Spiced Lamb Meatballs

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 ½ tbsp virgin olive oil

1 medium long shallot, peeled and

finely chopped

1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp hot chilli powder

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp flaked sea salt

50g fresh white breadcrumbs

2 tbsp finely chopped curly parsley

finely grated zest ¼ small lemon

250g lamb mince

100-150g caul (from your butcher

if you can get it), optional

Herbed Rack of Lamb

2 x French trimmed racks of lamb (each with 6-7 cutlets)

40g fresh white breadcrumbs

3 tbsp finely chopped fresh curly parsley

3 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves

1 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2 tbsp virgin olive oil

1 tbsp Dijon mustard


Suckling lamb was popular in medieval Britain

and was bred especially for the Christmas

market. It was first boiled in water, or milk and

water, then spit-roasted whole.

Garlic has been found in ancient Egyptian

tombs, both as a food offering and as part of

the embalming process.

Historical facts provided by Monica Askay,

Cook and Food Historian

① To make the slow roasted lamb, preheat the oven to

180C/fan oven 160C/Gas 4. Put the garlic, shallots or

onions, rosemary and thyme in a medium roasting tin.

Season with a good pinch of salt and plenty of ground

black pepper. Toss together and form into a heap.

Season the lamb with salt and pepper and place on

top. Roast for 30 minutes until lightly browned then

take the tin out of the oven.

② Reduce the oven temperature to 150C/fan oven 130C/

Gas 2. Pour the wine and water around the lamb,

cover the tin tightly with foil and roast for 3 hours.

Remove the foil and return the lamb to the oven for

a further 30 minutes or until very tender and falling

off the bone. (You should end up with around 450ml

cooking liquor.)

③ While the lamb is cooking, make the meatballs. Put

the cumin seeds in a small non-stick frying pan over a

low heat and cook for 30-60 seconds until they warm

up and begin to release their aroma. Tip into a pestle

and mortar.

④ Return the pan to the heat and add 2 tbsp of the

olive oil, shallots and garlic. Cook over a low heat for

5 minutes, stirring regularly. While the shallots are

cooking, pound the cumin until as fine as possible.

Add the coriander, chilli powder, cinnamon and salt.

Pound into a powder and then tip into the pan with

the shallots. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and leave to cool for 5


⑤ Add the breadcrumbs, parsley and lemon zest to the

spiced shallots. Drop the minced lamb on top and mix

with a spoon and then clean hands until well blended.

Form into 12 small balls. Cut the better pieces of the

caul, if using, into small squares and use to wrap each


⑥ Heat ½ tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan

and cook the lamb meatballs for 12-15 minutes until

lightly browned and cooked throughout. Transfer to

a baking tray lined with baking parchment, placing in

rows up one end, and leave to cool.

⑦ To prepare the racks of lamb, score the fat in a crisscross

pattern. Heat a large non-stick frying pan and

brown the meat, fat side down, over a medium heat for

5 minutes. Tip up to brown the bottom of each rack

then turn over and brown briefly on the other side –

the curve of the meat will prevent the undersides truly

browning. Remove from the heat and put on a baking

tray, with the racks facing each other and the bones

crossing at their tips.

⑧ Mix the breadcrumbs with all the herbs and garlic. Stir

in a good pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground

black pepper. Brush the fat side of the lamb generously

with the mustard and press the breadcrumbs onto it

carefully and firmly. Cover and chill until ready to


⑨ Take the shoulder of lamb out of the oven and put on

a board. Skim off as much visible fat as possible from

the tin. Pour the cooking liquor through a sieve into a

saucepan and add the port and redcurrant jelly. Bring

to the boil and cook for 12-15 minutes or until the

liquid is reduced to around 300ml, stirring occasionally.

Mix the cornflour with the water and stir into the lamb

gravy. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, stirring.

⑩ Shred the shoulder meat with two forks and put into

a bowl. Season with salt and plenty of ground black

pepper. Stir 4 tbsp of the port sauce into the lamb

shoulder. Place a 6cm straight sided biscuit cutter on

the same baking tray as the meatballs. Press a sixth

of the chopped lamb into the ring and then lift off.

Repeat to make a further 5 pressed lamb stacks. Cover

the meatballs and lamb stacks with cling film and chill

until ready to cook. Cover the pan with the gravy with

cling film; cool, cover and chill.

45 minutes before serving, take all the lamb out of the

fridge and leave at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C/fan oven 180C/Gas 6. Place

the tray with the racks in the oven and cook for 23-25

minutes for pink meat and 30 minutes for medium.

Take the cling film off the meatballs and lamb

stacks. Cover the meatballs loosely with foil. Place in

the oven, on a shelf under the lamb, for the last 10

minutes of cooking time. Take only the racks out of

the oven and leave the meatballs and lamb stacks for a

further 5-10 minutes until piping hot. Warm the lamb

gravy until bubbling.

Cover the lamb racks loosely with foil and leave

to stand for 8-10 minutes. Carve each rack into

individual ribs. Arrange a lamb stack and two

meatballs on six warmed plates (choose nice deep

ones). Spoon over a little of the lamb gravy, so they

look nice and glossy. Place two cutlets on each plate,

perched against the lamb stacks. Serve at once.

(Fondant potatoes and green beans go well.)


Caul is the lacy membrane surrounding an

animal’s intestines. Traditionally, it has been

used to wrap faggots (a traditional dish made

with offcuts of meat and offal) and haslet

(a pork meatloaf).

Redcurrant jelly is a traditional accompaniment

to lamb. Redcurrants are also an ingredient of

summer pudding. They should not be confused

with currants which are actually dried grapes, the

name of which comes from Raisins of Corinth.

Historical facts provided by Monica Askay,

Cook and Food Historian

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