Transitioning from one season to the next can be a tricky affair in the kitchen, especially when you’re looking to make the most of those fresh ingredients available on your doorstep.
This edition, I am sharing with you a lamb recipe which, for me, marks the end of summer. It’s a chance to spotlight lamb before we make way for seasonal produce such as game. The earthy girolles and creamy gratin dauphinoise potatoes perfectly complement the richness of the meat and lamb jus in this dish, creating a wholesome plate of flavours that perfectly bids farewell to what feels like a short-lived summer.
Admittedly, lamb rump is often an underrated cut of meat, but I prefer this to the loin or rack, as I think it has the most flavour and it makes the perfect portion size. As for lamb belly, this offers the perfect balance of meat and fat, combining to create a rich flavour and a succulent glazed finish.
As always, you can join us at our monthly seasonal showcase events to see the finest locally sourced ingredients, such as lamb, hare and beef, take centre stage in dishes just like this one.
Rump and glazed belly of lamb with braised lettuce, peas and girolles
4 lamb rumps (250g per portion)
2 lamb bellies – boned and rolled
500g fresh peas
200g girolle mushrooms
8 Albert Bartlett potatoes
2 baby gem lettuces
500ml double cream
5 garlic cloves
Sprigs of thyme
800ml chicken stock
Carrot, onion and a stick of celery
200ml white wine
5 fresh tomatoes
50g unsalted butter
4 baby grelot onions
For the lamb belly
Season the lamb belly and add to a hot pan with oil. Seal the meat (which should take around 10 minutes). Dice the carrot, onion and celery. Once the lamb belly is golden, transfer to a plate and add the vegetables to the pan. Sweat the vegetables down for 5-10 minutes, add a bay leaf, peppercorn
and thyme. Chop 4 tomatoes and add into the pan before pouring in the white wine. Next reduce the mix. Add the lamb belly back into the pan and pour the chicken stock over the meat. At this point you can also add any spare lamb bones. Bring to a simmer and skim the fat off the top and then put it in the oven for two and a half hours at 130C.
For the lamb rump
Marinate the lamb rump with a tablespoon of oil, a sprig of thyme, garlic and rosemary – leave for 30 minutes or ideally, overnight. Lightly score the lamb rumps, remove any sinew and keep the skin on. Cook the lamb rumps with a touch of lamb fat or vegetable oil, skin side down, until caramelised. Add butter paper to the pan and place the lamb skin side down, then cook in the oven for 8-9 minutes at 190C. Add a knob of butter, rosemary, thyme and garlic to the pan and baste the lamb. Leave to rest for 12 minutes on a wire rack. The lamb should be warm not piping hot when served. Next, cut the lamb belly into slices and add to a pan with the lamb sauce. Bring the pan to a simmer and place in the oven for 6-7 minutes, keep basting to ensure the lamb belly is sticky and glazed.
For the gratin dauphinoise potatoes
Wash and peel the potatoes, then thinly slice so they are a few mm thick. Add the double cream to a pan with peppercorns, a bay leaf, thyme and thinly sliced garlic. Simmer and infuse for 10 minutes. Add a layer of potatoes, salt and pepper and top with the cream; repeat until the
mix is at the top of the dish. Place on a bain marie – cook in the oven at 150C for 45 minutes until you can easily pierce with a knife.
For the pea puree
To create the pea puree, add peas to a small pan of boiling, salted water and cook until tender. Transfer the pea stock to a liquidiser and add in a knob of butter to create a shiny, velvety texture. Season with salt and pepper. Pass the mixture through a chinois and put to one side to keep warm.
For the lettuce and girolles
Cut an onion in half and place the cut-side down in the pan with butter. Remove the outer leaves from the baby gem lettuces and add to the same pan. Add a tablespoon of water and thyme, then cook for 8 mins. Take the onion and lettuces out of the pan and keep warm. Add girolles to the emulsion in the pan along with fresh, blanched peas.
Smear a dollop of the pea puree; then place the lamb belly on the plate with the girolles, peas, onion and lettuce to one side. Finish with a thickly cut slice of the lamb rump on top and sauce. Serve the gratin dauphinoise potatoes in the dish used while cooking.