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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Fondant Potato

It's cold, it's snowy, it's icy; it must almost be time for...erm, Easter? 

The new-born lambs may need jumpers and the Easter Bunny may be using skis, but yes next week is Easter Sunday; a day to feast on chocolate eggs and gorgeous, seasonal British lamb.  

So why not try having your lamb like this; tender cutlets with a flavourful duvet of fresh herbs, served with a soft, buttery fondant potato. It'll warm you right up. It's also quick to prepare so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time chocolate eating. 

Ingredients to serve 2: 

One 6-cutlet rack of British lamb, trimmed
2 tbsp of thyme leaves
2 tbsp of finely chopped rosemary
50g of fresh soft white breadcrumbs
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp of Dijon mustard
3 tbsp of olive oil
Sea salt

For the fondant potatoes: 

4 medium Desiree potatoes
400ml of vegetable stock
100g of unsalted butter
2 fat garlic cloves
2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Firstly prepare the potatoes; peel and then use a 48mm cookie cutter to cut out a small cylinder from the middle of the potato, making sure it's even in thickness. You may need to use a mallet to bash down the cutter, but be careful because the edges of the cutter may be sharp. When the cylinder is cut out trim the ends to straighten and, if you want to be extra-cheffy, round off the edges. Alternatively you can use a small paring knife to cut out the cylinder, but it won't be as consistent in thickness and may cook unevenly. Put the potatoes in a bowl of cold water until you're ready to cook. 

For the herb crust put the breadcrumbs, herbs, and lemon zest into a bowl with a pinch of sea salt, then stir in 2 tbsps of the olive oil until the mixture is moist and sticks together when you press it with the back of the spoon. 

Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan until hot, then add the rack of lamb and sear all over. Remove the rack from the pan when browned and set aside. Brush the top, fatty side of the rack with the Dijon mustard and then pack the herb crust down on top. Place the rack into a roasting tin and put in the oven; cook for 15 minutes for rare (as in the photo below), 20 for medium-rare  or 25 for medium. 

While the lamb is in the oven cook the fondant potatoes. In a heavy-based sauté pan (that has an accompanying lid) melt the butter over a low heat, then turn the heat up to high so that the butter is sizzling. Add the potatoes and fry until the bottoms are golden. At this point add the garlic, thyme, and stock. Bring the stock to the boil and then reduce to a simmer, put the lid on the pan, and cook for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are soft. 

Remove the lamb from the oven and rest for 5 minutes in a warm place, then carve into individual cutlets. Remove the potatoes from the pan and serve them golden side-up with the cutlets and the vegetable of your choice (I had this with buttered leeks). 

I like my lamb almost bleating. 

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