Recipes, Lamb Recipes

Lamb saddle w/ anchovies & parsley

Lamb saddle is arguably the Rolls-Royce of lamb joints and has a distinctly celebratory feel – here, an aromatic stuffing of anchovies, parsley and garlic compliment the lamb perfectly.

With both loins removed from the whole saddle, keeping the fat between each of them intact, and enough breast to roll into a neat cylinder-shaped joint, a small channel is created, the perfect vessel to provide supporting flavour. Punchy seasonings are best suited, anything verging on bland would be quickly lost. Step forward the anchovy – a well-known flavour enhancer which has a particular affinity with lamb, backed up with the herbal flavour of parsley and fragrance of lemon zest and garlic. A seasonal green vegetable, be it buttered purple sprouting in the spring or savoy cabbage later in the year, a bowl of cauliflower cheese spiked with English mustard and roast potatoes would make for a memorable Sunday lunch, alongside a gravy made in the roasting tin with homemade lamb stock and thickened with flour – or go all out and replace the roast potatoes with a gratin dauphinoise, or my personal favourite a gratin de jabron. Jansson’s temptation, that wonderful Swedish potato dish, would be equally compelling. Kitchen string or butchers’ twine is required to re-tie the joint once stuffed.

Lamb saddle stuffed w/ anchovies, parsley & garlic

Lamb saddle stuffed w/ anchovies, parsley & garlic

Recipe by

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 kg Lamb Saddle

  • 1 small bunch of fresh thyme

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • sea salt flakes, such as Maldon®

  • black pepper

  • 6 banana shallots, peeled and halved lengthways

  • For the stuffing
  • 12 anchovy fillets, in olive oil

  • 6 cloves of garlic or a handful of wild garlic when in season

  • 1 handful of fresh flat leaf parsley

  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zest only

  • 60g of fresh white breadcrumbs

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Remove the lamb saddle from the vacuum pack, pat dry with kitchen paper, allowing it to come up to room temperature – this will result in an even cook.
  • Finely chop the anchovies and garlic, chop the parsley, and combine with the remaining stuffing ingredients, including 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of sea salt (remember the anchovies are naturally salty) and a good grind of black pepper, two dozen or so twists from the pepper mill will be about right.
  • Lay 8 lengths of butcher’s string, each around 20cm long, evenly on a chopping board. Untie the joint and place fat side down on top of the string. Manoeuvre the strings evenly under the joint. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
  • Next add the stuffing evenly between the loins, then roll the joint back into a cylinder shape, tying with the string from one side to the other – be careful not to tie too tightly as this will squeeze out the stuffing.
  • Rub the outside of the joint with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then season well with sea salt, black pepper and thyme, bruising the thyme between your fingers as you go to release flavours.
  • Heat a pan large enough to house the lamb over a medium high heat (if the pan can also transfer to the oven, so much the better) and sear the lamb on all sides. Don’t rush this – allow the fat to render and crisp.
  • Add a good knob of butter, and, when foaming, baste the joint well. Place the shallots under the lamb, transfer to the oven.
  • After 15 minutes, turn the joint so the bottom is now on the top and baste again generously. Turn the oven down to 150°C. Turn and baste again at 30 minutes. Roast for 45-55 minutes, be guided by temperature primarily – aim for 52-53°C, rising to 55-56°C when rested.
  • Rest for 30 minutes before carving into slices.