Walk for hours without seeing another soul, and if you find yourself stuck in traffic, you can be sure there is a tractor up ahead!

Admittedly it is difficult to referee on a Saturday afternoon when I have a full restaurant to cook for in the evening

Adrian's stunning lamb recipe

Now not all of you are going to try and recreate Adrian's gorgeous lamb dish at home, however there are tips, tricks and secrets within for any home cook to exploit. Garnishes and sides needn't take second billing to the meat as Adrian proves here, all of the components are stars in their own right. From how to confit your overnight lamb belly to tips on spinach.

Cumbrian lamb is right up there as one of the greatest ingredients, not only from this region, but the whole of the UK and beyond. 

Adrian's inspiration for this indulgent dish came from wanting to use as many cuts of meat from the lamb as possible, making the most of the cheaper cuts such as the belly and liver, as well as keeping the more expensive cutlets tender and moreish.   

Tasting of Cumbrian Lamb: Cutlet, Liver, confit of Belly and Haggis

Adrian's lamb cutlets made with Cumbrian produce

 

Confit of Lamb Belly

This needs to be started 24 hours in advance: it is a tough cut of meat and needs long, slow cooking.

Ask your butcher for some lamb belly that has a good covering of meat on it (rib bones removed). In a plastic tray, place a layer of coarse rock salt, put the lamb on top and cover with more rock salt (don’t use metal as the salt will corrode it).

You can flavour the salt with garlic and rosemary.

Leave for one hour to cure. Brush off the salt. TIP: this can be stored in an airtight container in your larder to be re-used at a later date. It’s salt: it keeps forever without refrigeration!

Wash off the remains of the salt and pat dry - and here’s the expensive bit: you will need enough goose fat to fully immerse the lamb in whilst cooking. : TIP: You can buy this at any good supermarket or deli, however it is also available much more cheaply online – I have found some at Cooks & Co at a very reasonable price. It’s also useful to have in the larder for the best roast potatoes you can make as it has a very high smoking point)

 

Put the goose fat in a deep oven tray and place in a very low oven overnight: (Gas1/2; 140oF; 60oC): the fat must not boil and this is the reason it takes so long.

Remove the belly – carefully, it will be fragile – and place between two flat baking sheets: place a tin of baked beans or tomatoes on top, just to press it lightly, for a couple of hours in the fridge.

When ready to cook, trim the belly and cut into two inch squares: pan fry with the Lamb cutlet (below) to crisp the skin and warm through the meat.

 

Lamb Cutlets

4 Lamb Cutlets – French Trimmed

Fresh Herbs: Basil, Rosemary, Thyme and Parsley, chopped

Dijon Mustard

 

Process the chopped herbs in a food processor with dried breadcrumbs and Olive oil until a fine, moist crumb is achieved. Set aside.

Season and pan fry the cutlets in a little Olive Oil until lightly browned on both sides. Place on a tray in the oven (Gas 8, 220oC, 450oF) for 4-6 minutes depending on how pink you like your lamb.

Brush one side of the cutlets with a little Dijon Mustard and then press some of the herb crust on top and return to the oven for two minutes to finish cooking. Rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.

 

Lamb liver

Cut 4 small pieces of Liver.

Liver is not a muscle so it does not need to be rested. Season and pan fry in Olive Oil just before serving: if you want the Liver pink, this should take only one minute on each side.

 

Haggis

Put the Haggis into four small rings and place in the oven just prior to serving to heat.

 

Ratatouille, asparagus, baby carrots spinach

 

For the Ratatouille: slice an Aubergine into 4mm thick slices and degorge with salt for 15 minutes. Wash and pat dry. Slice the courgettes to a similar size. Core a Red Pepper and cut into slices roughly the same size as the courgettes/aubergine. Liberally sprinkle all the chopped vegetables with Olive Oil and season. Place in a medium oven for 10 minutes to soften, but not fully roast.

Whilst the veg is in the oven, place a griddle pan over a high heat: when hot and the veg is ready, char grill each of the vegetables in turn to finish the cooking: finally, slice a plum tomato, season and brush with oil and char grill as the other veg.

This can be done a little in advance and kept warm: pass through a hot oven to re-heat (with the haggis).

Asparagus: Trim the ends of the Asparagus with a peeler to make a ”spear”. Boil for one minute in buttered water.

Baby carrots: again, available at good supermarkets, it’s worth rooting these very flavoursome baby carrots out for their presentation. Turn into a barrel shape and cook in salted water, with a little butter, for 7-8 minutes.

TIP: Both of these vegetables can be cooked in advance and chilled in cold water: to re-heat, simply toss in a little emulsion of butter and water for a few seconds.

Spinach: lots of butter in this recipe: cook the washed spinach in a seasoned butter and water emulsion until just wilted. Drain through a sieve and keep warm in a small metal ring until it is served. (Don’t be tempted to cook this in advance: it’s just one of those vegetables that does not like being re-heated).

To Serve

On four warmed plates, place the ratatouille vegetables at North, South, East and West. Put the Spinach in the middle of the plate and remove the ring.

Take the haggis out of its ring and place between two of the veg: repeat with the liver and belly. Finally, put the cutlet carefully on top of the Spinach with the bone pointing up: place two carrots round the side and top with the asparagus spear. Finish with a nice tomato jus (we make ours from reduced Lamb Stock and roasted Tomato sauce combined).

 Adrian's Cumbrian lamb recipe uses cheap and more indulgent cuts of meat

 

 

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