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Cover: A dish for all seasons

Recipes with butter

27Mar 12

Lamb Roast with Garlic and Rosemary

Lamb Roast with Garlic and RosemaryLamb roast with garlic and rosemary is a mouth wateringly tasty meal that is served up traditionally in some Irish households on St Patrick’s Day on 17th March.  The festival coincides with the very beginning of the lambing season in mid march, so this may well be your first taste of spring lamb this year. (If you really like this meat, I also recommend spiced skewered lamb.)

What you need:

  • 1 leg of lamb on the bone, about 2kg
  • Lamb trimmings and chopped bones (fresh from the butchers)
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, halved horizontally
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped in half
  • 20g butter, softened
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
  2. Take a deep roasting tin and lay in the chopped bones, trimmings and the halved garlic bulb.
  3. With a sharp knife, make plenty of deep slits into the leg of lamb, inserting the garlic cloves and the small sprigs of rosemary into them randomly all over the joint.
  4. Rub the lamb all over with the butter and lay the joint over the bones in the roasting tray.  Season well with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 1-1½ hours or until the meat is cooked to your liking.
  5. At the end of the roasting time, take the lamb out of the oven, grind over a little more salt and pepper, cover it loosely with tin foil to retain the heat, and remove it to another tray to rest.  Resting the meat relaxes it so that it has a softer texture.
  6. Whilst the joint is resting, make the gravy by placing the tray with the bones of the lamb over a medium heat on the hob and reducing the cooking juices until they are caramelised.  This should only take a few minutes.  Strain away any excess fat and pour in about 360ml of cold water.  Bring the mixture up to the boil, then reduce the heat immediately and simmer for around 5 minutes.  Strain the gravy mixture through a large sieve and pour it into a gravy boat to put on the table.
  7. Serve the lamb with creamed potatoes, parsnips and carrots, and a green vegetable of your choice.

Enjoy with a customary pint of Guinness, or a full-bodied red wine.

Less than 30 minutes to prepare, 1-2 hours to cook

Makes: 6-8 servings

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26Mar 12

Moules Mariniere

Moules MariniereMoules mariniere brings back memories of holidays in the south of France and close to the Spanish border where moules frites (mussels and chips) and mussels in Asturian cider are very popular.

British Mussels are in season in February.  If you’re lucky enough to find good ones, you will soon be making succulent and tasty mussels in a white wine and cream sauce, which you can enjoy as a starter, or as a main meal with nice hunks of granary bread, chips or a mixed salad.  It looks stunning in its presentation and is sophisticated to the palette.

Moules mariniere is most fun prepared in company, sampling the white wine together as you cook.  I use a splash of good white wine from the bottle I want to drink with the meal rather than a cheap cooking wine, which I believe improves the flavour significantly. Try this recipe with a very well chilled oaked chardonnay.

What you need:

  • 1.75kg fresh mussels
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 15g butter
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 100ml white wine
  • 120ml double cream (substitute for light crème fraiche if desired)

What you do:

  1. Wash the mussels thoroughly, removing and binning any that have opened and don’t close when lightly pressed in your fingers.
  2. Remove the beards from the mussels – these are the tough and fibrous strands which stick out of the closed shells.  Rinse the mussels once again.
  3. Melt the butter in a large pan (which needs to be large enough for the mussels to reach only half way up the pan) and fry the shallots and the onion until soft.
  4. Splash in the wine and add the mussels.  Turn up the heat at this point, cover the pan with a lid, and steam the mussels for 3-4 minutes.  Whilst the mussels are cooking, move them about every now and then by gently shaking the pan; there’s no need to remove the lid to do this.
  5. Pour in the cream, add the coriander, and remove from the heat.

10-15 minutes to prepare and cook

Makes: 4 generous starters or light main meals

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