Looking for some inspiration in the kitchen this Easter?
Why not try to chase away the winter blues and step into spring with some alternative home cooked recipes made with Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lamb.
Family and friends are certain to enjoy these delicious lamb inspired recipes which are an excellent source of essential nutrients and perfect as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
The Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assurance (NIFQA) Scheme guarantees quality, safety and traceability of lamb and beef.
If you can’t find the logo simply ask your butcher or retailer if your lamb and beef are farm quality assured as it is a clear indicator of quality.
For more recipes log onto www.lmcni.com.
1. Lamb cutlets with crushed potato and pesto
Try making your own pesto, if you have a food processor it’s easy and will keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for a week. If not use a really good shop bought one.
Preheat a grill
8 NI Farm Quality Assured lamb cutlets
1 garlic clove
A little olive oil
Salt and pepper
30g (1oz) fresh basil leaves (about half of a supermarket pot plant)
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
30g (1oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
15g (½ oz) toasted pine nuts (toast in a hot oven for around 5 minutes until golden)
2g or pinch sugar
1g or pinch salt
100ml (3floz) extra virgin olive oil
Simply put all of the ingredients, apart from the olive oil into a food processor and whiz, add the oil in a slow steady stream until you have a creamy green sauce. Set to one side and let the flavours start to develop. This can be made a day or two before and kept in the fridge.
1.5kg (3 lb) new potatoes, scraped clean – not peeled
1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
Handful of chopped fresh herbs, parsley, chives or basil
Salt and black pepper
Steam the new potatoes until tender. Meanwhile brush the Lamb cutlets with a little olive oil, rub with the garlic clove and sprinkle with salt and pepper, grill for a few minutes on each side until cooked to your liking. When the potatoes are cooked place them into a large dish with a few drops of the olive oil and crush briefly with a fork; the potatoes should be slightly broken – not mashed. Add the chopped herbs, lemon juice, salt, pepper and a little more olive oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are combined.
Serve the lamb on warm plates with crushed potato, fried red onions and drizzle with the pesto
2. Leg of Lamb with apricot and almond stuffing
5-6 lb (2-3kg) leg of Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lamb
Apricot and almond Stuffing
250g ready to eat dried apricots, roughly chopped
The juice of one orange (100mls)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
30mls olive oil
1 small handful of chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 small handful of chopped fresh mint leaves
120g bread, made into breadcrumbs
30g ground almonds
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. clear honey
½ pint of lamb stock
Soak the apricots in orange juice for 1 hour to soften. Fry the onion in olive oil until it is soft, then add the garlic and fry for a minute, add to the parsley, mint, apricots in orange juice, breadcrumbs, ground almonds and mix until well combined. Spoon the stuffing into the gap where the bone has been removed. Tie the lamb joint neatly with string.
Put the meat on a rack in a roasting tin, place above the centre of the oven and cook allowing 25 minutes per 1lb (500g)
Thirty minutes before end of cooking time, lift the meat from the tin and skim off the fat. Replace the meat and spread the honey over the surface. Return to oven to complete the cooking time. Remove from the oven, cover with tin foil and leave to stand for 20 minutes before serving.
Sieve the juices into a saucepan, add the stock and boil rapidly until it reduces to a thin sauce.
3. Lamb Wellington with spinach and mushrooms
2 Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured leg of lamb steaks
50g of mushroom pate
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
100g button mushrooms, sliced
50g shitake mushrooms, sliced
¼ bag spinach
Salt and pepper
250g all butter puff pastry
Flour for dusting
1 egg yolk
Baby potatoes and vegetables
Fry a few extra sliced mushrooms and onions and add to gravy
Wilt the spinach in a hot saucepan with a little of the olive oil and garlic, season with salt and pepper. This will only take a minute or two. Cool and set to one side. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the shallots and mushrooms, until golden, then add the remaining garlic and fry for another minute. Remove from the pan to cool. Next seal the lamb steaks in a very hot pan for 1 minute on each side, remove to a plate and cool.
Roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick and cut in two pieces, one half slightly larger than the other, reserve the larger half for the lid. Place the lamb steaks onto the remaining pastry in a rectangular shape, lightly season with salt and pepper, smear with the mushroom pate, then place the spinach along with the shallot and mushroom mix. Brush the edges with the egg yolk and place the pastry lid on top. Pinch together and trim off any excess pastry. Make a design on top if you wish and then brush with egg yolk. Rest for 5 minutes. Then bake in a really hot oven, for 16 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and rest for a minute, then cut in half and serve with potatoes, vegetables and mushroom gravy.
4. Braised lamb shanks with red wine, garlic and rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil
4 x 400g Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lamb shanks
1 small onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
3 fresh bay leaves, torn
6 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 fresh thyme sprigs
700ml lamb or beef stock
250ml red wine
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons redcurrant jelly
1200g floury potatoes
8 large scallions
200ml semi skimmed milk
Salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large, wide pan with a lid over a medium heat. Season the lamb shanks and brown in the pan for 8-10 minutes. Remove and set on a plate while you add the onion and carrot to the pan and cook for 8 minutes, stirring, until golden brown. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, garlic, thyme and return the shanks to the pan. Pour in the stock and red wine and heat until just bubbling. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and bake for 3 hours, until the meat is tender.
To make the champ, peel and quarter the potatoes. Place them in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer until just cooked. While the potatoes are cooking, wash and finely chop the spring onions. Combine the milk and butter in a small pan and bring to the boil.
Put the chopped onions into the boiling mixture, then remove from the heat and let them infuse. They will soften and flavour the milk. Drain the potatoes, cover the pan and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Mash the potatoes, stir in the milk and scallions until smooth and creamy. Taste and add salt if necessary.
Transfer the shanks to a dish, cover loosely with foil and rest while you make the sauce. Skim off and discard the fat from the surface of the liquid, strain and discard the vegetables and herbs. Bring the sauce to the boil, reduce the temperature and simmer for a few minutes until thickened, finally add the chopped parsley and redcurrant jelly.
Divide the lamb shanks between 4 serving plates, spoon over the red wine sauce and serve with creamy champ and roasted cherry tomatoes.
5. Italian lamb with bean and tomato salad
4 Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lamb leg steaks (about 250g each)
4 anchovy fillets, crushed with a fork
1 garlic clove, crushed
The juice and finely grated zest of 1 a lemon
100ml olive oil
20 basil leaves, chopped
200g cooked white beans, cannelloni or borlotti or a mixture of both.
100g sweet corn
100g kidney beans
baby salad leaves (enough for 4 people)
100g sun blush tomatoes
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
100ml of olive oil
30ml balsamic vinegar
Handful of chopped basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Mix all of the marinade ingredients together and add the Lamb steaks making sure they are thoroughly coated. Leave for a few hours to let the flavours develop, then remove from the marinade and either grill or barbecue for 3 – 4 minutes on either side until cooked. Rest the lamb for a few minutes.
To make the dressing whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and the basil.
Toss the bean salad ingredients together and add the dressing. Arrange on a serving plate, top with the lamb steaks and garnish with a few beans.