When my Dad announced that the traditional Christmas turkey was to be replaced with ‘leg of lamb’ I instantly packed my bags and left home for ever aged 11. I didn’t, I got as far as sticking Little Ted in a Sainsbury’s bag and made it to the bottom of the garden for a confused 30 minute sulk.
This was really my introduction to what lamb was really all about and more importantly how versatile it actually is. That first Christmas dinner featuring an admittedly wonderful looking slow roast leg of lamb changed the game for me and replaced fish fingers as ‘my-most-favourite-food-of-all-time-ever-ever’.
So, I don’t now ever equate a certain dish with a certain thing in this instance Lamb and Easter but I know a hell of a lot of people that do which is why this modest little article is a celebration of lamb and some alternative recipes that you can use to really annoy the sticklers.
EASTER LAMB ALTERNATIVES
Possibly not a full Easter Sunday Lunch on their own, but if you add side likes fragrant cous-cous and a crunchy root salad to the mix your onto a Middle Easter winner. I’m purposely starting this blog with a dish as far removed from a typical Easter Sunday roast as possible simply because I’m a reactionary type of guy….which I blame my Dad for (see Turkey-gate issue mentioned above).
Visually stunning little dish using lamb shanks, it’s not a sharing plate but include the standard buttered mash, curley-kale or mushy peas and you’re elected. A note to this dish – it takes time and effort but its well worth it and the work involved is all front loaded, you can have these lamb Shank Pie set up the day before and simply sling them into the oven when needed.
Again another dish indelibly stamped on my DNA at an early age, this is a maternal dish that served to simply ‘make everything alright’…..
When I trained as a chef I worked at the apron tails of my Indian Mentor Shavani Kherr, her deft hand with spice rubbed off on me (literally) and if I can spice it I will. Lamb Shanks existed very successfully on the menu of the restaurant I worked in until over a number of Bombay Sapphires the decision was taken to supercharge them with spices and coconut cream….and I think they are probably still flying out the door to this day!
I hate the economics involved in raw materials, what I mean by that is the price flux directly liked to fashion. 10 years I go I was buying monster lamb shanks at my local butcher in Co. Armagh at 50p for 2……………..I’m gonna leave that hang there for a second…50p for 2. Now I’m paying 10 Euro for just 3 of them….go figure!?! Now, I’m happy to because my local butcher now, Fenelons in Co Dublin is probably the best I know. Anyway – that’s just a little rant – the end result is a monster meal and if you are partial to Sunday Mountain hikes and you have dogs this is part of that holy trinity!
This is where things that get a little more traditional, this is a steak cut…it’s taken directly from the leg so it’s gonna cook quickly. This is perfect if you, you family and friends want a no hassle, easy carving and punchy option.
For me this is a perfect Easter Sunday alternative, very, very, very non-traditional (this part of the word anyhoo) and just screams flavour, adventure and intrigue…or maybe that’s just me 🙂
These babies literally rock my world and this is an amazing opportunity to get busy with your spice education.
Happy Easter…if that’s your bag people!