Lamb fillets stuffed with rosemary, garlic and anchovy

stuffed lamb fillets

I use lamb neck fillets quite a lot because they’re a cheap but tasty and versatile cut of meat. I usually use them in curries and casseroles but this is something different and slightly posher. This would also work with pork fillets or chicken breasts.

Ingredients
Serves 2

2 lamb neck fillets
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp anchovy essence or one anchovy, mashed
About 100g breadcrumbs, but use your common sense as to whether you need more or less than that.
1 egg yolk
Salt and pepper to your taste
1 tbsp oil

You’ll also need some string.

The Cooking

Pre-heat the oven to about 180C/350F and cut 6 or so lengths of string, long enough to tie round a fillet.

No faffing about here – just mix together all the ingredients except the lamb. The egg yolk will bind it all together and it should be squidgy but not particularly wet or dry. With a knife, slit the fillet open but don’t cut all the way through. Lie the fillet onto the string and put the stuffing down the middle of it as in the picture above.

Tie the fillets up with the string. Heat some oil in a frying pan until it’s very hot and fry the fillets quickly on all sides. You’re not trying to cook it through, just give it a nice brown colour on the outside. Once upon a time chefs would have told you this was “sealing” the meat but we all know now this is rubbish. You are in fact subjecting it to the Maillard browing reaction.

Once they’ve got a bit of colour, put the fillets into the oven for about 20 minutes. As it’s lamb, it doesn’t need to be cooked through and is nice when it’s a bit pink on the inside. If you’re using pork or chicken, you might need to leave it a bit longer to make sure it’s fully cooked through.

Cut off the string and serve it up. Ta dah. We had ours with couscous.

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Lamb, Bacon and Aubergine Casserole

Lamb and bacon casserole

This was a bit of an accidental creation and the photo doesn’t do it justice at all. It was in fact very tasty indeed. I made it up as I went along in that I’ve-had-a-couple-of-beers style of cooking which can so often result in disaster but on this occasion turned out a triumph. I thought that rosemary and cumin go so well with lamb that it had to work… and it did. Give it a go.

Ingredients

2 lamb neck fillets (or any other cheap cut), cut into chunks
Bacon, pancetta or lardons chopped. I’m not sure how much I used. 2 rashers will do.
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 aubergine (eggplant)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour.
1 tin tomatoes
About a tablespoon of rosemary and cumin seeds, ground or chopped
1tsp anchovy sauce (optional)
3 tbsp olive oil

The Cooking
Serves 3 or 2 plus someone’s lunch the next day

Pre-heat the oven to 160C/ 320F. The oven is on quite a low heat because if it’s too hot the lamb will dry up and be tough.

Do your prep – chop the lamb, bacon, onion, garlic and aubergine. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a casserole dish and get it good and hot. Fry the onion and bacon in batches (I did it in two batches because if you chuck it all in at once this will lower the heat and the meat will stew rather than fry) until they get a bit brown – they don’t have to be cooked through, just browned. It’s good to get some of the burnt bits caught on the bottom of the pan.

Set the onion and bacon aside and deglaze the pan by pouring in half a cupful of water and scraping up the burnt bits from the bottom of the pan. The liquid should boil rapidly and reduce quite a lot. Pour out the burnt-bits liquid and set aside for later. Effectively, you’ve made some gravy.

Put 1 tbsp oil into the now-empty pan and turn the heat down to medium. Gently fry the onion and aubergine for 10 minutes until they’re soft but not brown. Add the flour, garlic, rosemary and cumin and fry for another minute or so and then add the lamb, bacon and burnt-bits gravy you set aside. Give it a good stir and add the tin of tomatoes and anchovy sauce if you have it.

Bring it up to a simmer and then put it in the oven without a lid. If it seems a bit dry, add some water.

Stir it every 15 minutes or so for an hour. Have a taste – the bacon should have made it salty enough but if you feel it needs seasoning then add it.

After an hour it should be ready and the lanb will be nice and tender. I served mine with couscous but you could also have it with rice, potatoes or pasta.

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