Best end of lamb with squash, Puy lentils and a lamb jus
- January 2005
- Serves 6
- Takes 2 and a quarter hours to make, plus 15 min for the final cooking
This wonderful lamb recipe with Puy lentils and butternut squash is sure to impress at any dinner party.
- 56g (22.4g saturated)
- 42.5g (13.5g sugar)
- 2 best ends of lamb on the bone (ask your butcher to cut the fillet of lamb from each best end and chop up the bones for you)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic bulb, halved through the middle, plus 1 extra garlic clove, crushed
- 6 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 carrots
- 3 sticks celery
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 10 white peppercorns
- 5 fresh bay leaves
- 1 tbsp tomato purèe
- ½ bottle dry white wine
- 2.4 litres hot chicken stock, home-made and unsalted, if possible
- 250g Puy lentils
- 3 sticks salsify or 1 parsnip
- 1 butternut squash, about 800-900g
- 6 very small red onions
- 100-125g butter
- 1 savoy cabbage
To make the jus (gravy stock)
- Trim the chopped bones and fillet of any excess fat. Set aside. Put the fillet in a glass dish, drizzle with the olive oil and add the crushed garlic clove. Turn to coat in the oil and garlic. Cover and chill until needed.
- Put the bones and fat trimmings in a large pan with 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and fry over a high heat, turning occasionally until browned all over, about 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in another pan and fry 21/2 carrots and 21/2 celery sticks, both diced, the rosemary sprigs, 2 thyme sprigs, the peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, and 1/2 garlic bulb over a high heat for 15 minutes, until caramelised.
- When the bones have browned, pour off the fat and add the vegetable and herb mixture. Stir in the tomato purèe and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the wine and stir to deglaze the pan (this means to get all the colour and flavour off the pan into the sauce), then add the stock and bring to the boil for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain into a clean pan and discard the solids. Boil rapidly to reduce the sauce by two-thirds until glossy. Taste until you have a good, concentrated lamb flavour. You will end up with 500-600ml of jus. Cool, then chill until the fat sets on the surface. Skim off the fat and discard.
To cook the lentils
- Put lentils in a pan with the remaining carrot and celery, both roughly cut, thyme, a bay leaf and the remaining 1/2 garlic bulb. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 25 minutes, until tender. Drain and discard the vegetables, herbs and garlic. Set aside until ready to serve.
To caramelise the vegetables
- Peel the salsify and cut into 3cm lengths, or peel and cut the parsnip into chunky batons (sticks). Peel and deseed the squash and cut into 1cm thick slices. Peel and cut onions in half. Place 3 pans on the hob, each with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and a bay leaf. Sautè each vegetable in
- a separate pan over a medium heat until beginning to brown. Turn the vegetables frequently. Once they have begun to brown, add a tablespoon or 2 of water to deglaze the pan. All the brown juices will help colour the vegetables. Cook for a few minutes more, then add a knob of butter to each. Continue to cook, adding alternate splashes of water and knobs of butter until the vegetables are caramelised and soft when pierced with a knife. The squash and salsify (or parsnip) will take about 8-10 minutes and the onions up to 30-40 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
To cook the lamb
- Cut each lamb fillet into 3. Add 50g butter to a large frying pan and heat it until foaming and light brown (known as beurre noisette).
- Add the lamb fillets and sautè for 3 minutes each side until browned, spooning the butter over the lamb all the time. Remove from the pan and rest or chill, until ready to serve.
- Remove and discard the cabbage stalks, and shred the leaves as finely as possible. Set aside until ready to serve. Just before serving, melt a knob of butter in a pan. Add the cabbage and a tablespoon or 2 of water. Fry briefly, then cover to steam for 3-4 minutes, so it keeps its colour and is crunchy.
- About 15 minutes before serving, preheat the oven to its highest setting. Spread the lamb and vegetables in a single layer on baking sheets and reheat in the oven for 5 minutes if still warm, or 10 minutes if chilled. Meanwhile, cook the cabbage, and put the jus and lentils on the hob to warm through. Spoon the cabbage onto the plates, slice the lamb and arrange on top, spoon over the lentils and vegetables and serve with the jus.
The difference between a home-made dish and a restaurant meal is often the jus, which is why it is really worth taking the time to make – it has such an intense flavour. You can freeze any leftover jus.
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