Food & DrinkRecipes

Lovely Lamb is the perfect treat for Easter

Lovely Lamb is the perfect treat for Easter

Sunday was a very busy day at Dunbrody House — there was an Easter egg hunt for the younger lunchtime visitors, followed by a busy lunch service so I was up to my elbows in the kitchen!

One thing you are sure to find on the menu this week is spring lamb — it’s bang in season and one of my favourite meats.

I am sharing with you my recipe for a stuffed leg of lamb served with boulangere potatoes.

These potatoes are thinly sliced and layered with onions and cooked in stock and make the perfect accompaniment to lamb.

Do ask your butcher to prepare your leg of lamb for you — deboning it can be arduous and you need a very sharp knife so you are not hacking the meat. 

The classic Opéra gateau is a multi-layered sponge cake sandwiched together with chocolate ganache and butter cream and topped with fruit.

This is my take on it, which uses brownie-style chocolate sponge, three types of chocolate mousse and chocolate glazing. It should be prepared a day before required. 

Roast stuffed leg of lamb with boulangere potatoes

Serves 4 -6
100g Parma ham, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves
150g Parmesan cheese, grated
150g breadcrumbs
2 tbsp mint, finely chopped
3 tbsp lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 leg of lamb, bone removed, butterflied (2–3kg)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for rubbing
2 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
Fresh sprigs rosemary
500 ml water
Mint sauce for serving
900g Rooster potatoes, peeled and thinly, uniformly sliced
2 large onions, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to season
200ml lamb or vegetable stock

1. Pre-heat oven to 220˚C/425°F/gas mark 7. Using a food processor, blitz the Parma ham, garlic, parmesan, breadcrumbs, mint, lemon juice, salt, and some pepper until chunky.

2. Lay lamb flat, skin side down. Season with salt, pepper and add the stuffing mixture, leaving a 2cm border. Roll lamb, and tie with kitchen twine at 5cm interval.

3. Rub lamb with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to a roasting pan with carrots and onions on its base,  add water to pan. Scatter the rosemary sprigs around the roasting tray. 

4. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 180˚C/350°F/gas mark 4 and cook for a further 1¼ –1½ hours. 

5. Meanwhile, prepare the potatoes. Place a layer of potatoes in an ovenproof dish, then add a layer of the thinly sliced onions.  Continue to layer potatoes and onions, finishing with a layer of potato. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the stock over the potatoes and place in the oven.

6. Leave meat to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.

Opéra-style chocolate cake

Serves 12–16 
90g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) 
135g butter, softened 
135g caster sugar 
2 eggs and 65g plain flour 
For the dark chocolate mousse 
125g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
1 egg, separated
250ml cream, lightly whipped to soft peaks 
For the milk chocolate mousse 
125g milk chocolate (33% cocoa solids), chopped 
1 egg, separated
200ml cream, lightly whipped 
For the white chocolate mousse 
125g white chocolate (28% cocoa), chopped 
1 egg, separated
200ml cream, lightly whipped 
For the chocolate glaze 
90g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped 
150ml double cream and 30ml water
40g runny honey and 25g butter, cubed  

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line three 22 x 22cm baking sheets with greaseproof  paper. 

2. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. 

3. Put the butter in another bowl and beat until soft. Place the sugar and eggs in a third bowl and beat until pale and fluffy. 

4. Remove the chocolate from the heat and fold in the soft butter. Combine with the egg mixture, then sift in the flour. Mix with spatula until no pockets of flour are left. 

5. Divide the mixture equally among the prepared baking sheets and spread into an even layer 5mm thick. Bake for 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

6. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Leave to cool slightly. 

7. Lightly beat the egg yolk, then add to the melted chocolate and stir well with a spatula. Fold in one-third of the whipped cream, then whisk in the remainder to soften the mixture and loosen its consistency. 

8. Put the egg white into a clean bowl and whisk until stiff. Gently fold into the chocolate cream mixture. Set aside. 

9. Make the milk chocolate and white chocolate mousse in the same way as the dark chocolate mousse. 

10. Line a deep baking tin 22 x 22cm (9 x 9 inches) with three layers of cling film, allowing it to generously overhang the edges. Build the layers of the cake as follows: sponge, dark chocolate mousse, sponge, milk chocolate mousse, sponge, white chocolate mousse. Cover with the overhanging cling film and freeze overnight. 

To make the chocolate glaze, first melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. 

Put the cream, water and honey in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. 

Pour one-third of the boiled cream mixture on to the melted chocolate and mix with a spatula until shiny. Add another third, combine again, then add the final third. Leave to cool to 35–40°C/95–104°F, then add the butter. 

Place the frozen cake on a wire rack over a tray (to catch any drips) and pour the glaze over it. Spread it out smoothly with a rubber spatula or palette knife, then place in the refrigerator for four to six hours to set. 

Before serving, trim the cake edges evenly using a knife dipped in warm water. Use the same technique to cut the cake into slices.