With a feat of cosmic jiggery pokery the stars aligned themselves in such a way that there was no way I could have made anything but crispy Mongolian lamb pancakes. With Chinese New Year, Shrove Tuesday and my recent purchase of a breast of lamb all coinciding so aggressively that I am beginning to think I might be in the Truman Show.
I’ve been wanting to cook lamb breast for ages having read about it in HFW’s Meat book. Apparently it is great if you cover it in breadcrumbs and then grill it. It’s so riddled with fat that you struggle to find any meat which makes you wonder whether they might be more suitable for soap manufacturers or plastic surgeons. If you are a lover of lean, prime meat, lamb breast is not going to be your thing.
But, if like me, you think that devouring crispy, salty lamb fat is one of life’s purest pleasures, lamb breast is a dream. With a double cooking method of poaching and then grilling you can transform skanky carcase into culinary crack.
This recipe is inspired by Cooking the Books and is amazing. It served as a brilliant follow up to last year’s crispy aromatic pork belly recipe. And I am very proud to say that it won this year’s highly competitive pancake competition with a sensational green Thai pheasant curry filling from Nick and Harriet coming in second by half a vote.
100ml of dark soy sauce
200ml of Chinese wine
1 large chunk of ginger, peeled and cut into pieces
1 seeded red chilli
3 sticks of Chinese cinnamon
4 star anise
¼ jar of five spice
1kg of unrolled lamb breast
Enough water to cover
5 dried Chinese mushrooms
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
Stage 1. The day before you want to eat this, chuck everything into a large saucepan and then cover with enough water to ensure the lamb is just submerged. Simmer for 3 hours with the lid on. Your kitchen will smell amazing. The combination of ginger, cinnamon and five spice with a background note of lamb is sensational.
Remove the lamb and place it in a bowl. Cover in cling film and chill until needed. Strain the remaining, fatty liquid into a separate bowl, cover in cling film and chill.
Stage 2. Remove the bowls from the fridge. Lift the layer of solidified fat, which will look like a slab of white chocolate, off the sauce and discard. Pour the liquid into a sauté pan and reduce until it becomes syrupy.
Stage 3. Shred the lamb and shake some salt over it. Then place under the grill for around 5-8 minutes until it crisps up.
Spread some crispy lamb in a pancake and accompany it with some sliced spring onions and cucumber before anointing with the dark sticky sauce. The combination of crunchy, salty, heavenly lamb with the cooling greenery and sweet sauce is bliss.
Spring breast of lamb with lemon and rosemary
Greek breast of lamb
Curried crusted lamb breast
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Breast of lamb with tartare sauce
Lamb breast stuffed with bacon and apricots
If you've got any amazing lamb breast recipes please let me know.