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As I mentioned the other day, money is scarce this week, and as part of our budget food shop last weekend I picked up 300g of lamb breast for 69p. I’d not cooked breast of lamb before, but have had experience of attempting to eat a rolled breast roast which clearly hadn’t gone very well. Beside the fact that we really didn’t have enough for a roast, I wanted to do something different with it and I do declare this meal to be one of the favourite things I’ve cooked in a very long time! I’d even go so far as to hazard it being restaurant quality *blows own trumpet* It’s time-consuming, in the fact that the meat needs low slow cooking, and there are several elements to the dish, but the whole thing can be prepared in advance and the final cook through only takes 5 minutes, which is perfect if you don’t quite know when your other half will be home from work.
You end up straining a huge amount of fat off of this dish, but don’t despair – anything you strain off isn’t going into you! If possible, the best thing to do would probably be to braise the lamb the day before cooking the stir-fry, refrigerate the broth and simply spoon off the solidified fat from the top the following day. However, I did it all in one afternoon, so it’s perfectly fine to do so. To counteract the richness of the lamb, you need to keep the stir fried veg as simple as possible, with no sauce and a sliced chilli to cut through the meat and its sauce. I highly recommend trying this dish out. I worked it out as costing about £1 for 2 portions, though even if the lamb and asparagus I used had been full price it would only have come to around £2 altogether. Definitely worth a shot, even if it doesn’t go 100% to plan!
Crispy Chinese-style Breast of Lamb with Stir Fried Vegetables
300g lamb breast
Chinese 5 spice
1 Clove Garlic
Dried Galangal (or root ginger if you can’t find galangal)
1 tsp Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Sake
1 tablespoon Tomato Purée
1 Chicken Stock Cube
1 onion, sliced
2 dessert spoons Honey
For the Stir Fry
1 yellow pepper
4 asparagus spears
1 red chilli
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Noodles or rice to serve
- Score the skin of the lamb and rub generously with 5 spice powder. Slice the ginger and galangal finely and push into the scores, all over the meat. Mix together the sugar, soy sauce and sake and sit the lamb in it to marinade, overnight if possible.
- Placed the onion in the bottom of a casserole dish and lay the lamb on top. Dissolve the stock cube in the marinade, and add the tomato purée. Pour this over the lamb, with enough hot water to cover the meat. Cover and cook at 180OC/350OF/Gas mark 4 for around 3 hours.
- Remove from the oven, remove the lamb from the broth and leave to cool separately. If possible, refrigerate the broth until the fat rises to the top and sets. Remove as much of the fat as possible, and place the broth in a small pan with the honey.
- Pull the lamb apart with your fingers, discarding any bones and place the shreds in a cold, dry frying pan.
- Chop the onion, pepper, courgette and asparagus and place in a cold lidded wok with the sesame oil. Stir well to completely coat the veg. Slice the chilli very finely and add to the veg, removing the seeds.
- Once you are ready to serve, warm through the lamb cooking broth on a low heat. Stir-fry the veg, placing the lid on at intervals to steam it. Heat the lamb first on a high heat, and then on a medium-low heat, until all of the fat has rendered from the meat. The lamb will go crispy quite quickly, so keep a close eye on it as well as continuing to stir the veg and the broth.
- Remove the lamb shreds from the fat and drain well. Dish up the rice or noodles, topped with the veg, followed by the lamb and drizzle the broth over the top of the lamb. Delicious!