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BREAST OF LAMB WITH APRICOT, LEMON & ROSEMARY STUFFING

March 1, 2010

Spring is here! Discovered lots of fresh snowdrop flowers last weekend so fancied a bit of spring lamb. However, with the current gloomy economic outlook, I’ve been tempted to try unusual cuts of meat to prepare for budget meals. Decided to take a chance on reduced priced (£2!!) boneless breast of lamb in my supermarket. Had never cooked or eaten this before so had to hit the internet to try and figure out what to do.

As it’s an unpopular cut of meat, it’s very cheap and like many other cheaper cuts, breast of lamb benefits from slow cooking. Found a few links which looked tasty and doable where they all had some type of stuffing to flavour the meat but decided to prepare my own version based on these other recipes. One was from a website called “Mostly Eating” for roasted breast of lamb with lemon and rosemary and another from “The Cottage Smallholder” for stuffed breast of lamb with bacon and apricot. Thought I’d try to flavour my lamb with lemon and apricot which are popular accompaniments.

When I took the meat out of the packaging, I was surprised that there were 2 pieces of meat rolled up. Unrolled the lamb and discovered it was very fatty so trimmed off excess fat but left enough behind so the fat would baste the meat while cooking keeping it moist.

Mine actually turned out to be slightly overstuffed as I got carried away plus I didn't have enough string so was very careful manhandling the lamb..!

Made the stuffing and rolled the lamb, (was a bit messy as some stuffing was squeezed out), browned the lamb and slow roasted this for several hours at a low oven temperature. Found it a bit tricky to carve into neat slices but managed anyway. This meat didn’t produce many juices for a good gravy so instead made some up using lamb stock and cornflour to thicken.

The lamb was tender and sweet, not too fatty as the fat had been rendered out during cooking, could taste the apricot, garlic and lemon which was a good contrast to the strong lamb richness. Really enjoyed this simple meal and served this with cumin rice, flavoured with some of the lamb fat. Next time I go shopping, I’m definitely going to look for more old-fashioned cuts of meat to cook.

Here’s the recipe below but adjust the amount of stuffing accordingly. Makes life alot easier if you’re able to obtain boneless breast of lamb from your butcher or supermarket!

Breast of lamb with apricot, lemon & rosemary stuffing

Serves 2-3

800 g boneless breast of lamb

1 tbsp olive oil

butcher’s string

200 mL boiling water

Stuffing

1 onion, finely chopped

7 dried apricots, finely chopped

1 slice wholemeal bread broken into breadcrumbs

several sprigs of rosemary

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced

1 lemon, halved and zest grated from the skin

  1. Trim off excess fat from the meat and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Prepare the stuffing by mixing the onion, apricots, bread, rosemary, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice from one lemon half together. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the stuffing in a line along the centre of the meat and roll up tightly. Some of the stuffing may fall out but I just pushed it in between the folds of meat. Tie with string at various intervals to form a secure, neat roll.
  4. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3, 160 degrees Celcius.
  5. Heat up the olive oil in a flameproof baking tray/casserole dish and brown the lamb all over for about 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add about 200 mL boiling water to the lamb and cover with foil or a casserole lid to prevent the lamb drying out. Cook the lamb in the oven for about 2.5 to 3 hours and baste occasionally.
  7. Let the lamb rest for about 10 min before carefully carving into neat slices.
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