British lamb is at its very best at this time of year. A lamb breast is a poor man’s cut of meat but full of flavour. However if you don’t like the fattier cuts of meat then this is not the dish for you. As with most cheap cuts of meat the breast needs long, slow cooking to render the fat and tenderize the meat. In most Scottish butchers breast of lamb is readily available but elsewhere you might need to talk to your butcher about ordering it. I like to serve this with a mixed bean ragout-a tin or two of cannellini beans, stewed with some tomatoes, garlic, herbs and some lightly cooked French beans stirred in at the last minute.
- 100g mixed green and black pitted olives
- 30g pack fresh mint, leaves only
- 2 preserved lemons, halved and pips removed
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1 lemon, cut into thick slices
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 boned breast of lamb, about 900g
- Heat the oven to 150˚c, fan oven 130˚c, mark 2. Place the olives, mint leaves, preserved lemons and garlic in a food processor and pulse to a coarse paste.
- Untie the lamb and unroll it, spreading it flat, skin side down, on a board. Season with a little salt and ground black pepper and spread the paste over the meat. Roll up and tie with string 3 or 4 times. Place the lemon slices in a roasting tin and rest the rolled breast on top-the lemon slices act as a sort of trivet. Drizzle over the olive oil and season with a little salt and ground black pepper. Cover with a sheet of foil.
- Roast in the oven for 3 hours. Turn the heat up to 170˚c, fan oven 150˚, mark 3 and roast for a further 1 hour. Leave to rest for 15 minutes before cutting into thick slices.