Lamb en croute, courgettes and mint

Jun Tanaka's lamb en croute recipe offers unrivalled perfection, comprised of lamb loin wrapped with a layer of confit lamb shoulder, rich mushroom and truffle purée, spring cabbage leaves and finally a perfect crust of golden pastry. He serves the dish with a lamb jus and minted courgettes, but feel free to vary the accompanying vegetables according to the season.

First published in 2018
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Ingredients

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Imperial

Lamb en croute

  • 1 short saddle of lamb, loins removed and trimmed of fat and sinew (you can ask your butcher to do this for you – ensure you keep the bones to make the sauce)
  • 1/4 lamb shoulder, roughly 500g in weight
  • 1kg duck fat, or 100g duck fat, depending on if you're using an oven or sous vide to cook the shoulder
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 4 spring cabbage leaves, blanched
  • 250g of puff pastry, rolled into a 3mm thick rectangle and chilled in the fridge
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper

Brine

Yoghurt marinade

Lamb jus

Mushroom purée

Courgette and mint

Equipment

  • Food processor
  • Sous vide equipment (optional)

Method

1
To begin, make the brine for the lamb shoulder. Pour all the brine ingredients into a pan and bring to a simmer. Leave to cool then add the lamb shoulder. Leave for 24 hours
2
Now make the yoghurt marinade. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, cut the lamb loins in half and cover them with the marinade. Place in a dish and leave in the fridge for 24 hours
3
When the shoulder has been brining for 24 hours, preheat either a water bath or oven to 85°C, depending on what you have at home
4
If cooking in a water bath, add the shoulder to a vacuum bag with 50g of the duck fat. Seal and cook in the water bath for 12 hours, until completely tender
5
If cooking in the oven, place the shoulder in a casserole dish and cover with 950g duck fat (or enough to ensure the meat is completely submerged). Top with a lid and cook in the oven for 12 hours
  • 0.95kg duck fat, or 100g duck fat, depending on if you're using an oven or sous vide to cook the shoulder
6
Meanwhile, rinse the marinade off the lamb loins and place in the fridge
7
To make the lamb jus, caramelise the bones and trimmings in olive oil until golden. Drain in a colander
  • lamb bones, and trimmings, kept from the saddle, chopped
  • 1 dash of olive oil
8
In the same pan, sweat the onions and carrots until browned, then place in the colander with the lamb bones
9
Pour the white wine into the saucepan and reduce, scraping the bottom to remove any sediment. Add the bones, cooked vegetables, tomatoes, thyme, garlic and veal stock to the pan, cover with water and gently simmer for 2 hours. Pass through a fine sieve
10
In a clean pan, sweat the peppers and shallots in a dash of olive oil. Add the balsamic vinegar followed by the lamb stock. Bring to the boil then reduce by half, or until the desired flavor and consistency is achieved. Pass through a fine sieve and keep warm
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 50ml of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 dash of olive oil
11
When the lamb shoulder is ready, drain from the duck fat and pat dry. Flake the meat into a bowl, removing any excess fat and sinew
12
Sweat the onions with the remaining 50g duck duck fat in a saucepan until soft and translucent. Drain, then add to the lamb shoulder. Season, mix well, then add 2 tablespoons of the lamb jus and mix again
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 0.05kg duck fat, or 100g duck fat, depending on if you're using an oven or sous vide to cook the shoulder
  • pepper
  • salt
13
Take two sheets of baking parchment and place the lamb shoulder mix on one sheet. Place the other piece of parchment on top. Using a rolling pin, roll the mix out to a rectangle shape ½cm in thickness. Place in the fridge to chill
14
To make the mushroom purée, sweat the shallots, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil for 15 minutes. Season, add the truffle paste, place in a food processor and blitz. Pour the purée into a small bowl and set aside
15
Take the lamb shoulder out of the fridge and cut into 4 rectangles that will be large enough to wrap the lamb loins. Wrap the loins in the shoulder, spoon a thin layer of mushroom purée on top, then wrap the lamb in a leaf of spring cabbage and then tightly in cling film to set the shape. Place in the fridge to chill
16
Cut the rolled puff pastry to the size of the lamb, take the wrapped lamb out of the cling film and then encase in puff pastry. Brush the top with egg yolk, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and chopped rosemary
17
Preheat the oven to 210°C/190°C fan/gas mark 7
18
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes on a wire rack
19
For the courgettes, add all of the ingredients to a bowl and season. To serve, slice the lamb in 4 equal pieces and arrange on a plate, place the courgettes next to the lamb and pour the jus into a small jug to serve on the side

After learning his craft in the UK’s best restaurants throughout the 1990s, Jun Tanaka utilises his rigorous classical training to create impeccable small plates of French and Mediterranean food at his relaxed neighbourhood restaurant in Fitzrovia.

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