Best end and shoulder of salt marsh lamb, red pepper, pineapple, mint oil and cobnuts

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Matt Gillan's lamb rack and shoulder recipe is testament to his innovative and unique style of cooking. Pineapple, lamb and cobnut may not spring to mind immediately as natural partners, but Matt's lightness of touch in using weird and wonderful combinations pulls the dish together to produce a thing of beauty.

First published in 2015




Shoulder of lamb

Best end of lamb

Mint oil

  • 2 bunches of mint, washed leaves only
  • 300g of oil



  • 1/2 pineapple, peeled
  • 100g of sugar
  • 10g of salt
  • 100g of white wine vinegar

Red pepper purée



  • Muslin cloth
  • Sous vide equipment
  • Thermomix
  • Chinois
  • Robot Coupe


Begin by preparing the mint oil. Blanch the mint leaves in a pan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes until they just start to soften. Drain well, refresh in iced water then drain again, squeezing out as much excess water as possible. Blend with the oil in a Robot Coupe for 10 minutes
  • 2 bunches of mint, washed leaves only
  • 300g of oil
Prepare a double-layered muslin bag, tip the mint oil into the bag and hang over a bowl to collect all of the strained oil - this process should take 4-6 hours
Meanwhile, prepare the lamb shoulder. Add the salts and ras el hanout to a bowl, mix to combine then rub the mix all over the shoulder. Preheat a barbecue or very large griddle pan until extremely hot and add the shoulder, searing on both sides until blackened
Remove the shoulder and wrap tightly and thoroughly in cling film. Place on a perforated tray and into a steam oven or large steamer for 4 hours until the meat is soft and tender
Once ready, remove and discard the cling film. Cut away any gristle using a sharp knife and carefully slide the bones out. Remove the skin and fat and chop the skin into a small dice. Shred the meat, reincorporate with the fat and skin and roll into a 4cm diameter ballotine, approximately 20cm in length. Place in the fridge to set
For the sauce, heat the oil in a frying pan until very hot, then add the bones and cook until very well-coloured all over. Tip the bones and juices into a colander positioned over a bowl and deglaze the pan with the wine
  • vegetable oil
  • 2kg lamb bones, chopped
  • 500g of white wine
Add a dash of oil to a separate pan, place over a medium-high heat and add the onions. Cook until dark and golden. Tip the onions into a pressure cooker, along with the reserved browned bones, wine (from deglazing), veal and chicken stocks. Add the lid, cook over a medium heat for 2 hours then remove the pan from the heat. Allow the pressure cooker to equalise naturally
  • vegetable oil
  • 1000g of onion, finely sliced
  • 1000ml of chicken stock
  • 1000ml of veal stock
Strain the contents of the pressure cooker through a chinois into a clean pan. Place over a medium-high heat and reduce by 2/3 until you are left with a very thin sauce. Finely chop the green pepper, thyme and garlic and add to the sauce
Leave to infuse for 1 minute, then strain through a chinois into a bowl. Pass the sauce through a sieve lined with double muslin into another bowl, then repeat this last process with clean muslin
To finish the sauce, blowtorch the red pepper until the skin is black and blistered. Wash off the burnt skin and remove the seeds, stalk and white flesh. Cut the remaining flesh into a brunoise (fine dice) and set aside until ready to serve
Preheat the water bath to 85˚C
To prepare the pineapple, add the sugar, salt and vinegar to a pan and bring to the boil. Keep boiling until thick and sticky, forming a gastrique, and allow to cool. Combine the pineapple and the gastrique in a vac pac bag, seal tightly and cook in the water bath for 25 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the bag and slice into portions
  • 100g of sugar
  • 10g of salt
  • 100g of white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 pineapple, peeled
For the red pepper purée, roughly chop the peppers. Heat a small dash of oil in a heavy-based pan, add the chopped peppers and cook for 1 minute. Cover the pan tightly with cling film to make it airtight and cook on a low heat until the peppers are soft
Remove the cling film and tip the contents of the pan into a Thermomix. Blitz for 10 minutes, pass through a chinois and keep warm
Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.5
For the cobnuts, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl (apart from the nuts), then add the nuts and toss to combine. Spread out on a lined baking tray and roast for 12 minutes
Preheat the water bath to 58°C
To prepare the best end of lamb, carefully cover the exposed bones with foil to avoid discolouration. Place the whole rack into a large vac pac bag with the rendered lamb fat, garlic and thyme and seal tightly, ensuring you are careful not to let the bones pierce the bag. Cook in the water bath for 70 minutes
Once cooked, remove the rack from the bag and season all over. Place a large pan over a medium heat and once hot, add the lamb fat-side down. Cook until the fat has rendered down and is caramelised and golden
Turn the rack over, add a generous knob of butter and once foaming, baste the meat with the butter for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes in a warm place
Remove the ballotine of shoulder from the fridge and carefully cut into 4cm cylinders. Add a dash of oil to a hot pan and sear the ballotines, colouring all over until dark and golden
  • vegetable oil
To serve, warm the sauce and add the reserved brunoise of red peppers. Carve the rack into individual chops and place a ballotine of shoulder into the centre of each plate. Rest the chop against it, with the bone pointing high
Dot the red pepper purée around the centre of the plates and add the pineapple and cobnuts. Spoon over the sauce, drizzle over some mint oil and add some nasturtium leaves to finish. Serve immediately

A protégé of Daniel Clifford, Gordon Ramsay and John Campbell, Matt Gillan is well versed in the hallmarks of high-end cuisine, yet he retains a dazzling streak of originality.

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