Rolled breast of lamb

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A juicy, succulent, meaty main dish using lamb breast, this easy-to-follow recipe will bring out robust flavours without much fuss. Serve with romesco sauce, charred aubergine, yoghurt and warm lavash bread to create a fabulous summer feast!

A lamb’s breast is the same as a pork’s belly. Why the taxonomical difference I don’t know, but there it is. Call it lamb belly if you prefer. Ask for it off the bone and it will arrive looking like a flap of skin made predominantly of fat, cut through with sparse slivers of pinkish flesh. Don’t be fooled. There’s more meat on this boy than you give it credit for.

The trick, as with any fatty cut, is to cook it low and slow, rendering the fat and leaving meat that falls apart as soon as you look at it. And as with almost any fatty cut, lamb breast is incredibly good value, largely because it does look like a flap of fat, so no one will buy it, and into sausages / the bin, it generally goes.

Point of order – you do pay for this stuff, even if you don’t eat it. You pay for liver, and heart, and brains and kidneys, by not eating them. If the butcher is chucking away perfectly edible stock then he / she is going to have to make up the loss somewhere. Something to bear in mind.

This is easy as you like. We served it with romesco sauce, charred aubergine, yoghurt and warm lavash bread.





Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.5
Lay the lamb breasts flat, skin side down, and sprinkle with the chopped herbs, plenty of salt, and a few twists of pepper. Tie up tightly as best you can. Get a heavy-bottomed pan hot over a good flame with a splash of oil, and brown the breasts all over, seasoning as you go
Transfer to a roasting tray. Add the wine to the frying pan and simmer for a few minutes, scraping up any bits as you go. Tip this over the lamb and cover tightly with foil. Bung in the oven and gently cook for 4 hours
Remove the lamb breast to a plate to rest, and leave the juices until the fat rises to the top. Skim this off and discard, then tip the juice into a saucepan and simmer to reduce. You could add butter at this point but in the summer perhaps it’s unnecessary
Thickly slice the breast and serve with the juice and whatever sides you’re having

James Ramsden is author of four cookbooks, he has written about food and cooking for Delicious magazine, the Guardian, the Times, the London Evening Standard and many others.

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