Perfect, easy Easter lamb (and what to drink with it)


Photograph: Piers Cunliffe

Photograph: Piers Cunliffe

There are two foods that are a must at Easter: chocolate and roast lamb. Taking inspiration from the latter, Stewart Turner, our chef, has prepared this simple but impressive centre-piece of a roast – a real a show-stopper for Easter Sunday.

This dish uses the saddle – a cut which is second only to the rack in the “prime cut leader-board”. Ask your butcher to bone the joint and trim away any excess fat and the rest is easy. I’ve accompanied the saddle with boulangère potatoes which are just as impressive and a match for lamb as a good left bank Claret. They can be prepared and cooked in advance, leaving plenty of time for the all-important Easter Egg hunt.

For inspiration about the spot-on wine match to go with roast spring lamb, look no further than our suggestions from Simon Field MW.

Spinach & wild garlic saddle of lambServes 6


1 saddle of lamb, about 2.4kg, boned and trimmed
Sea salt and pepper
Splash of olive oil
Knob of butter
500g spinach, stalks removed
250g wild garlic
3-4 cloves garlic
5 sprigs fresh thyme

Heat the oven to 180°C. Open out the saddle of lamb and set aside the eye fillets, season with salt and pepper and leave for a few minutes to draw out the juices.

For the stuffing, heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan and seal the eye fillets, then add a knob of butter, spinach and wild garlic. Season lightly and cook until just wilted.

Spread half of the spinach and wild garlic stuffing over the lamb saddle filling the area between the two eyes of meat. Put the eye fillets and the thin end of the joint together in the centre, and then spread over the rest of spinach mix. Fold one flap of the saddle over, then the other, wrapping firmly to make a neat roll. Secure with string.

Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan seal the meat on all sides until nice and golden brown add the garlic bulb and a few sprigs of thyme. Roast for 30 minutes for medium a little less for medium rare or a Little more for well done. Lift the meat on to a warm platter and rest in a warm place for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve the lamb thickly sliced.

Photograph: Piers Cunliffe

Photograph: Piers Cunliffe

Boulangère potatoesServes 6


2 large onions, peeled and finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
2tbsp fresh rosemary, picked and chopped
2tbsp fresh thyme, picked and chopped
1kg potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
1 litre lamb or chicken stock
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 150°C and grease the base and sides of an ovenproof casserole dish with butter. Heat a good splash of olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onions over a medium heat with the garlic, thyme and rosemary until they start to brown. Add a couple of knobs of butter and continue to cook until they are nicely caramelised.

Place a third of the sliced potatoes over the base of the buttered casserole and season well, then spread over half the caramelised onions. Place another layer of potatoes and top with the remaining onions and potatoes. Dot the top with knobs of butter. Bring the lamb stock to the boil and pour over the potatoes.

Cook in the preheated oven for about an hour, pressing the potatoes down every so often to ensure even cooking add a little more stock if they seem to be drying out. At the end you want a lovely golden top, and potatoes which have absorbed the flavoursome juices, so don’t add too much stock.