Easter fare: lamb wellington
Author: Stewart Turner
As we approach Easter, thoughts always turn to lamb. While we might not be hosting extended family or friends, there’s no reason not to make it an event for the household (not to mention any Zoom or FaceTime guests from around the world).
I think this is a real showstopper: a lamb wellington with the secret ingredient of haggis – something that I like to think is more than just a Burns Night supper. It’s a super ingredient that adds a fantastic layer of seasoning to a whole host of dishes. Crumble it into cheddar scones or dumplings, fry it up and add to your shepherd’s pie – it will truly be next level. In this case we crumble it into the mushroom duxelles that wraps the lamb.
Adapt the recipe to what you can get your hands on – the haggis is a nice addition, but not essential. If you can’t buy puff pastry, try your hand at making it (or cheat and go for rough puff). Try your local butcher for the lamb and/or haggis: most are still well-stocked (if busier than ever). This list of local businesses still open and delivering compiled by Ed Smith might be of use.
- 2 lamb cannons – trimmed of excess fat and sinew (approximately 350g each)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Olive oil
- 200g button mushrooms – cleaned and sliced
- 1 shallot – peeled and finely diced
- 1 clove of garlic – peeled and finely chopped
- 1tbsp grain mustard
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme – leaves picked and chopped
- 100g haggis – removed from its casing and crumbled
- 50g butter
- 500g all-butter puff pastry
- 1 handful of plain flour for dusting
- 2 large free-range egg yolks – beaten with 1tsp water
- 4 crêpes – see below
Season the lamb cannons well. Heat a good splash of olive oil in a large frying pan and sear the lamb quickly until browned all over. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
Add a bit more olive oil to the pan and fry the mushrooms until they just start to brown. Add the shallot, garlic, thyme and butter. Season with salt and pepper, cook for a few minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to chill lightly.
Chop the mushrooms in a food processor, then place in a bowl. Mix in the crumbled haggis and grain mustard then chill this, your duxelles, well.
Lay some clingfilm, still attached to the roll, over a chopping board. Overlap two crêpes in the centre and spread with half the duxelles mixture. Sit a lamb cannon on top and wrap the crêpe and duxelles mix to encase the lamb. Roll tightly into a sausage shape with a few layers of clingfilm, twisting the ends of cling film to tighten it as you go. Repeat this process for the second lamb cannon. Chill the lamb in the fridge while you roll out the pastry.
Roll out half the pastry to about 2mm thick, making sure that it is large enough to wrap around the lamb completely. Unravel the lamb from the cling film and sit it in the centre of the pastry. Use the egg wash (two egg yolks beaten with water) to brush one side of the pastry, then fold the pastry around the lamb and secure it on the egg-washed side. Pinch the ends of the pastry shut and trim off any excess. You should now have a neat cylinder of pastry with no openings. Glaze all over with more egg wash and, using the back of a knife, mark the lamb wellington with long diagonal lines, taking care not to cut through the pastry entirely. Repeat with the second wellington. Chill for at least 30 minutes so that the pastry is nice and firm.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C. Place both the wellingtons on a non-stick tray and bake in the oven until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. This should take around 20 minutes, by which time the lamb will be cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for five minutes, then trim off the ends and allow to rest for a further five minutes. Slice each into three and, ideally, serve with some buttered Jersey royals and new season asparagus
- 60g plain flour
- 1 egg
- 140ml milk
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
Whisk together the milk, flour and egg. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the chopped chives.
Cook the crêpes in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat. Place a small ladle of mix in the pan and swirl the pan so the mixture covers the base with a thin layer. Cook for 30 seconds then turn over and cook for a further 30 seconds. Place on a plate and set aside.
What to drink: If you’re including the haggis in this dish, we would go for something with an echoing layer of its own spice: a Southern Rhône blend would do just the trick, but we could also see Rioja working well. If there’s no haggis in sight, then more options would work – anything from an earthy red Burgundy and refined Claret through to Californian Zinfandel.
For more spring lamb inspiration: take advantage of foraging season with this wild garlic recipe.