I prefer Autumn lamb, more flavoursome than spring and in my mind, less mean-spirited to eat. It’s had a chance to gambol about and is saved from the misery of the long dark days of winter. It will never know what it’s like to leave the shed first thing in the morning in the dark and come home after a hard day still in the dark. It’s had one glorious summer.
Harissa, garlic and rosemary were born to go with lamb. Spread all over a leg and studded through is a heavenly mix. Here though, I’ve stuffed the breast with a few other bits and pieces then rolled it tightly, slowly roasting it, at first on high to crisp the skin, then slowly for a few more hours so all the flavours melt into each other. Once you’ve done the chopping, which is a pretty quick job, you can just put it in the oven and you’re free to do some gambolling of your own.
We ate this with a butter bean mash laced with lemon juice to cut through the richness. All you need for this is a tin of butter beans, the juice of half a lemon, some salt and thyme sprigs. Heat them all together in a pan and crush until mashed.
1kg lamb breast
A few thyme sprigs, leaves only
1tbsp cumin seeds
Salt and pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 fat garlic clove
For the stuffing
6 dried apricots, preferably the natural black ones, chopped
A handful of pistachios, crushed
1tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 block of feta
Heat the oven to 220c
Roll back the layers of meat and sprinkle the thyme and cumin seeds under the first layer of skin.
Lay the next layer back down and spread all over with the harissa then sprinkle over the pistachio. Spread over the onion, garlic and chilli then the apricot and capers.
Crumble over the feta and sprinkle on the cinnamon.
Tightly roll the lamb and tie it well all round with string.
Cook for half an hour then turn the oven down to 150c and cook for another two and a half hours. Leave to rest and carve into slices.