An Easter feast

Peter Walters, Keele University’s Executive Chef, celebrates Easter with some teatime treats

It’s hard to believe there are only three months to the end of another academic year. Soon, the April showers will pass, the sun will come out and the Easter bunny will deliver a chocolate heaven. At this time of year I always like a bit of lamb, and I’ve noticed that breast of lamb is relatively cheap, so why not give this recipe a go?

Breast of Lamb with a Mustard Crust
For 4 persons 

2 breasts of lamb on the bone,
skin removed (a boneless roll can be used)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 carrots
2 onions
1 garlic bulb peeled into cloves
Small bunch thyme
2 bay leaves
1 bottle white wine
4 tbsp English mustard
100g white breadcrumbs (freshly made)
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp cornflour
Boiled new potatoes and watercress to serve

1.) Heat the oven to 180ËšC. Peel and chop the carrot and onion. Heat the oil in a roasting tin or frying pan and brown the carrot, onions and garlic on the hob for about five minutes. Scatter the thyme and bay leaves over the vegetables then lay the lamb on top if using a roasting tin, otherwise transfer all to a casserole or tray. Pour the bottle of wine and about 350ml water over, season well with salt and pepper and cover tightly with a sheet of foil if using a tin, or cover with a lid. Cook the lamb for 2½ hours then remove from the oven.

2.) Leave the lamb to cool slightly before gently pulling out the bones. Pour the juices and vegetables into a container and chill. This can be prepared a couple of days in advance and chilled.

3.) Increase oven temperature to 200ËšC and lay the lamb, skin-side up, in a shallow roasting tin and generously brush with mustard. Heavily sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes until the crumbs are toasted and crisp.

4.) Meanwhile, lift the solid fat pieces off the cold cooking liquor or, if serving from warm, be sure to skim off as much fat as possible and boil up in a saucepan. Discard the bay leaves and thyme. Taste, adjust seasoning and thicken with a little cornflour mixed with water.

5.) Lift the lamb onto a board and cut into pieces. Serve with the vegetables in their sauce, boiled potatoes and watercress.

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