Thursday, 30 September 2010

Feta-crusted Lamb with Rich Tomato Sauce

7 or 8 bone rack of lamb, trimmed of fat then cut into 2 racks
a few thyme sprigs, left whole
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying and drizzling
zest 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano

For the sauce:
20g pack flat-leaf parsley
1 fat or 2 regular garlic cloves, crushed 
400g can cherry tomatoes

For the crust:
50g feta cheese, finely crumbled
zest 1/2 lemon
pinch dried oregano
1/2 slice white bread (day old if you can) whizzed into crumbs

Marinate the lamb first, put the racks into a non-metallic dish and mix the thyme, oil, zest, garlic and half the oregano in a bowl then rub this all over the lamb.  Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes or upto 24 hours, take the lamb out in plenty of time so you cook it from room temperature.

For the sauce finely chop the parsley stalks.  Heat a large frying pan then add 1 tbsp olive oil, add the garlic and the stalks then soften for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and remaining oregano and simmer for 5 minutes until saucy, popping the cherry tomatoes with your spoon to release all the juices and seeds.  Chop the parsley leaves roughly and add to the pan.  Preheat the oven to 230'c/Gas Mark 8.  Make the crust by mixing the remaining parsley leaves, feta, zest, oregano and breadcrumbs in a bowl.

When you're ready to cook the lamb leave most of the marinade on the meat and season well with salt and pepper.  Then press the crust onto one side of each piece and sit the racks in the sauce with the crust side facing upwards.  Strew the thyme sprigs from the marinade over the lamb and into the sauce, then drizzle everything with a little extra virgin olive oil.  Roast the lamb in the sauce, uncovered for 20 minutes (for pink and juicy meat) until the crust is golden and the sauce is thickened.  Leave to rest for 10 minutes loosely covered so that the crust doesn't go soggy, then carve the lamb between each bone to make cutlets.  Serve the cutlets with spoonfuls of the roasted down tomato sauce and potatoes/rice.

I made this for our anniversay and it was really something special, although I wasn't too keen on the lemony taste so when I made it again I cut down the amount of lemon used.

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