The west coast of Ireland was the next stop on my travels. Crossing the country to the west coast of Ireland the landscape gradually changes from rolling green hills to rugged mountainous ranges. The temperature drops and the rain increases – you definitely know you are on the other side of Ireland.
While on the west coast I visited county Mayo and the Connemara. The scenery is spectacular and so is the produce.
One of the many things Mayo is famous for is its Connemara lamb. I met with Bernard King who rears some of the nimble-footed mountain sheep for which Mayo is so famous – right beside Ireland’s only fjiord. Bernard feeds them purely on natural grasses and fauna which he says makes the lamb so flavoursome and sweet.
I chose to cook with some of their lamb, and test out the sweet flavours. Ireland also has fantastic bread – be it soda, Guinness or brown so for this dish I made a rack of lamb with brown bread crust and crushed peas. It is a modern adaptation of a traditional lamb and vegetable dish, which is such a favourite in the cooler weather. I always like to brown the meat first, to encourage a flavoursome brown crust and and then cook in the oven. However, if you watch the show, you’ll see I do all of this on a gas-fired camping hot plate in a deep Chasseur pot, with the lid making it suitable for baking. So the lamb with the bread crust becomes a very regional dish. Rosemary is always a winner with lamb and I enjoy the crunch of the crust contrasting with the sweet, soft, tender lamb.
Rack of Connemara Mountain Lamb with Brown Bread Crust
Cooking 10 – 15 minutes plus 5 minutes resting
¼ cup (60ml) rapeseed or olive oil
2 racks of lamb (4 cutlets each)
1 small kumara, peeled and diced
6 button mushrooms, sliced
Brown Bread Crust
2 thick slices brown bread
1/4 bunch parsley
8 sprigs rosemary
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place large deep-sided pot (like a Chasseur) over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Season lamb and sear on all sides (optional for pot method). Alternatively preheat oven to 200’C (180’C fan-forced)
Either process dry herb crust ingredients together and then add wet, or chop by hand and mix well. Pack crust onto the fat side of the lamb, pressing down very firmly so it adheres to the meat.
Place in pot and cover with lid. (Or place in pre-heated oven). Cook for 10 minutes or until cooked as desired. Remove to a warm place and rest.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add remaining oil. Add kumara and stir frequently to cook until golden on all sides. Add mushrooms, stir well and cook briefly until mushrooms are just cooked.
Meanwhile bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add peas and cook briefly. Drain and mash.
Mound crushed peas in the centre of two plates. Surround with kumara and mushrooms and top with herb crusted lamb.
Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Ireland on Lifestyle FOOD
Dates and times:
Monday 3 June at 7:30pm and 11:30pm
Saturday 8 June at 11:00am
Sunday 9 June at 11:30pm
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Lyndey Milan, Australian home cook hero, combines a thirst for life and a sense of fun with a love of good food and sparkling shiraz. A familiar face on television and in print, she been instrumental in changing the way Australians think and feel about food and wine for over thirty years.