Lamb with goats cheese

For this week’s recipe, try to use lamb from our region. Both the Yorkshire and Durham Dales produce some of the best lamb in the UK. A rack of lamb is mini chops still connected together. Sometimes chefs like to display the meat with a technique known as French trim where the meat is scraped back to leave the ends of the bones clean as shown in the picture here. You might remember sometimes having seen these joints with little paper chef’s hats on the ends of the bones. It’s not essential but, if you really want it, your butcher should be able to do it for you.

For goat’s cheese, I prefer to use one that’s not too strong, but it depends upon how much you like it.  The Northumberland Cheese Company stocks at least a couple of good ones. And Yellison Farm in Skipton, North Yorkshire, does a very good young cheese that’s not as overpowering as many continental ones.

Serves two

  • Two three-rib racks of lamb
  • Four slices of Parma-style ham
  • Two 1cm thick slices of goats cheese
  • One tablespoon of rough chopped sun-blushed tomatoes
  • One tablespoon of pitted black olives
  • A handful of wild mushrooms – chopped
  • A few leaves of basil – torn
  • Four spring onions – roughly chopped
  • One tablespoon of chopped chives
  • Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 210°C (gas mark 7).

In a frying pan, heat a little oil and seal the racks on all sides. Remove from the pan and place the slices of goats cheese on top of their layer of fat. Then use two overlapping slices of Parma ham per rack to wrap the cheese and the lamb in such a way as to leave the bones protruding. The ham should hold and not need securing.

Return the lamb to the pan or place on a baking tray and bake them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes for rare to medium meat. Allow an extra few minutes for the lamb to rest at the end.

Whilst they are cooking, heat another frying pan and add a splash of olive oil. Gently sauté the mushrooms, tomatoes and olives for two or three minutes. Add the spring onions and chives for another minute and the basil leaves at the end. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper but watch the level of salt as the olives, tomatoes and the goats cheese all add a high degree of seasoning themselves.

To serve, place the lamb on warmed plates with the salsa over and around. A few new potatoes would work very well alongside.

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