As much as I enjoy eating and cooking, my close friends would know that I am rarely satisfied with the food I present to them. So, my willingness to post this recipe would probably come as a surprise to them. But I decided to go ahead with this because firstly, it is a simple dish flexible for further modification by others more qualified that I am, and secondly, it goes very well with the beer that I’m posting about next.
I use a 250g piece of organic grass-fed lamb backstrap for this, and it will give you a parcel sufficient for two. I prepare a marinade of 50ml olive oil, chilli oil, black pepper, rosemary, oregano and fennel seed. I finely grind the herbs before adding the oils. Adjust the amount of herbs used according to your personal preference.
You can use dried ground chilli if you don’t have chilli oil, or a dash of Cayanne pepper. I would recommend using normal olive oil because I like the peppery flavour that is absent in extra virgin olive oil.
Leave it to marinate in the fridge for 6 hours (I prepared this before I left the house for work). Remove it from the marinade and wipe off the excess with a kitchen towel, then let it warm to room temperature prior to cooking.
Heat a grill pan until it is smoking hot, then seal the backstrap on both sides for 30secs. DO NOT over-cook it otherwise the meat in the parcel will be dry and tough. Set it aside to rest while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Without taking the pan off the heat, deglaze with a splash of white wine, then add 30g of salted butter. Add 1 diced leek (I tend to use the leaves for the colour) and sweat them in the glaze for 30-45sec. Add 3 slice Swiss brown mushrooms and soften for 60sec. Add fresh ground black pepper and sea salt for taste. Set aside to cool (important that you do this).
Two important things to note. DO NOT use red wine to deglaze. The white wine (preferably Chardonnay serves to give a sharp lemon-acidic lift to the richness of the lamb and the butter. Also, allow the leek and mushrooms to cool slightly otherwise it will cook through the short crust pastry in the next step.
I’m cheating by using supermarket short crust pastry just because I’m terrible at pastry and other aspects of baking. In the middle of a square 30cm sheet (1.5mm thick) of short crust pastry, assemble the parcel by having a layer of leeks/mushroom then place the lamb backstrap on top. I placed a sprig of rosemary on top of the lamb as well.
Fold up the left and right edges of the pastry before sealing the top and bottom, making an envelope seal.
Let this bake in a pre-heated fan-forced oven at 180°C (350F) for 20mins. Rest for 5-10mins before serving.
Voila! Lamb backstrap and leek short-crust parcel. The lamb should still be pink in the centre and soaked up some of the liquid from the buttered leeks. I garnished with pea shoots and brown lentil sprouts for that slight raw grassy flavour which I think suit the lamb. I also whacked on a liberal spoonful of black truffle salsa =)
This was washed down with the amazing Amager Bryghus Fru Frederiksen reviewed here.
Let me know if you have ideas of modifying this preparation method. Enjoy!