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Roast Breast of Lamb with Lemon and Apricots

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Breast of lamb is inexpensive yet full of flavor. It is one of those cuts that look a little unpromising, being an odd shape and quite fatty, but get the cooking right and it delivers a great result. Here, the lamb is rolled around a sweet-sharp stuffing that balances its richness. It is then given a long, slow cook to tenderize the meat.

Serves6

Cooking Methodroasting

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 4 hours

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturemeaty, rich, savory

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 or 4 small shallots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • Grated zest of 3 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 breasts of lamb, boned, any skin and surplus fat removed
  • 2 to 3 fennel bulbs, cut into 6 wedges each
  • 2 large onions, cut into 4 wedges each, or 4 small ones, cut in half
  • 2 lemons (the ones you’ve zested for the stuffing), cut into quarters
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A little white wine or water (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. First, make the stuffing. Melt the butter in a small pan, add the shallots and garlic, and cook gently until soft but not colored. Mix the bread crumbs with the apricots, lemon zest, thyme, shallot mixture, and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir in enough egg to bind the mixture lightly.

  3. Lay the breasts of lamb flat on a board and season well. Divide the stuffing between them and spread it evenly, leaving a little space at the edges and at each end. Roll the breasts up tightly, starting at a pointed end, and tie each one in 3 or 4 places with string.

  4. Place the two lamb rolls side by side in a roasting pan. Put into the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the temperature down to 300°F. Lift the lamb rolls out onto a board. Scatter the fennel, onions, and lemon wedges in the roasting pan, turn in the oily pan juices, and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Place the lamb rolls on top and return to the oven. Cook for about 1½ hours, turning the fennel, onions, and lemons occasionally, until both meat and vegetables are tender. Check from time to time and sprinkle the vegetables with a little white wine or water if they appear a little dry. If everything seems to be browning too quickly, cover the whole dish with foil.

  6. Transfer the lamb to a warm serving plate and let rest in a warm place for about 15 minutes. Cut the lamb into thick slices and arrange on warm plates with the roasted vegetables and lemons. Spoon over any juices from the roasting pan (they’ll be fatty, but tasty). Serve with rice or couscous.

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