If the sight of raw meat offends – you might want to look away now. If, like me, you are a proud omnivore & lover of all things lamb, then by all means, read on!
I have been thinking about the type of recipes I have been posting lately & realised that the majority have been sweet. As much I love making & baking the sweet stuff, I also love a good savoury dish or meal & thought I should get back in touch with those on the blog!
Since returning to a full-time office job late last year, the cooking of dinners has fallen to my partner J-man, with my time in the kitchen limited to rushed breakfasts & precious weekends. We have a good routine going, but sometimes I long for something a little more creative than sausages & mash or chicken tacos – both big favourites with the little people of the house. So, while I dare not complain about the weekdays, as I am very aware of how lucky we are as a family to have the set up we do, I love it when the weekend rolls around & I can immerse myself back in the kitchen & just, play.
Lamb has always been a regular at my dinner table. In his early years my father was a butcher by trade & I have memories of our kitchen bench being covered in different cuts of meat, all of us running around labelling & packing freezer bags after Dad had been out to the local farms, bartering his skills with a gun & a knife for fresh meat for our dinner. We were fortunate, that even in tough financial times, we always had the most tender, flavoursome & hearty protein in our tummies. He would explain the different cuts & how they were best prepared & cooked – lessons I have never forgotten. Lamb, beef, chicken & pork – all were welcomed & respected at our table. Except for offal, despite Dad’s love of it, the rest of us could not then, or now cope with eating those bits.
I picked up these gorgeous cutlets at the local Farmers’ Market the day I made this dish. They were trimmed well & beautifully marbled. Marbling is important, it is the difference between tender & tough. Too much & they will be fatty, but not enough & it will be like eating on old boot! Lamb cutlets are best cooked rare, quickly over a medium-high heat. This will maintain their sweet flavour & ensure they are tender & delectable.
Crumbs are such a tasty addition, adding a layer of seasoned crispness to coat the soft meat underneath. As I am in the process of cutting back on the amount of gluten & lactose in my diet (more about that another time), I chose to use a rice based crumb mix, combined with lactose free milk in the egg wash. Rice crumbs are readily available in most supermarkets or health food stores, or if you have a powerful enough food processor / blender, you can make your own by, blending uncooked rice to a fine crumb, then adding your preferred herbs & spices. They make a light & delicious coating crust for all kinds of meat, or even vegetables such as potatoes.
Please forgive the decidedly ghastly photography here, this preparation was occurring right in the middle of ‘feral hour’, with the kids screaming the house down, it was getting dark outside & I could not have had less time or patience with the household or the camera! I got the setting all wrong & there was light reflecting off everything.
All that aside though, the process of cooking is pretty simple. Heat your pan, your oil, then cook the lamb quickly, turning after only a few short minutes. The camera does them no justice here, well, maybe not the camera, so much as the crappy photographer!
The sweet potato mash is a bit of a non-recipe really – one of the best kind. Roasted sweet potato is as simple as popping a whole potato in the oven & cooking it until you see the skin bursting & the juices caramelising on the tray, Once cooled slightly, the skin will peel easily away from the flesh, leaving you a fluffy soft mass of bright orange goodness. Add some roasted garlic cloves, mash them all together & you are done. You can add a little milk & butter for extra creaminess, if you wish, but the natural velvety texture & sweetness is enough on its own.
I also threw together a simple yoghurt dipping sauce, by adding some lemon & parsley to some greek yoghurt. You can find the recipe for that here. It is a lovely addition to this dish. Lamb & tangy yoghurt are a fantastic combination, then the added zing you get from fresh lemon rounds it out beautifully. Plus, what little person doesn’t like to ‘dip-dip’ everything! 🙂
Here’s how it all came together;
- 14 lamb cutlets, trimmed of excess fat
- 300 grams rice crumbs - (I used Organ)
- 1/4 cup garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- freshly ground salt & pepper to taste
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons milk - (I used Zymil Lactose Free)
- 1/2 cup gluten free plain flour - (I used brown rice flour)
- Up to 4 tablespoons cooking oil - (I used extra virgin olive oil)
- 1 - 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 bulb garlic, unpeeled
- In a medium bowl, combine the rice crumbs, garlic powder, oregano, basil & salt & pepper*.
- Using three wide bowls, or similar, add gluten free flour to one, lightly beaten eggs to the second & about a cup full of the rice crumb mix to the last.
- Coat each cutlet, starting with flour, then eggs, then crumb mix.
- Allow the crumbed cutlets to come to room temperature before cooking.
- Using a fry pan or skillet, over medium-high heat, add oil.
- Add cutlets, leaving space between each one in the pan, so as not to overload the pan.
- Shallow fry the cutlets until lightly browned on the outside & pink on the inside - about 4 minutes of each side.
- Transfer cooked cutlets to tray lined with paper towel, this will keep the crumbs crisp & soak up any excess oil.
- Pre-heat oven to 210 degrees celcius.
- Place whole sweet potatoes on a lined baking tray & roast for around 2 hours, or until completely cooked through. (They will show a splitting of the skin & caramelisation of the juices on the tray).
- After about an hour, add the garlic bulb to the oven tray with the sweet potato.
- Allow to cool slightly before peeling away the skin.
- Discard skin & transfer the flesh to a bowl or saucepan.
- Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from their skin, in with sweet potato.
- Mash both together until well combined & fluffy. Add milk & butter to taste if you wish.
- Season with salt & pepper.
- * - this will make a larger quantity of crumb mix than needed for this recipe. I use what I need then store the remainder in an airtight container to use with other meats such as chicken or fish.
So there you have it, Crumbed Lamb Cutlets with Roasted Sweet Potato Mash. I hope you like this as much as we do!