I have, well and truly, developed an addiction: making croquettes. Out of anything and everything. I love how much that little addition of crunchy flavour can add to the plate. Nanny Bill’s has been a massive inspiration – their food truck, based in London, is known for their signature croquettes such as mac’n’cheese and pea, mint and feta. I love bread-crumbing anything and deep-frying it – whether it be arancini (risotto balls), potatoes or completely obscure fillings. With this recipe, I already had a crunchy element with the lamb, but I knew the little injection of goats cheese would help cut through the sweetness of the peas and the richness of the meat. When making croquettes is so simple and allows so much room to experiment, how could you resist giving it a go?!
Lamb is a relatively new meat for me. I’ve grown up as a fussy eater – not as a result of my parents, particularly my mum who has continuously pushed for me to try new things. But until recent years, I was still refusing to eat common foods such as tomatoes, lamb and cauliflower. However, this is something I’ve worked on, pushing myself to try them. And guess what? I now enjoy all of these foods. Especially tomatoes – I would go as far as to say they are now one of my favourite things to eat. I can sit down on my own in front of the TV, and work my way through a punnet of cherry tomatoes without a second thought. This is an ideology I want to instill in others who love food, but only select foods. There will be things you do not like, no matter how hard you try – believe me, I wish I loved fish but I just really do not enjoy eating it. However, there are many foods out there that people think they don’t like, but would if they gave it a second chance. Many still have the ideas of food they hated as children stuck in the back of their mind. For example, if you don’t eat lamb as you find it too fatty, give a recipe ago that uses a lean cut – I have a great adaptation on the site of an Atul Kochhar recipe for an Indian-inspired lamb rump. It’s not particularly fatty, and the spices really help to make it into more than just a piece of meat.
If you’re feeling even braver, then give this recipe a go! It’s very easy to put together, and a lot can be prepped in advance – e.g. crumb your lamb earlier in the day, form the croquettes and leave in the fridge, slice the potatoes and set aside in cold water. Despite it’s simplicity, there’s no denying that it looks great on the plate.
200g frozen petit pois
a small handful of fresh mint leaves
100g sugarsnap peas
small knob of butter
1 x 8 bone lamb rack, cut in 2 and french trimmed
3 x tbsp breadcrumbs – i would normally make my own for a dish like this, however i had leftover panko breadcrumbs from making the bon bons and they worked really well
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
zest of 1 x lemon
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tbsp fresh mint
seasoning, to taste
400g potatoes (i used desiree), peeled (try to use smaller potatoes of a similar size)
130g unsalted butter
a small handful of fresh thyme sprigs
salt and pepper, to taste
goats cheese bon bons
100g soft goats cheese
flour, for dusting
1 x egg, beaten
150g panko breadcrumbs
sunflower oil, to deep fry
- start by forming your bon bons – they will then have plenty of time to chill in the fridge before frying, helping to keep their shape. split the soft goats cheese into 4 x 25g portions and roll into a ball shape. roll in flour and coat thoroughly. then dip into the egg, and finally roll in the breadcrumbs. i found that the coating wasn’t as thick as i’d like, so i repeated the steps again just to get the extra crunch! cover with cling film pop the bon bons in the fridge until ready to cook.
- next, prep the lamb. in a bowl, combine the oil, breadcrumbs, fresh herbs and lemon zest, and season to taste. press the lamb, fat side down, into the crumb mixture until well coated. set aside until ready to cook – i leave mine at room temperature if cooking in the next hour or so. otherwise, pop in the fridge.
- pre-heat the oven to 190ºc. using a mandolin, slice the potatoes. if you don’t have a mandolin, please take the time to slice the potatoes evenly and finely. it makes all the difference to the final result as you get a fantastic crisp on the edges.
- melt the unsalted butter in a small saucepan. using a pastry brush, brush some of the butter mixture into the inside of a large muffin tin – the size of tin you’d use for large, wide-set yorkshire puddings. line the bottom with a layer of baking paper, and brush the top again with butter. start to layer up your potato slices, and between each layer drizzle over some of the melted butter and add a small amount of fresh thyme. keep going until you’ve reached a small stack, and drizzle any leftover butter over the top. cover with foil, and pop in the oven for 35 minutes.
- take the potatoes out of the oven, and remove foil. at this point, your potatoes and lamb can now go in the oven together to be ready at the same time. pop them in for a further 20 minutes – the lamb should come out medium and potatoes nice and crisp.
- while your lamb and potatoes are cooking, heat the sunflower oil until it reaches 170°c – any higher, and you may burn the croquettes very quickly.
- whilst the oil is heating, pop your sugarsnap peas and petit pois in a saucepan together. add salt, and cover with water. bring to the boil on a medium high heat and simmer until cooked through.
- remove sugar snap peas from the pan and add to a bowl with the butter. set aside. blend your petit pois with the fresh mint leaves, until mushed but not silky smooth – i think the chunkiness of the peas adds a greater texture and keeps the sweet flavour.
- once the oil is heated, add the bon bons using a metal slotted spoon. they will cook very quickly, as you don’t want the cheese to fall apart too much and lose the structure – give them 2-3 mins max. remove from the oil using the slotted spoon, and set aside on kitchen towel to drain of excess grease.
- time to plate! the lamb works really well on a bed of the petit pois, resting against the potatoes. despite a lot of butter and oil in the dish, the vegetables really keep it fresh and sweet.