This butterflied leg of lamb is great to feed a family or a group of friends. It is delicious cooked on the barbecue, but it works in the oven all year round. Because it is off the bone, it cooks quickly and it is very straightforward to carve.
There are lots of interesting spices in both the lamb and chicken recipes today, and each is lovely served with a salad. There are lots of variations on piri-piri chicken, and this one is a bit inspired by Portugal after my recent filming trip there.
The beer keeps the chicken nice and moist. For chicken, it is hard to beat Noone’s Poultry in Inishowen, which is run by Gerard Noone. Thank you to Donegal chef Brian McDermott for introducing me to them – they are producing some of the best chicken I have ever tasted. These crème pots have Spanish roots.
We are lucky to have a very fine soft fruit producer in Stamullen. I was delighted to visit Pat Clarke, Mary and the team last week, and once again they have fabulous strawberries. We have used their fruit in the restaurant for a good few years now and it never disappoints.
Butterflied leg of lamb with spiced yoghurt and mint
1 x 3kg (6½lb) leg of lamb, boned and well trimmed, roughly 5cm (2in) thick
25g (1oz) fresh mint, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 tbsp thick Greek yoghurt
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp mild chilli powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Lightly dressed green salad, to serve
1 Place the lamb in a shallow, non-metallic dish. Put the mint in a food processor with the lemon juice, garlic, yoghurt, olive oil, ground coriander, chilli powder, ground cumin and coarsely ground black pepper, then blitz until smooth.
2 Rub all over the meat, then cover with cling film and chill overnight or leave to stand at room temperature for two to three hours (if time is short).
3 Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F/gas mark 8), or light a barbecue.
4 If the lamb has been chilled overnight, bring it back to room temperature.
5 If cooking in the oven, place the lamb on a rack in a large roasting tin, cut side up, and season with salt.
6 Roast for 15 minutes, then turn over and roast for another 10 minutes for rare.
7 Barbecue over medium-hot coals for about 50 minutes for medium-rare lamb, turning occasionally.
8 Remove the lamb from the oven or barbecue and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. If you don’t like your lamb too pink, you can cover it with foil at this point and it will continue to cook.
6 To serve, carve the lamb into slices and arrange on plates with some lightly dressed salad.
Piri-Piri Chicken with Jacket Potatoes
1 x 2kg whole chicken
1 x 500ml can of beer
Rapeseed oil, for drizzling
4–6 potatoes (each about 200g)
For the marinade
100ml red wine vinegar
2 hot dried chillies
6 mild fresh red chillies
6 garlic cloves
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp light brown sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tomato and red onion salad with parsley
1 To make the marinade, put the vinegar in a pan with the dried chillies and bring to the boil.
2 Remove from the heat and cool, then pour into a blender or food processor. Add the fresh chillies, garlic, paprika, thyme, oregano, sugar and lemon juice. Blitz to a smooth paste.
3 Place the chicken in a shallow, non-metallic dish and use a small knife to score all over with small cuts that are no more than 1cm deep.
4 Pour over the marinade, then using your hands (a pair of plastic gloves is a good idea here because of the chillies), massage the chicken all over, inside and out.
5 Cover with cling film and chill for at least two hours, but overnight is best.
6 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Remove the top shelf so that the upright chicken will fit.
7 Open the can of beer and pour about a quarter of it into a small, sturdy roasting tin.
8 Give the marinated chicken another good smear in the marinade, then place it upright over the beer can in the sturdy tin and drizzle over the oil. Roast in the oven for one hour.
9 Put a criss-cross cut into the top of each potato and wrap it in tin foil. Pop the potatoes in around the chicken directly on the oven shelf.
10 Cook for another 30–35 minutes, until a crust has formed on the outside of the chicken and the drumsticks move easily when gently tugged.
11 Leave to rest for 20 minutes while the potatoes finish cooking, then cut into portions and carve the breasts into slices.
12 Arrange the chicken on a platter and pile the jacket potatoes alongside.
13 Serve with a plate of tomato and red onion salad and separate dishes of butter and lemon wedges.
Crème pots with seasonal berries
6 egg yolks
150g (5oz) honey
40g (1 ½ oz) cornflour
900ml (1 ½ pints) milk
1 cinnamon stick
Rind of 1 lemon
Rind of 1 orange
2 tbsp Demerara sugar
Seasonal berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries or blackberries), to serve
1 Place the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl with the honey. Using a hand-held whisk, beat for five minutes, until thickened. Tip in the cornflour and mix until well combined.
2 Place the milk in a small pan with the cinnamon stick, lemon and orange rind. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for five minutes.
3 Strain the milk, discarding the cinnamon stick, lemon and orange rind, then gradually whisk the warm milk into the egg and honey mixture.
4 Place in a clean pan set over a low heat. Cook gently for 10–15 minutes, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat.
5 Leave to cool, then pour into individual ramekins or one larger dish (if serving family style, as pictured) and chill for at least four hours or overnight to allow the custard to set.
6 When ready to serve, sprinkle the tops evenly with the Demerara sugar and caramelise with a blow torch or under a preheated hot grill. Arrange on plates with a nice selection of seasonal berries to serve.