I have been fortunate to be married to not only a wonderful, handsome strapping man from Roscommon. I have the added fortune that this strapping man comes from a farming background; sheep farming no less. This means that from time to time my very generous father-in-law bestows on us a slaughtered lamb; cut into various cuts; shoulders, leg, cutlets, rack, chops etc; fresh off the farm, grass fed only. Now you can't get much better than that!!!
I adore lamb, and my diners do love my lamb tagines, my slow roasts, and slow stews. However recently I decided to give the humble lamb chop a make over. I decided to cook my chops in layers in my trusty Le Crusset and give this some punchy Italian flavours, using beautiful juicy cherry tomatoes, high quality olive oil, fantastic Parmesan cheese and thinly cut potatoes. The layers are similar to how one would layer up a lasanga and the slices of potatoes are similar to those used in a tradition hot pot. Hence my Lambsanga.
Rosemary is a classic herb combo with lamb; but so is mint. Mint is usually used as an accompaniment with roast lamb in the form of a sauce. But here I decided to add fresh mint to the layers of meat.
It's a rather simple rustic dish but the flavours are outstanding. It did of course help that the lamb was of a superior quality; so buy your lamb cutlets in the butchers not from your supermarket pre packaged.
- 9 good quality lamb cutlets (bone intact)
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced finely
- 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved.
- 1 wedge of parmesan cheese (for grating) -do not attempt to buy pre-grated plastic parmesan
- 3-4 tbsp of the best olive oil you can buy (I'm using oil bought in a vineyard in Frascati this summer)
- 5-6 leaves of fresh mint, finely sliced
- 8-9 potatoes, peeled and sliced very finely.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
- In a large oven proof casserole dish, pour in some oil.
- Cover the base of the dish with a layer of potatoes, season with salt and pepper, scatter a 1/3 of the tomatoes over the potatoes, followed by a 1/3 of the mint and finally 1/3 of the garlic.
- Lay 2 -3 lamb cutlets on top of the potatoes and grate over a layer of parmesan cheese.
- Repeat step 3 again with the potato layer.
- Repeat step 4 again.
- Continue the layering until all your ingredients are used up, seasoning as you go. This usually gives 3 layers but it depends on the width of you dish.
- Make sure the final layer is potatoes, season well and grate some parmesan over them
- Cover the dish with its lid and baked in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the lid for the final 5-10 minutes to get the poatoes brown and crisp.
- To serve simply with a shallow ladle divide the potatoes and the lamb cutlets between bowls and perhaps scatter with a few remaining mint slivers if you have some leftover.
Such a comfort dish, doesn't style well and it isn't easy to make it photograph pretty. But that's not the aim here. The aim here is to display an immensely comforting dish in all its glory.
Be sure to try this the next wintery cold night outside.