Learning from a ‘mistake’ while taking part in MasterChef, Hannah Gregory has turned it around and come up trumps with this fabulous vibrant lamb dish
Following my stint on MasterChef, I vowed never to cook lamb again (it was the dish that saw me go home with my tail between my legs). However, we must learn from our mistakes and then feel all smug inside when we rectify them.
This dish looks way more fancy than it is, so is great for impressing your other half or a perfect casual dinner party offering – you can easily scale up the ingredients to allow for a larger crowd. It is honestly so easy. Despite there being a few elements on the plate, you can whip this up in 30 minutes. It’s also perfect to make ahead – the salsa verde, courgettes and cous cous will have a jolly good time being left in the fridge for a day whilst the meat is marinating and then you can just pull everything together when you come to cook the lamb.
This is the perfect summer meal (if I do say so myself) – light and flavourful with nods to the Med, perfect with a chilled glass of wine, obvs. If you close your eyes really tight, manage to get a whiff of something floral in the air and use that good old imagination, you could even be on holiday. Well not really, but we can dream.
I like my lamb pink (despite what Gregg Wallace says), if, like him, you would like it a little more well done, increase the cook time by a couple of minutes. And don’t tell me about it, because I will judge you.
HERBED RACK OF LAMB, MEDITERRANEAN COUS COUS (THE FOOD SO NICE THEY NAMED IT TWICE), PICKLED COURGETTE & MINT SALSA VERDE
Spotify Playlist: Sups
Tipple of Choice: Ice cold Chardonnay
1 French trimmed rack of lamb
100ml olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 large bunch fresh mint – this is going to split across a few elements, half for the salsa verde, quarter in the lamb marinade and quarter in the cous cous
150g cous cous
Half a pomegranate (no judgment here if you buy the pre-prepped seeds – way easier)
Extra virgin olive oil
Handful of Kalamata olives
3 preserved lemons
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 x salted anchovies
15g of capers
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
First up we need to get that lamb marinating – as always with marinating meat, it’s best to do this overnight, if that’s not possible a minimum of 4 hours. Combine half the olive oil with the minced garlic, thyme, oregano, rosemary and quarter of the mint – all the herbs need to be chopped as finely as possible. Season the marinade and then fully coat the lamb with it. Pour over any remaining marinade, cover and refrigerate. Make sure you take your lamb out of the fridge an hour before cooking so it can come up to room temp.
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Cous cous – chuck it in a suitable bowl, cover in just boiling water, season generously with salt and place a plate over it and walk away and leave her to steam. You need to do this for at least 10 minutes but you can’t really ‘over-do’ it. I have been known to walk away and totally forget about it till the next day. Still fine. So while that is doing its thing, crack on with the rest of the dish.
To make your pickled courgettes you need to create beautiful courgette ribbons. I do this with a speed peeler, which is by far the easiest way, but slicing lengthways as thinly as possible will also do the trick. Pop them in a bowl with the white wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and leave to do its thing.
Salsa verde – take your salsa verde portion of mint (half of the big bunch) and strip the leaves into a food processor or nutri bullet. Add in the anchovies, mustard and capers along with a good tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and seasoning and blitz. Check the consistency and muddle through more oil if needed.
On a chopping board, finely chop your remaining mint leaves, olives and the preserved lemons making sure to remove any pips.
Fluff up your cous cous with a fork and then give it a good grinding of black pepper and a good glug of extra virgin olive oil. Tip in your chopped lemons, mint and olives. Add in a handful of pomegranate seeds and crumble in your feta. Make sure everything is combined.
Lamb time – place a pan over a high heat and get super hot. Once up to temp, place your rack of lamb in fat side down. Cook until golden brown and that fat has rendered out (this is important , this is the kind of thing that loses you a cooking competition). Sear the remaining sides of the meat and then transfer to a baking tray and put in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer you are looking for around 52 degrees internal temp for pink lamb. If you like it slightly more well done, then just increase the cooking time by a few minutes. After the time is up, remove from the oven and leave the lamb to rest for at least 10 minutes.
To plate – I love to serve this dish on one big platter that everyone can get stuck into and help themselves. I mound the cous cous up and then carve the lamb rack and nestle the cutlets around it. Drain your courgette and pop that somewhere on the platter that looks insta worthy and drizzle over your salsa verde. For extra oomph, garnish with a load of lemon wedges which can be squeezed over the dish, but let’s face it, they’re really just there to make it look pretty.
Hannah reached the quarter finals of BBC MasterChef last year. She hosts WanderSups supper clubs serving meals created with love, inspired by journeys around the world, dished up on home turf. Her ethos is simple – have fun, enjoy it, make it an occasion. To find out more follow @WanderSups or visit wandersups.com