Lamb En Croute
200g lamb neck fillet, the thickest end
salt and pepper
1/2 375g sheet ready-rolled puff pastry
1 tbsp readymade tomato and olive tapenade
1 egg, lightly beaten
- Trim any excess fat and sinew from the fillet. Season with salt and pepper and dry-fry in a non-stick pan for a few seconds on all sides until seared and brown all over. Set aside to cool thoroughly.
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Roll the pastry a little thinner and trim to fit the meat with plenty left to overlap and seal without stretching it. Cut a couple of leaf shapes from the off-cuts.
- Spread the cooled lamb all over with the tapenade and place it in the middle of the pastry, brush the pastry edges with beaten egg and fold over the meat enclosing it in a well sealed, neat rectangular parcel. Place on the baking tray and brush the pastry all over with beaten egg. Chill in the fridge for a few minutes for the pastry to firm up.
- Lightly score the pastry in a cross hatched pattern without making any holes. Brush the pastry leaves with egg and stick on top of the parcel.
- Place in the oven for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180C / 160C fan / gas 4 for a further 15 to 20 minutes until the pastry is well risen and a rich golden brown. Cover with a double sheet of a baking parchment if you think the pastry is colouring too quickly. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes or so before cutting in half and serving with your favourite vegetables or a crisp leafy salad. The flavour will be better if the parcel is allowed to cool a little before serving.
Tip: If you’d prefer not to have to fiddle with pastry, mash 100g soft goats cheese with 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh herbs, e.g. mint, basil, chives and parsley and pepper. Spread this all over the top and sides of a seared piece of lamb fillet, press 30 grams soft breadcrumbs onto this paste, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast for 20 minutes at 180C. Slice to serve.