Fresh Ways To Cook With Spring Lamb

Fresh Ways To Cook With Spring Lamb

Spring lamb season has officially begun and so it's time to enjoy this sweet, tender meat and delicate flavour. It’s only available from now until June, so we asked four top chefs to show us how they make the most of this seasonal ingredient.

James Donnelly, Head Chef at Donnelly’s

The arrival of spring lamb is a sure sign of the chef’s favourite season. All the new season veg is light and crisp but packed full of flavour and when served alongside delicate spring lamb, it is a match made in heaven. Some of my favourite dishes include braised spring lamb neck in a mint and spring vegetable broth, served with straw potatoes; and roast spring lamb rump with new season’s garlic sauce and an English asparagus pancake –a thin pancake made with béchamel sauce, chives and asparagus, all rolled up and baked.

Slow roast lamb shoulder with wild garlic and nutmeg gnocchi and beer-battered anchovy (serves six)



For the lamb:

1 lamb shoulder
1 large onion, sliced roughly
1 bulb garlic, sliced in half
1L lamb stock, or chicken if you don’t have lamb
1/2 bottle white wine
Salt and black pepper (for seasoning)
Salad leaves to garnish

For the gnocchi:

6 large Maris Piper potatoes (around 600g)
50g wild garlic (or roasted normal garlic if wild is not in season), finely chopped
100g ’00’ pasta flour
1 whole egg
Salt and black pepper (for seasoning)

For the beer-battered anchovies:

1 bottle ale/lager
150g plain flour
1 tin anchovies
Pinch of salt
Vegetable oil (for frying)


1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Add the sliced onion and garlic on a roasting try, place the lamb shoulder on top and add the white wine and stock. Season, cover with tin foil and cook for 2.5 hours. After 2.5 hours remove the foil and cook for a further 20 minutes to crisp up the skin. Remove from the oven and rest, keeping the delicious lamb juices.

2. To make the gnocchi, boil a large saucepan of salted water. Wash the potatoes, and bake in a pre-heated oven (180˚C) until soft (about 40 minutes). Allow to cool slightly, then cut them in half and scoop out the flesh. Gently mix the mash with the pasta flour, eggs, wild garlic, a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Once all combined, roll out on a floured surface into a long sausage and slice into one-inch pieces. Drop into the boiling water. Your gnocchi will take no more than a minute or two to cook and they will float to the top of the water when they’re ready. Remove and drop into in ice-cold water to stop them cooking before putting on kitchen pepper and resting to one side. 

4. Next, the anchovies. Heat a small pan of oil. Place the flour and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the beer until it is the consistency of pancake batter. Coat the anchovies in the batter and gently drop into the hot oil. Fry for two minutes until golden and crispy. Remove from the oil and rest on kitchen roll to soak up the excess oil.

5. I would suggest serving on a big platter in middle of the table, feasting style. Fry your gnocchi in butter until golden brown and crispy and drop all around your beautiful roasted lamb shoulder. Pour over the lamb juices and top with the crispy anchovies and some fresh salad leaves to garnish.


Peter Joseph, Head Chef at Kahani

My absolute highlight of spring is when it’s British spring lamb season. One of the most intense lamb dishes I love is oven-roasted lamb shanks with whole cinnamon and cardamom, browned onions and garlic and puréed tomato – which you can slow-cook for two hours. Spring lamb is also delicious in the much-loved biryani: simply simmer diced lamb with tomato, yoghurt, fresh mint and coriander and serve with basmati rice.

Spiced minted lamb chops with pickled pumpkin (serves two)


For the lamb:
1 six-bone lamb rack
1 tsp dried mint powder

For the marinade:
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp peppercorns, crushed
1 tbsp of olive oil
Pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp crushed ginger and garlic
1 tbsp lime juice

For the pickled pumpkin:

100g pumpkin, diced
4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
4 tbsp distilled malt pickling vinegar
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp degi mirch powder
1 tsp ginger, chopped
1 tsp nigella seeds
2 tbsp oil
Pinch of salt


1. To begin, pickle the pumpkin. Soak the diced pumpkin and pumpkin seeds in malt vinegar overnight. When ready to serve, heat the oil in a pan and add the fennel and mustard seeds.

Once they start to crackle, add the pumpkin and pumpkin seeds and cook, tossing regularly, for a minute or so. Add the degi mirch powder, ginger and nigella seeds and cook for a couple of minutes. Check the seasoning and remove from the heat.

2. Next prepare the lamb rack by cutting into individual chops. Clean up the bones using a small, sharp knife. Mix together all of the marinade ingredients and add to a bowl with the lamb chops, making sure the meat is completely covered, then refrigerate for six hours to marinate.

3. Grill the lamb under a very hot grill, in a chargrill pan or on a barbecue for one minute on each side. Sprinkle with the dried mint and serve with the pickled pumpkin and a side of rice.


Tom Clarke, Head Chef at L’Ortolan

Spring lamb is normally available from February-June: the age of the is usually lamb between three and five months. As the lambs are young the meat is very sweet and tender, so pairs very well with spring vegetables. We get our spring lamb from Cumbria and the quality is amazing. I love serving loin of spring lamb with pomme anna, peas and broad beans; or spring lamb shank with pomme puree and broccoli.

Rump of spring lamb with harissa-spiced couscous (serves four)


For the lamb:

4 spring lamb rumps
1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1 pinch saffron
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp juniper berries
2 oranges, zested
1 lemon, zested
1 sprig of rosemary
3 garlic cloves
A small bunch of coriander
200g olive oil

For the harissa couscous:

1 chicken stock cube in 200ml boiling water
200g couscous
2 tbsp harissa paste
Chopped coriander
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 180 ͦC. Add all the marinade ingredients into a blender and blitz until a smooth paste. Rub into the lamb and marinade for up to 24 hours in the fridge. Leftover lamb marinade can be frozen and used another time and works really well with chicken thighs.

2. An hour before you plan to eat, remove the lamb from the fridge for it come up to room temperature. Wipe off the excess marinade. Add a splash oil to a frying pan and pre-heat. Sear the rumps until nice and caramelised on each side, around two minutes on each side. Roast in the preheated oven for eight minutes. Leave to one side to rest.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the couscous. Place the couscous in a large bowl and pour the stock over and cover with clingfilm. Leave to steam for five minutes before breaking up with a fork. Leave for a further five minutes and stir in the harissa paste.

4. Dish out the couscous onto a big platter. Cut the rump into juicy thick slices and lay over the couscous. Garnish with coriander and serve alongside wilted spinach and roasted cherry tomatoes.


Matin Miah, Head Chef at Rudie’s

When people hear jerk, they instantly think chicken – but jerk is just as good with spring lamb. Spring lamb neck is often underrated: an old-school lamb neck stew is a winner and its perfect slow cooked with scotch bonnet chilli, pimento and thyme. Most people have the essentials of a jerk rub in their kitchen pantry already (garlic, onion, thyme, allspice, nutmeg, sugar, salt and pepper) with the addition of scotch bonnet – just make sure to let it marinade for as long as possible before cooking to get the full flavour.

Jerk Lamb


4 spring lamb rump steaks
2 cloves garlic
3 spring onion stalks
½ scotch bonnet pepper (preferably Jamaican yellow variety)
½ teaspoon of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon of freshly grounded pimento (allspice)
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon of freshly grounded black peppers
100g brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil


1.      Blend all the ingredients for the jerk marinade together in a blender or food processor. Rub the jerk marinade all over the lamb, ensuring it gets into all the nooks and crannies of the meat. Clingfilm it tight and leave the lamb for up to 24 hours in the fridge.
2.      Light the charcoal in the BBQ. Be patient in lighting and getting the charcoal to the right temperature (no flames, just simmering white coals) before starting to grill. Cook the lamb on low heat for 60 minutes.
3.      Optional: throw in a handful of soaked woodchips on to the coal to get a real smoky flavour and cover the lamb with few bay leaves for an added aroma.
4.      Chop the lamb into generous slices before tucking in.


Feeling inspired? Here are five more SL-approved lamb recipes...

Cognition-Boosting Coconut and Lamb Soup
Cognition-Boosting Coconut and Lamb Soup
Middle Eastern Mezze Platter
Middle Eastern Mezze Platter
Leg Of Lamb With Crispy Italian Crust
Leg Of Lamb With Crispy Italian Crust
Moroccan Spiced Lamb Tagine & Cauli Couscous
Moroccan Spiced Lamb Tagine & Cauli Couscous
Lamb & Mushroom Skewers With Chimichurri
Lamb & Mushroom Skewers With Chimichurri
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