This is one of those minimum effort, maximum flavour sort of meals, always a bonus in the run-up to Christmas when you’re planning for the days ahead but you still want something that looks and tastes good. Alternatively, put the recipe in your back pocket for New Year.
Double up the servings and you’ll easily have enough to feed six or seven people a meal which looks festive, but can be put on the table quite quickly, and is a complete contrast to the imminent (or recent) turkey.
You’ll need a rack (or two) of lamb, some frozen blackberries and a slug of my home-made blackberry vinegar or similar. You could use commercial raspberry vinegar, but please see the cooking notes below.
Mrs Portly will be back in 2020. I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year. Bon appetit!
Lamb and Blackberries
1 French-trimmed rack of lamb, about 6-7 chops
Salt, pepper, oil
100g fresh or frozen blackberries (defrosted if frozen)
50ml blackberry vinegar
Pre-heat the oven to 220C/420F/Gas Mark 7.
If the lamb’s in the fridge, bring it up to room temperature before cooking. With a sharp knife, slash the fat in criss-cross diamonds. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in an oven-proof pan and put the lamb rack in fat side down until it’s golden brown. Turn it over and seal the meaty sides.
Drain off any excess fat and depending on the size of your rack (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write) put it in the oven for approximately 8-10 minutes for rare, 17-20 minutes for medium. If in doubt, use a meat thermometer. Remove from the oven and rest somewhere warm for at least 10 minutes.
Put the blackberry vinegar in a saucepan and reduce until syrupy, almost jammy. At the last minute add the blackberries and heat through. If they dilute the stickiness of the sauce, remove them with a slotted spoon, keep warm and reduce the sauce again for a minute or two.
Taste and adjust the seasoning – it should be the perfect balance between sweet and sour but if yours is too sweet, add a spritz of lemon juice, if too sour, a drizzle of honey.
Carve the rack into cutlets and serve with a puddle of saucy blackberries.