This season’s lamb is now at its sweet and succulent best so Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) are busy encouraging us all to eat Scotch lamb.
This weekend, as part of the Love Scotch Lamb campaign, Scottish sheep farmers will be popping up at supermarkets across Scotland to chat with customers as well as offering samples at Ayr Flower Show to try and make think about lamb a little more.
Speedy lamb dishes
Apparently, Scots eat less lamb per head than our friends in the rest of the UK. To try and boost the figures, QMS would like to raise awareness of how quickly lamb dishes can be made. Ideally, QMS would like to see Scottish consumers adopting lamb as part of our midweek meals repertoire.
To this end, they sent the 5pm Dining blog a lamb hamper yesterday. It contained everything needed to make the lamb meatball recipe below.
There was a stopwatch included in the hamper; the idea being that we could time ourselves making the dish and underline just how speedy lamb recipes can be.
A noble idea but, in a tale which will be sadly familiar in kitchens up and down the land, one which struggled after the blog’s sous chef got their hands on the gin bottle.
Half hour prep
Anyway, discounting the time it took to scarf two G ‘n’ Ts, we reckon that you could knock this up in under half an hour plus the 20 minutes cooking time in the oven.
Normally, we would make meatballs with a mix of pork and beef mince but these lamb versions were great. The addition of the tarragon gave them a zingy aniseed tinge while the cherry tomatoes added a little texture and gentle, sharp acidity.
If you want to try it then the recipe is below. You can find more lamb recipes here.
500g lean Scotch lamb mince
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 small brown onions, diced
1 slice white bread, grated into crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
25g fresh tarragon, chopped
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
200g cherry tomatoes
400g penne pasta
50g Parmesan shavings
Preheat oven to gas mark 6/200°C/400°F
Mix the lamb, half the garlic and onion, breadcrumbs, egg, a pinch of salt and pepper plus tarragon leaves. Shape into 12 balls.
In batches, cook the meatballs in oil and allow them to brown all over. Remove and place to one side. Stir the onions and the garlic in the pan before adding the chopped tomatoes with a pinch of sugar. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Add the meatballs back into the pan along with the cherry tomatoes and basil. Stir and bring to a simmer, place in the oven with a lid and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
Cook the pasta and drain. Remove the meatballs from the oven before adding to the pasta with sauce. Sprinkle the Parmesan and sprigs of basil to serve.