Neil Thrift

Head Chef, Waldorf Astoria

Tian of lamb with red wine butter sauce

All the elements of this dish can be prepared in advance…

Serves 4
4 x 180g canons of lamb

For the marinade:

50ml olive oil
15g crushed garlic
a small sprig of rosemary
a sprig of thyme
½ tsp black pepper

For the Anna potatoes:

4 Maris Piper potatoes
30g melted clarified butter
Maldon Sea Salt & freshly ground pepper
60g butter

For the ratatouille:

50ml olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
10g crushed garlic
1 medium courgette, sliced and chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 small pepper, chopped
1 small aubergine, sliced and chopped
a small handful of basil, roughly shredded
3 tomatoes, peeled and de-seeded

(Ideally, you want roughly the same weights of onion, courgette, red and green peppers, aubergine and tomato – aim for about 90g of each)

For the sauce:

15g butter
60g chopped shallots
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
500ml red wine
250ml port
100ml veal gravy, or chicken as an alternative
375g butter, cold in small cubes

For the garnish:

20ml olive oil,
12 cherry tomatoes
12 cloves of garlic, skin on
240g cooked spinach leaves

Ask your butcher for larder-trimmed canons of lamb at around 180g each with all the fat and silver sinew removed. Mix the marinade and marinate the meat under cover overnight in the fridge.

To prepare the potatoes, peel and wash them quickly under the tap – don’t soak them in water – then take a 3.5cm cutter and cut them lengthwise into four cylinders, or trim them to size. Slice the cylinders into discs around 2.5mm thick, and place the discs in a bowl with the clarified butter. Mix well, and add Malden sea salt and black pepper. Set out a flat oven-proof pan and put four 7–8cm rings on it. Place the potato discs in a circular pattern inside the rings, each disc overlapping its neighbour. Divide the butter into four and place a piece in the centre of each ring. Drizzle olive oil around the outside of the rings and place the pan over a moderate heat. Keep the heat sufficient to give movement in the pan, but not so high that it burns the potatoes; don’t rush it. When the outside turns golden brown, very carefully turn the rings over. Once the rings are browned on both sides, put the pan in the oven at 170°C/325°F/gas 3 until thoroughly cooked – around 30 minutes or so. Then leave the potatoes to cool under a light weight. When cooled, remove the potato discs from the pan, setting them out on a tray and covering until needed.

For the ratatouille, heat half the olive oil in a flat-bottomed pan. When the oil is hot, cook the onions and garlic until soft, then remove them from the pan and set aside to cool. In a little more of the oil fry off the courgette, cooking until al dente, then remove from the pan; repeat with the peppers, aubergine and tomato, cooking the last until they start to break down. When all the ingredients are cooled, mix them together with the basil and cover.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan. Add the shallots and the herbs, and cook them over a medium heat until they are soft but have not coloured. Add the alcohol, increase the heat and reduce the liquid by nine tenths. Then add the gravy and bring the liquid back to the boil, reducing it by a further two thirds. Check the seasoning and add Malden sea salt to taste. Whisk in the butter a little at a time immediately prior to serving.

Prepare the garnish by frying the cloves of garlic for one or two minutes in oil in an oven-proof pan, then roasting them in the oven at 180°C/350°F/gas 4 for about 10 minutes until the insides are soft. Add the cherry tomatoes to roast for 5 minutes and then remove both from the pan and leave to cool.

Remove the lamb from the fridge an hour before cooking and preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Heat up a frying pan and, when smoking, add a little of the oil from the marinade. Season the meat with Malden sea salt and black pepper, put it in the pan and seal until the canons are golden brown on both sides. Transfer to the oven, roasting for 8 to 10 minutes depending on the degree of cooking preferred. Start reheating all the other elements of the dish, either in the oven or on the hob. When cooked, remove the lamb from the oven and keep warm.

Using the rings for the Anna potatoes, form a layer of spinach leaves, topped by the potatoes, topped with ratatouille and with three cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves on each plate. When the lamb has rested, carve it into slices and arrange these on top of the ratatouille. Pour the sauce around the dish, and serve.