Saturday, January 23, 2010

Crumbed Lamb Cutlets

Last week I told you I was in New Zealand so I think we should have some lamb- one of the things New Zealand is famous for. They dot the landscape outside my window and they make for delicious eating. ( This is not the vegetarian section).

There is nothing 21st century about this recipe. It was given to me by a friend who got it from her grandmother. These cutlets, although covered in breadcrumbs, are very straightforward and sometimes we all like something that is absolutely what it says on the packet. Good old fashioned tucker.

Don't be put off by the cooking time (45 minutes) which to us modern cooks seems like a hell of a long time for a cutlet but I always cook them for that long and it works. Mind you make sure you are not buying mini skinny cutlets for this as 45 minutes would probably write them off. The cutlet needs to be almost 2cms thick so we maybe looking at small chops.

I sometime add some herbs or chilli or both to the crumbs but they are far from necessary and it is a matter of your taste. I am sure grandma didn't. If you are buying the breadcrumbs get the nice natural ones ( not those horrid yellow things) or make some by puttting stale bread into the food processor. It doesn't matter if they're not really fine in fact a bit of crunch adds to the whole thing.

for 4

8 or as many cutlets/chops as you feel like

2 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs

salt & pepper

about an hour before dinner

Heat your oven to 180C 375F

Put the breadcrumbs onto a plate with a lip or a flat shallow bowl and add about 1/2 tspn salt and a good grind of pepper along with any herbs or chilli

Break the eggs into a similar plate or bowl and with a fork whisk the eggs up to mix the yolks and whites.

Trim any excess fat off the cutlets/chops.

Working one at a time- place a cutlet into the egg mixture, turn it over to coat with egg, give it a shake and put it onto the breadcrumbs. Gently turn it over in the breadcrumbs until it is covered. Maybe pressing the crumbs, with your hands, onto the meat. When it is completely covered place it into your roasting tin.

Continue with all the cutlets placing then side by side in the dish. Do not stack them on top of one another.

When the oven is hot place them in the middle of the oven and prepare what you are going to serve with them. As the oven is on you could roast some potatoes although I like minted boiled new potatoes and of course your greens.

Roasted potatoes would have to go in the oven now.

Minted boiled potatoes:

new potatoes
a few branches of mint

Scrub them clean. Hopefully they are small enough not to need cutting but they need to be no bigger than a circle made by your forefinger and thumb.
Put them in lightly salted water and bring to the boil- turn to simmer. They should cook in about 20 to 25 minutes although if you are cooking lots it may take a few minutes longer. When they are cooked- don't worry if nothing else is ready beacuse you are going to drain them properly- use a sieve to be sure to get rid of all the water- return to the saucepan, throw in the mint ( and a little butter if you dare) put the lid back on the saucepan and leave them to stand.
While they are cooking prepare your green vegetable/s.

15 minutes before serving

I always boil the kettle to get the boiling water for my vegetables but I live in a world where electric kettles are the norm, then I put it in the saucepan. Any way you choose to do it - boil some water, with it in the saucepan add some salt then your green veg. Simmer for as long as you wish. Broccoli takes about 3-4 minutes to be good and crunchy, beans take longer- about 8 minutes. You'll sort it out. They should feel tender if you poke them with the point of a knife.
If in doubt taste it- of course it will be hot.

Hopefully everything- golden cutlets, minty potatoes and crunchy vegetables are all ready at the same time. Don't panic if they're not- the lamb and the potatoes can wait for you, although not the greens, they must be drained as soon as they are cooked. They can sit in the saucepan but the lid must be off or they will lose colour. ( I will write soon about cooking veg..... the do's & don'ts )

That's it - enjoy and pretend you are at grandma's house. However I serve a dollop of red currant and pomegrante jelly with the lamb - bet that wasn't around in her day.

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