RECIPE: Seared Lamb

Sean Owen's seared loin of Sperrin lamb with lamb shank pie, cabbage and bacon

Prize-winning chef Sean Owens of Gardiners Restaurant in Magherafelt took part in the Rediscover NI programme in Washington in May 2007. Along with fellow culinary maestros, Noel McMeel, Nick Price and Elizabeth Moore he took this feast of Irish delicacies straight to Capitol Hill.

And now you can try it for yourself! Allow lots of time to marinade and prepare. This one is worth waiting for...

Seared Loin of Lamb

Use the best end cut only
220g per portion larder trimmed pure eye meat only

Season and flash fry when required to medium rare and rest before carving in slices on the bias.

Lamb Shank Mini Pie
(serves 8 - involves overnight marinading and preferably a night chilling!)


2 lamb shanks, trimmed
1 carrot
½  onion
a few whole peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
a sprig fresh thyme
a sprig fresh rosemary
¼ bottle red wine
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
200 g full butter puff pastry
high egg yolk water glaze


Place the shanks in a roasting tray and add a peeled and halved carrot, a peeled and halved onion, a few whole peppercorns, the herbs and two to three lightly smashed whole cloves of garlic. Fry off until sealed and golden brown.

Pour over enough wine to cover the meat of the shanks - and then leave to marinade overnight. The next day, sear the shanks to golden brown and place in a roasting tray, covered with a lid in a preheated hot oven at 160C / 325F / Gas 3.

Cook for about two and half hours or more. If the simmering becomes too lively during cooking, reduce the temperature slightly. Slightly uncover the roasting tray for the last hour so that the liquid will start to reduce.

When the meat is falling off the bone, chill. Overnight if possible. Remove the meat from the bone and discard any gristle. Cut the shank meat into small diced chunks and combine with the clarified and reduced cooking liqueur, this is the base for a mini pie.

Roll out some puff pastry very thinly and cut into discs just slightly bigger than the mini pie dish.
Fill each mini dish with the pie filling and top with the pastry that has been brushed with high egg yolk glaze. Reheat the pie in a hot oven when required. Cooking time 5-8 mins.

Cabbage Parcels

8 green outer leaves of a medium Savoy cabbage
2 rashers of smoked back bacon, rinds removed and cut into lardons
5ml vegetable oil
2.5ml white balsamic vinegar
50 pigs cawl (crepinette)
10g butter
Pepper to taste


Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling salted water and refresh immediately.
Chiffonade the remainder of the cabbage hearts. Heat a frying pan until very hot and fry the lardons until crisp. Add the cabbage butter and balsamic vinegar and mix with the bacon, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and cook slowly for 5-10 minutes. Season and set aside to cool.

Prepare the cabbage ball

Lay down a clean kitchen cloth then lay down a blanched cabbage leaf 3in square, season the leaf and fill with 1 tablespoon of cabbage and bacon mixture. Roll around the cloth to form a small ball and tighten but try to keep the juices inside.

Lay one sheet of pigs cawl 3in square on a lightly-oiled board and roll around the cabbage ball to keep the whole thing together. When ready, brush with a little clarified butter and steam for 4-5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Carrot and Parsnip Puree 

200g peeled carrots (Mirepoix size)
200g peeled parsnips (Mirepoix size)
30g butter
salt and white pepper

Boil the carrots and parsnips in separate pots until tender.
Mash and crush to create a rough puree, mix, add the butter and season (if the mix is too wet add a little potato starch to bind).

Guinness Stout Gravy 

175ml Guinness Irish stout
1 litre of reduced lamb jus
1 medium onion
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
sprig each of rosemary and thyme
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
4 tbs iced butter (to mount the jus)

Combine the refined lamb jus in a thick bottomed pan with the stout, add the redcurrant jelly, rosemary, thyme and garlic, then boil to reduce by about three-quarters.

Skim when necessary

Pass through a fine tammy cloth to create a perfect glace like jus. Monter au beurre with iced butter when you are ready to eat.