As you may remember from my recent post about lamb kebabs, I am on something of a lamb based journey over the next few months – a meaty pilgrimage if you will – to showcase the ‘Lamb. Try it. Love it.‘ campaign. I’m exploring different cuts of lamb and creating tasty recipes that show that cooking with lamb doesn’t have to be difficult OR expensive.
Today’s recipe ticks both of these boxes – it’s a very simple ‘all in one pan’ dish, that I reckon you can have on the table in 40 minutes. It uses lamb neck fillets, which I have to say is something I would NEVER have thought to buy before, and is easily scalable depending on how many people you’re cooking for. It would work well as a special dinner for two, or scale up the ingredients, add loads of vegetables on the side, and turn it into a feast for family and friends.
The lamb is cooked with sweet potatoes, pine nuts, lemon and honey, and the lemon slices make it look super pretty when it comes out of the oven. This lamb dish would be lovely as a simple supper over Christmas – loads of flavour and style but with minimum effort.
How to cook with lamb neck fillets
First things first, you need to buy your neck fillets. I’m sure this is something you could get from the butchers, but I went for these from Tesco. Going by the nutritional information per serving, I would say this would be two generous portions, so that’s what the rest of my measurements are based on. You can be flexible though, depending on how much meat you like, your budget and what side dishes you add in, so take my recipe as a loose guide.
Lamb is a great choice for a roast generally. Lamb is sustainable, really tasty and is also one of the healthiest meats you can eat – it’s rich in niacin and vitamin B12 and a great source of things like protein, zinc, potassium and phosphorus.
I’d always thought that neck fillets would be something that you had to cook for ages, but in my lamb recipe they only cook for around 30 minutes, and are still very juicy and tender.
Roast lamb neck fillets with honey and lemon
In this recipe my roast lamb neck fillets are flavoured with lemon, honey and a dash of chilli, but the lovely thing about it is that you can easily experiment with flavours. I liked the idea of the lemon, chilli and honey combination as it gives the lamb a balance between the tangy freshness of the lemon and the sticky sweetness of the honey. The chilli adds a little bit of depth to the flavour, without being overpowering.
I wanted to keep the recipe as a one pot dish, so I chose to use sweet potatoes as these roast really quickly and so can sit alongside the lamb. I’m always put off by recipes with big long lists of ingredients, so I’ve tried to keep this recipe simple and affordable.
To make my roast lamb neck fillets with sweet potato, honey and lemon you will need:
- Approx 300g lamb neck fillets
- salt and pepper
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium/1 large sweet potato
- 2 lemons
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- A handful of pine nuts (optional)
- 1 tbsp honey
- Vegetables or salad to serve
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees, gas mark 7, and heat a tablespoon of the oil in a griddle pan – the kind that can be transferred straight to the oven. (These are super handy but I DO burn my hands at least twice, forgetting I’m not allowed to pick it up by the handle, so be careful.) If you don’t have one of these pans it’s not the end of the world, you can heat a roasting tray in the oven while you seal the lamb in a frying pan and then transfer it.
Rub two tablespoons of the oil and plenty of salt and pepper into the lamb neck fillets and then pop them into the hot pan, turning regularly until they are sealed on all sides. This should only take a few minutes. If your fillets are of equal size then simply use them as they are – mine arrived as one small and one large so I cut the large one into two to even out the cooking time they’d need. You can use your initiative here.
Peel and chop the sweet potato into small chunks – something like 3-4cm – and add these to the pan. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon, add the chilli powder and the rest of the oil, and give everything a quick stir to coat. Slice the second lemon and add this to the pan, then put the whole thing in the oven.
After about 15 minutes, add the pine nuts and drizzle everything with honey. Put the pan back in the oven and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft but the lamb is still springy. Take out of the oven and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Serve your roast lamb neck fillets with a big winter salad or some vegetables. I went for griddled courgettes because I LOVE courgettes. (Belle hates them, but that just means all the more for me.)
What do you think, would you give this is go? Do you cook much with lamb and if not, why not?
Find more tasty lamb recipes on the ‘Lamb. Try it. Love it.’ website.