Celebrate spring with a little lamb

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Spring sees many multi-cultural celebrations, including Easter, Passover, and Ramadan which ends with Eid al Fitr. These festivals feature a whole host of wonderful food dishes, many of which make symbolic use of seasonal lamb.
In the UK, many families will celebrate Easter with a traditional lamb joint from the local butcher, roasting it to share with loved ones. These lamb tartlets are a delicious alternative.
In a change from my usual rule for the recipes I write for The BV, this one isn’t the quickest or the cheapest. I’ll admit it does take a while to put together – but you can enjoy them either on their own or as part of a bigger feast and they really are worth the effort.
For an extra bit of sparkle, they work beautifully with homemade puff pastry (which you can make while the lamb is cooking – the pastry takes a couple of hours of resting, folding and rolling the dough), but ready-made pastry is fine and available from most supermarkets!
If you are looking for a vegetarian alternative to the lamb, feta cheese also works well.

Heather Brown is a food writer, photographer and stylist. A committee member of The Guild of Food Writers, Heather runs Dorset Foodie Feed, as well as working one-to-one with clients.

Spring lamb tartlets

Ingredients

  • 1 small boneless lamb leg
  • (or lamb leg pieces)
  • 1 x stock cube (lamb or vegetarian)
  • 2 packages of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small box of pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tube/small can tomato puree
  • 2-3tbs of date syrup
  • 1 egg (beaten, for egg washing)
  • a little extra virgin olive oil

Method

  • In a slow cooker (or casserole dish for the oven), add the lamb pieces. Stir the stock cube into about 200ml boiling water until dissolved and then pour over the lamb pieces. Put the slow cooker on the medium heat (if using an oven, gas 2/fan 140º with the lid on) and cook for 4-5 hours until the lamb is soft and easily breaks into pieces with a fork.
  • Remove the lamb from the pot and shred into pieces.
  • While the lamb is cooking (if using an oven for the lamb, you may need to make this in two stages), pre-heat the oven to Gas 6/180º fan, and grease and line two baking trays. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1cm cubes.
  • Spread out the pieces onto one of the baking trays and drizzle with oil, then, using your hands, mix around the pieces until they all have a thin coating of the oil.
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place on to the second baking tray, cut side facing upwards. Again, drizzle with a little of the oil.
  • Place both trays into the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes until the sweet potato pieces are beginning to soften and the cherry tomatoes are just starting to colour. Remove both trays from the oven and leave to cool.
  • When all the elements are cooked and cool, the tartlets are ready to be assembled. Grease and line the two baking trays again and pre-heat the oven to Gas 6/fan 180º.
  • Remove the two sheets of puff pastry from the packaging and unroll. Cut each sheet into eight evenly-sized pieces (16 total) and place them onto the baking trays.
  • Smear a layer of the tomato puree over the pastry squares, leaving a 1cm gap around the edge of each piece.
  • Onto the tomato puree, add the sweet potato pieces, the cherry tomato halves and some lamb shreds, covering as much of the tomato puree as you can (the puree can burn if left uncovered).
  • Using a little of the beaten egg, brush the 1cm border that is without the puree to coat with the egg.
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is risen and golden brown. Leave to cool.
  • To finish, sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and drizzle with the date syrup.

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