Spring is definitely in the air, says Tony Beales, managing director of Beales Gourmet at The Italian Villa. Why not try his classy lamb recipe this Easter?


Spring Lamb Rump, Spiced Red Cabbage, Leek Puree, Gratin Potatoes and Red Wine Jus

Serves 4

  • 4 x 6oz Spring Dorset lamb rumps
  • 250ml lamb jus/sauce (red wine base)
  • 1 small red cabbage
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 medium leeks
  • 500ml double cream
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Fresh thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 kg sliced potatoes
  • Seasoning

For the potatoes:

This can be prepared up to 2 days before.

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Bring the cream to the boil with the crushed garlic cloves, bay leaves, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer gently for 5 minutes to infuse the flavours. Be careful it doesn’t boil over! Peel, wash, dry and thinly slice the potatoes. Layer the sliced potatoes in an oven proof dish making a neat pattern on the first layer as this will be the presentation side. Check the seasoning of the cream and pass through a coarse sieve on top of the potatoes. The potatoes need to be just covered with cream. Cover the potatoes with foil and cook on a flat tray for approximately 1 hour or until soft through the centre of the dish. The cooking time will depend on the depth of the dish. You can remove the foil from the dish half way through cooking if you would like the top of the potatoes to be gratinated. Top tip: stick a tooth pick through the middle of the potatoes and if you do not have any resistance, the dish is ready. Either serve straight from the oven or leave to cool if you would like to cut them into neat squares like we do. Once cool store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat the pre-cut portions of the potatoes on 160° C for approximately 20 minutes or until hot in the middle.

For the red cabbage:

Wash and thinly slice the cabbage. Wrap the cloves and star anise in a muslin cloth. Put the cabbage and spice bag in a thick bottomed pan with the cinnamon stick, brown sugar and a pinch of salt and gently simmer in its own juices with the lid on for 15 minutes. Then add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a splash of water. Cook the cabbage until tender. Keep adding water to stop it catching the bottom of the pan. You can serve the cabbage when cooked or do what we do and set the cabbage mix in a dish so we can cut a perfect slice for presentation and portion control. To set the cabbage use a small amount of setting agent, we use ‘agar’. Once added leave to cool and refrigerate. Once set, cut into rectangles ready to reheat before serving.

For the leek puree:

Discard the outside leaves of the leek, cut into medium sized pieces and wash thoroughly. Drain well and cook gently in a small amount of butter with a lid on the pan. The leek should cook in its own juices. If the leek starts to catch on the pan add a little water throughout cooking. This should take no longer than 30 minutes. Once cooked, liquidise until smooth and thick, and season to taste. Use straight away or leave to cool ready to reheat when you need it.

For the lamb:

Ask your butcher to trim the lamb and remove the skin for you. Score the fat with a sharp knife, season with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and fresh thyme leaves. Sear the rumps in a hot non-stick pan in pomace oil until golden brown.

Cook in the oven on 175°C for approximately 15 minutes or 55°C in the centre. This will be cooked medium rare, which is how we serve it. Cook for longer if you like it cooked through. After cooking rest for 10/15 minutes before carving.

To assemble the dish:

This dish can be served ‘restaurant style’ which we do, or served in a more rustic way with the potatoes and cabbage placed in dishes on the dining table. You could even carve the lamb at the table if you like! Serve with a delicious rich red wine sauce, I’m afraid you will need to wait until another time for this recipe…