Donal Skehan

Roast Lamb with Rosemary & Garlic

Roast Lamb-1 copy

In this roast lamb recipe I use the classic combo of garlic & rosemary to flavour the lamb leg.  An easy side dish to serve alongside the roast lamb is simply braised baby gem, with peas in white wine and thyme. In springtime, wild garlic appears all across Ireland in shaded woodland areas.  It is easy to recognize from its distinctive garlic smell. The leaves can be harvested and treated like any salad leaf or used to make a pesto to serve alongside the lamb.

Serves 6
1 leg of lamb, on the bone (roughly 2 kg to serve 6-8)
4-5 garlic cloves, sliced into slivers
3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper

For the wild garlic pesto: (optional)
100g of wild garlic, washed and dried
50g of pine nuts
75g of Parmesan or mature Coolea cheese, grated
350ml of extra virgin olive oil or Irish rapeseed oil

For the braised baby gem and peas:
1 tablespoon of butter
100g of smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped
Zest of 1/2 lemon
75ml of white wine
A few thyme sprigs
50ml of chicken stock
200g of frozen peas
6 spring onions, trimmed and sliced in half
6 baby gem lettuce, sliced in half

Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Place the lamb in a large roasting dish. Make a number of incisions all over the lamb and stud with the garlic slivers and rosemary sprigs. Drizzle with rapeseed oil and generously sprinkle with sea salt and ground black pepper.  Place in the oven to roast for 15 minutes per 500g (1lb) for medium rare or longer if you prefer your meat more well done.  Remove from the oven and rest under tin foil before serving in thin slices.

For the pesto: (optional)
Place all the ingredients in a food processor or pestle and mortar and blitz until smooth.  Season with sea salt and ground black pepper.  Set aside.

For the braised baby gem and peas:
Melt the butter in a large high sided frying pan.  Fry the bacon until sizzling and crisp.  Pour in the wine and allow to sizzle for about 30 seconds before adding the thyme sprigs, lemon zest and chicken stock. Add the peas to the liquid and then nuzzle in the spring onions and Baby Gem lettuce. Cover with a lid and cook for about 5-8 minutes until the lettuce is just braised. Serve with slices of the warm lamb.

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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Rocket Pesto

There are many ways to enjoy Jerusalem artichokes, but soup is one of the easiest ways to create something wonderful with them. Cooking them gently with onions brings out their sweet, earthy and slightly smoky notes. You can serve the soup simply as it is, or make a quick pesto to drizzle over the top. Crispy pancetta and Parmesan shavings are also good garnishes.

Serves 6
A good knob of butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
800g of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
800ml of vegetable stock
60ml of cream
Sea salt and ground black pepper

For the rocket pesto:
A generous handful of rocket
A small handful of pine nuts
A small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6-8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Place a medium pot over a medium high heat and melt the butter until it begins to foam.

Add in the onion and sweat for 6 minutes until tender. Add in the Jerusalem artichoke cubes, cover with a lid and allow to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the Jerusalem artichokes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Remove the pot from the heat and using a hand blender, blitz until completely smooth. If you find the soup is too thick, add a little boiling water, to loosen it. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper.

Pour in the cream and continue to blitz until the soup is frothy.
Serve straight away drizzled with rocket pesto.

For the rocket pesto:
Place all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle and bash until you have a smooth mixture. Taste and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Add a little extra oil if you prefer a looser pesto.

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The Hunt For Wild Garlic!

My earliest memories of wild garlic are from school, where it used to grow along the pathway covered by trees. We used to pick the leaves and flowers and bring them into class, only to be told off because of the unbelievably pungent smell. While we never ate it back then, little did I realise that this wonderful free food could be transformed into so many delicious dishes.  Wild garlic has been used in Irish cooking for hundreds of years.

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Wild Garlic Pesto

Just like any other pesto, this one can be used in pasta, served with meat or fish or slathered onto freshly baked bread. This recipe makes a fairly generous amount, but if you’re going to the trouble of making some you might as well make a big batch.  I specify 200g of wild garlic leaves, which is roughly a basket full. When you’re preparing the leaves, give them a good wash and drain as you would salad leaves and then remove any long stems.

Makes approximately 1 litre
120g of Parmesan cheese, grated
350ml of extra virgin olive oil
100g of pine nuts
200g of wild garlic leaves, stems cut off, washed and dried
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add a little more oil if you prefer a looser consistency.

Season with sea salt and ground black pepper and taste. Transfer to clean jars and top with an extra drizzle of oil to create a seal. The jars will keep in the fridge for at least one week.

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Veggie Kebabs with Vegan Pesto Sauce

BBQs are an Australian national obsession and most Australians would have a signature BBQ recipe. Veggie Kebabs would have to be my ‘go to’ recipe if I am ever hosting or am invited to BBQ. Traditional Pesto is not technically vegetarian because of the Parmesan cheese so this pesto sauce has all the flavor that you love from pesto but keeps the vegetarians happy.

Veggie Kebabs

Serves 2
large aubergine
large courgette
16 cherry tomatoes
red pepper
yellow pepper
250g packet of halloumi cheese
8 kebab sticks

Vegan Pesto Sauce
1 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 clove of garlic
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup water
salt and pepper

Veggie Kebabs

If you are using wooden kebab sticks soak them in water for at least an hour. Chop the halloumi cheese into 3cm squares. Slice the vegetables into 1cm slices.

Slide the vegetables and cheese onto the kebab sticks in a regular pattern. Repeat the pattern on each of the kebabs so they appear uniform. Lay the kebabs on a hot griddle or BBQ. Turn the kebabs to grill each of the sides for a couple of minutes each. The kebabs are cooked when the vegetables are soft.

Vegan Pesto Sauce

Add all the ingredients to a large jug and puree with a hand blender. Drizzle the sauce over the kebabs just before you serve them.

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