When I made this BBQ lamb recipe for my birthday meal last weekend, I deliberately didn’t take a photo of it so I had an excuse to make it again today. I could just feel the love for the recipe even before I tasted the final result. I used the date and aubergine stuffing recipe here but I did away with the pine nuts, adding pistachios instead which worked a treat.
I cannot take the credit for the brilliant idea of laying the lamb out all resplendent on the big bread (top photo), which is perfect for a bit of messy sharing with your mates. The kudos for that must go to Sally Butcher, who runs this shop and wrote this book from which I made this ice cream for the same birthday meal. Sally didn’t have the same gargantuan flat bread in stock that we bought last week (I don’t know the name) so instead we used naan, warmed through on the BBQ while the meat was resting.
I dolloped some garlicky, minty yoghurt on top for a bit of contrast and it lifted everything nicely, while also providing a sauce for the inevitable sandwich making. I cannot eat anything with bread without making some kind of sammich. Ever. You tear off a hunk of the naan, stuff it with the lamb and a few salad leaves plus yoghurt sauce and you’ve got yourself a piece of smoky BBQ heaven. The lamb was charred without, tender and blushing within and the stuffing sweet with Iranian dates (so deep they are almost chocolately) and scented ever so faintly with cinnamon.
I didn’t have any problems cooking the saddle on the BBQ by the way – a saddle being the bit that Barnsley chops are cut from – the saddle has then been boned to allow for stuffing. I have a kettle style BBQ and after some research I discovered that the way to cook something slowly is to light the coals in the middle of the BBQ, in a kind of volcano shape, then when the flames have all gone and you are left with coals which have a light grey ash coating, you move them into the sides. This gets the indirect heat circulating nicely around the kettle when you put the lid on. Not too much peeking either, as that obviously lets the heat out. I would say the saddle was about 5 inches long and took 50 minutes (ish) to cook.
Saddle of Lamb Stuffed with Dates, Aubergines and Pistachios
Like I said, the stuffing recipe is here but I swapped the pine nuts for pistachios and used a saddle of lamb instead of a leg. I removed the string that comes on the meat, opened it out, packed the stuffing into the middle and re-trussed it with fresh string. It is worth making sure that the string is covering the ends of the saddle too, to stop the stuffing falling out during cooking. Then I browned the lamb in a skillet to render some of the fat down before putting it on the BBQ.