Roast rump of lamb with Epoisses-cheese risotto and gravy

It’s been a while since I’ve written up a recipe. This is in part due to the heat – I’m eating exclusively oven-less meals and cannot bear to be at my whirring warmth-machine of a laptop when I don’t have to – and partly because I have felt quite uninspired. But I’m back! Today, I made banana pancakes for breakfast (artsy image on Instagram here and easy-peasy four-ingredient how-to here), grilled halloumi and tomatoes on hummus-covered sourdough for lunch (you’ll have to imagine that one, but I assure you it was excellent) and feta-stuffed turkey meatballs with garlic bread (oh, god that’s a lot of bread in one day, isn’t it?) and green beans for dinner. I’d say I don’t know what got into me but it’s no coincidence I’ve just returned from a weekend at Dad’s and we cooked up quite the storm in the kitchen. This here roast rump of lamb with Epoisses-cheese risotto is that storm and I don’t think you’re prepared for the flavour train that’s coming to a town near you if you make it too.

We got the idea from Saturday Kitchen. Lovely Andi Oliver plopped some juicy slithers of lamb on top of Stinking Bishop risotto, and served it with a sorrel sauce. Of course, we had to tinker. So we’ve ended up with juicy slithers of lamb on top of our own very wine-y, very stock-y risotto laced with Epoisses, which is a really stinky, gooey French rind-washed cheese invented by monks in the 16th century. Sorrel sauce was not an appealing idea to Dad (neither of us is 100% on what it is), so we went down the jus avenue. And at the end of Jus Avenue, we turned onto Gravy street. I don’t know if we walked all the way down, so let’s say it’s a relation of jus, gravy and sauce and is delicious. The combination of roasted meat, cheese and rich meaty sauce makes me think of roast dinners as a kid, when the cauliflower cheese mixed into the gravy. Mmmmm. And if you’re craving a roastie but like me cannot handle hours of oven work in this ridiculous weather, this is a good alternative. Enjoy!

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Serves 4

4 lamb rumps
Butter
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
100g risotto rice
Small glass white wine
200ml chicken stock
100g Epoisses, cut into chunks with the rind left on
200ml lamb stock
Small glass of red wine
80g butter

First of all, preheat the oven to 200C. Then you need to seal the lamb, so season it generously with salt and pepper, heat a little oil in a pan and when it’s really hot, give each side a quick once-over until lightly browned. Pop them in a roasting tray and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. They’ll need another 20 minutes of rest – it’s hard work in that furnace! – under tin foil, so you’ve got plenty of time to make the risotto and sauce.

Risotto. Okay, so this is a really simple one but as always, slow and steady and stir-y wins the race. Melt the butter in a big saucepan over a medium heat, saute the onion (careful not to let it brown) for a few minutes and then add the garlic for another two.

Add the rice and let that become translucent – four minutes is usually the max you’ll need for that to happen. Pour in the wine and keep stirring until it’s all soaked up. Turn the heat down and add the chicken stock ladle by ladle, stirring all the time.  Another 15 minutes of cooking should do the job, which is the perfect amount of time to whip up the gravy/sauce/jus.

Put the stock and red wine in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let it reduce by about half and then add the butter. Keep stirring and eventually, it’ll have all melted and you’ll have a thick, shiny liquid.

Lastly, add a knob of butter, all the Epoisses and some salt and pepper to the risotto and stir.

Serve the lamb thickly sliced atop a few dollops of risotto and then pour over the gravy. We had it with garlic-butter dough balls, which was great for getting all the last bits of gooey cheese and gravy into our faces.

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Freelance writer, eater, drinker and cook living in London.

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