Cocoa and Red Wine Lamb with White Chocolate Mash and Cocoa Nib Butter

Inspired by Hotel Chocolat ‘Roast & Conch’ Restaurant

White Chocolate Mash, which I had with the 4-Hour Lamb Pepperpot last weekend

Last weekend, I met up with a friend of mine in Leeds for a late lunch.  She suggested we go to ‘Roast & Conch‘, a Restaurant by Hotel Chocolat, where all the food contains cocoa (or, to say it properly, Cacao).

I thought that, given my love of chocolate, this was an inspired idea, and it turned out to be a fantastic lunch!

I had a starter of Potted Mackerel Ganache, followed by the 4-Hour Lamb Pepperpot with White Potato Mash.  I loved it so much that I bought a bag of Cacao Nibs there and then and resolved to try to recreate the experience at home.

The result: Cocoa and Red Wine slow-cooked Lamb with White Chocolate and Cocoa Nib Butter Mash

Slow-cooked Lamb in Red Wine and Cocoa Nibs | White Chocolate Mash

Ingredients – for the lamb (for 4 people)

  • half a shoulder of lamb joint
  • approx. half a 75cl bottle of red wine
  • a few cocoa nibs to sprinkle
  • a generous sprinkling of cocoa powder
  • fine sea salt
  • a knob of butter
  • 2tbsp of olive oil

Ingredients – for the white chocolate mash (for 4 people)

Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Nibs | Cacao Nibs | Cocoa Nibs

Cacao Nibs

  • approx. 1.2 kg potatoes
  • 200ml extra thick double cream
  • 100g white chocolate

Ingredients – for the cocoa nib butter (this makes enough for 2 meals)

  • 1tbsp cocoa nibs
  • 125g salted butter, at room temperature so it’s malleable and soft

Method

Tip: If you don’t have a slow-cooker, start off at about 120°C for ‘high’ and go to about 90°C for ‘low’.

Turn on a slow-cooker (on ‘high’).  In a non-stick frying pan, heat up the olive oil and knob of butter to a gentle sizzle.  Season one side of the lamb with sea salt and a generous sprinkling of cocoa powder, then place the seasoned side into the sizzling oil and butter to brown.  Repeat the seasoning and cocoa sprinkling on the other side.

Add a moderate sprinkling of cocoa nibs and continue to brown on all sides on a high heat, then pour on the wine.  It should almost instantly come to a sizzle/boil.  Turn off the heat immediately.

Place the lamb into the slow cooker and pour on the juices/wine from the frying pan.  Cover with a lid and leave to cook for an hour or so before turning down the slow-cooker to0 ‘low’.

Leave to cook for a further 5 hours or until the lamb falls off the bone and can be cut with a spoon (approx. total cooking time 6 hours, but this will depend on the size of the half shoulder).

cocoa nib butter

‘sausage-shaped’ cocoa nib butter once it’s cooled/set

About half an hour before the meat is ready (Tip: you can do this much earlier and keep in the fridge until needed), mix the soft room temperature butter with the tablespoon of cocoa nibs.  Place it onto a piece of clingfilm and, using the clingfilm as a barrier between your hands and the butter, roll it into a sausage shape.  Once you have the approximate shape, roll the clingfilm tightly around the butter mixture and twist the ends (like a sweet wrapper) so that the butter is squeezed into a tight sausage shape.  Place in the freezer for half an hour until hard but not frozen, then transfer to the fridge if you’ve done this in advance.  When it’s time to serve, slice into 0.5cm thick slices with a sharp knife.

Towards the end of the cooking time, peel the potatoes and cut them into approx. 2cm cubes.  Boil them or cook them in a pressure cooker until they’re cooked and crumbly but not soggy (Alternatively, for the ‘purist’ way of doing mash, boil the potatoes with their skins on, then peel them while hot to mash them immediately.  This is quite time-consuming when it’s critical to keep them hot and you need to be very careful not to burn your hands!).

Remove the lamb from the slow-cooker about 10 mins before serving time, cover with tin-foil to keep warm and allow to ‘rest’.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat up the cream in a pan on a gentle heat and add the white chocolate, broken off into squares and gently stir as the chocolate melts into the cream.  Do not boil.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and place them into a bowl or back into the drained pan.  Pour on the cream and chocolate mixture and mash vigorously to obtain a smooth consistency.

Carve the lamb (it should be falling off the bone and almost carving itself into chunks rather than slices) and serve on warmed plates.  Add a generous portion of white chocolate mash to each plate and top each portion of hot white chocolate mash with a slice of the cocoa nib butter.  Drizzle on some of the red wine and cocoa nib sauce.  Serve immediately!

This dish sounds more complicated than it is – it’s actually quite simple to do, there are a few steps but none of them is difficult.  Try it – it will delight and surprise your tastebuds!

Lamb in a red wine, cocoa powder and cocoa nib sauce with white chocolate mash and cocoa nib butter – Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

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What to do with leftover James Martin Rustic Tomato, Bread and Basil Soup

James Martin’s Rustic Tomato, Bread and Basil Soup is delicious,

so it’s not often we have left-overs, BUT…

…last night we made tons of James Martin’s soup (click for recipe), so I had to think of something to do with the leftovers.

I decided to blitz the soup in a blender, add olives and capers and use it as a base sauce for a chicken dish.

Thus, Chicken with a James Martin Rustic Tomato Soup, Olive and Caper sauce was born!

chicken with james martin rustic tomato bread and basil soup sauce | chicken in tomato olives and capers

This would also be delicious served with mashed potatoes or polenta

Ingredients:
  • James Martin’s rustic tomato, bread and basil soup, blitzed in a blender – enough to form a base in a deep sauté pan
  • Pitted black olives (a good handful or two, depending on how much you like olives!)
  • 2-3 teaspoons of baby capers (from a jar, kept in water, vinegar and salt)
  • Chicken legs, skin left on, seasoned with fine sea salt

I’ve not written down prescriptive quantities – let your taste buds and appetite guide you.

Method:

Place the blitzed soup, olives and capers into a deep sauté pan and bring to a gentle boil.

Add the seasoned chicken legs and ensure they are covered in sauce, place a lid over the pan and turn down the heat.  Simmer gently for approx. 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and starting to loosen off the bone.

Serve with mashed potatoes or polenta.  We had this with sautéed potatoes with chorizo tonight:

Chicken with James Martin soup sauce and chorizo potatoes

Served with Chorizo Potatoes

Chicken with a tomato sauce made from left-over James Martin rustic tomato, bread and basil soup – Gloriously simple, gloriously good!

Sautéed Potatoes with Chorizo | Chorizo Potatoes

These sautéed potatoes with chorizo

are a simple yet delicious accompaniment to any meat dish

Sauteed potatoes with chorizo | chorizo potatoes

Ingredients:
  • Potatoes – peeled and cut into approx. 1.5-2cm squares
  • Chorizo – sliced into approx. 1mm thick slices, then each slice quartered
  • Olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Fine sea salt

I’ve left quantities up to you as this is really a ‘chuck it in the pan and go for it’ kind of recipe, rather than being too prescriptive.

Method:

Heat up a generous splash of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan.  Once the oil is really hot, add the potatoes and season with sea salt and a sprinkling of paprika.  Toss them around in the hot oil to ensure the paprika has evenly coated them, then add the diced chorizo pieces.

Turn the heat down and cook on a gentle heat for 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked but not falling apart.  Turn up the heat to crisp them off a little, then when they’re ready, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon so you leave some of the fat behind.

Perfect as a Tapas style dish or as an accompaniment to meat/chicken dishes.

Enjoy!

Chorizo potatoes | Gloriously Simple, Glooriously Good!