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Lamb Saddle with Caramelised Baby Onions and White Wine Jus


I make no secret of the fact that this is one of my favourite cuts. The saddle is from the middle of the animal and is all soft, tender meat. Rolled properly, it looks so elegant and is a real winner for any dinner party. Adding the soft, sweet baby onions on the side is a bit like putting a silk hanky in your pocket before you leave the house. An unassuming touch of decadence.


Ingredients - serves 4
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp finely chopped fresh herbs (I like thyme, rosemary and sage) or dried mixed herbs
1 kg lamb saddle, de-boned and rolled
salt and freshly ground pepper

For the caramelised baby onion:
28 baby onions, peeled
100g butter
1 tbsp sugar

For the white wine jus:
1 sprig of rosemary
100ml white wine
200ml lamb stock


Start by pouring the olive oil into a flat dish and mixing the finely chopped herbs into it. Season with salt and pepper. Liberally rub the lamb with the mixture and stand it in an oven dish. Put the dish into a pre-heated oven (Gas 8 / 230⁰C) for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, reduce the heat (Gas 6 / 180⁰C) and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to stand in a warm place for a further 15 minutes. This will leave the lamb saddle pink in the middle. If you prefer your lamb a little more cooked, leave it in the oven for 45 minutes during the second period.

While the lamb is cooking, put the baby onions into a heavy-bottomed pan and barely cover with cold water. Add the butter and sugar and bring the pan to a brisk simmer. Stir the liquid from time to time and allow the water to evaporate. As the water evaporates, the butter and sugar will form a caramel, which, in turn, will coat the onions. Once all the water has gone, the onions will have become soft and almost translucent. Keep stirring the onions for about 1 minute to ensure that they are golden brown. Be careful at this stage to not let the onions burn. Remove from the heat and keep the onions warm in a side dish.

If you are confident of juggling your pots, the jus can be made once the lamb is rested. However, if having more than one pan on the go is a bit stressful, then keep the lamb and onions warm to one side. The jus doesn’t take long.

Remove the lamb saddle from the oven pan and discard the excess fat and oil. Put the pan on a low heat and add the rosemary sprig. Stir it around for a few seconds until you can smell its odours. Pour in the white wine and mix well, while scraping the sediment from the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to reduce by about sixty per cent.

Now add the lamb stock to the pan and allow to simmer (if you don’t have lamb stock, veal or chicken stock will be fine. Beef stock will overpower your jus). Once the liquid has reduced by a further fifty per cent it should be starting to thicken slightly. Cook it to the thickness you prefer and season with a little salt and pepper. Pour through a fine sieve into a warm jug. Some people finish the jus with a knob of butter before sieving, but I prefer not to make the jus too rich.

Slice the lamb saddle into 4 equal portions and place each on a warm plate. Pour a little of the jus onto the lamb and a spoonful of glazed baby onions on the side (I have allowed 7 onions per person. More or less doesn’t change the recipe). Serve to your drooling guests.