Lamb Fillets with Candied Onions, Fennel and Canadian Whisky

Automne 2003
food and drink

BY: Lucy Waverman

These packages can be made ahead of time until baking point. Refrigerate until an hour before cooking. They need to come to room temperature for accurate baking. Baking time needs to be adjusted according to thickness of lamb. Pieces that are 1-inch (2.5-cm) thick take about 12 to 15 minutes, 2-inch (5-cm) pieces take about 20 minutes, thicker ones will take a little longer. Buy 2 lamb racks and carefully remove bones. Cut the meat into 2 and reserve bones for jus. If you want another vegetable, serve with butter-braised baby turnips. Candied Onions and Fennel recipe follows.

2 racks of lamb
2 tsp (10 mL) chopped garlic
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbsp (25 mL) Dijon mustard
2 tsp (10 mL) Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup (250 mL) cooked spinach, chopped
8 sheets phyllo
¼ cup (50 mL) melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. With a sharp knife, remove meat from bones, cutting as close to the bone as possible. Reserve bones for jus. Cut meat in half. Each rack will serve 2.

3. Combine garlic, rosemary, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mix 1 tbsp (15 mL) into cooked spinach and brush remaining herb mixture over lamb.

4. Lay a sheet of phyllo on counter and brush with butter. Lay another sheet on top and brush with butter. Add ¼ of spinach mixture in the centre of the top third of phyllo sheet. Place lamb on top of spinach Roll once, brush phyllo with butter and fold edges over lamb, brush with butter and roll into a package. Brush the entire surface with butter. Repeat for other 3 pieces of lamb.

5. Place on butter-brushed baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until phyllo is golden.

6. Place phyllo packets on a bed of onions and fennel. Surround with lamb jus (recipe follows).

Serves 4

Candied Onions and Fennel
2 cups (500 mL) thinly sliced fennel bulb
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
4 cups (1 L) thinly sliced Spanish onion
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup (50 mL) balsamic vinegar
¼ cup (50 mL) honey
¼ cup (50 mL) Canadian whisky

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add fennel, bring back to boil. Boil for 1 minute and drain well.

2. Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat and add onions and fennel. Sauté for 5 minutes, until onions are softened. Add balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and whisky and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced and thickened, about 40 minutes. The onions and fennel will become caramelized and sticky. This mixture keeps about 2 weeks.

3. Serve with lamb fillets.

Makes about 2 cups (500 mL)

Lamb Jus

1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
Bones from the lamb rack, cut into pieces
½ cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped onion
½ cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped carrot
½ cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped celery
½ cup (125 mL) Canadian whisky
2 cups (500 mL) lamb or beef stock
2 cups (500 mL) water
1 tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and add lamb bones. Sauté until browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add onions, carrot and celery and sauté  another 3 to 5 minutes, until vegetables are tinged with brown. Add whisky and bring to boil. Reduce liquid until 1 tbsp (15 mL) is left, about 1 minute.

2. Add stock, water and tomato paste and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup (250 mL). Strain and season. Serve with lamb packages.

Makes 1 cup (250 mL)

What to Serve

Stock Type519959