Succulent lamb fillet with stunning flavour and a tart seasonal sauce! Could you do better for a wintry dish that’s a little different – lamb fillet infused with christmassy flavours and served with a tart cranberry and red wine sauce.
We were looking for a wintry meal to serve to a couple of very close friends so I dug into a couple of my favourite cook books and saw a lovely looking dish from Tom Kerridge. He was cooking venison, but as one of our guests was pregnant I felt I needed to stay away from such a gamey meat. But the sauce looked amazing and perfect for a December cook so I had a browse round the local butcher and decided to give lamb loin fillet a go.
I also wasn’t able to find any juniper berries but found a quick and easy solution – they carry a similar flavour to rosemary with a hint more citrus so a quick squeeze of lemon and a bunch of rosemary should give the same result.
Cooked on the bbq with a little extra rosemary smoke the lamb was delicious served beautifully pink and tender and the cranberry sauce is now a house favourite as soon as winter rolls in. Works just as well roasted in the oven!
If you’re looking to serve up to 6 people increase the lamb and marinade quantities but only reserve 500g of the marinade liquid for the cranberry sauce. For more than 8 you will need to make more sauce too.
lamb fillet with a cranberry and red wine sauce: serves 4
- 650g lamb loin fillets
for the marinade:
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 slice lemon juice
- 2 bay leaves
- pared zest of 1/2 orange
- 500ml red wine
for the cranberry sauce:
- 3 shallots, finely diced
- 4 chestnut mushrooms, finely diced
- 75g cranberry jelly
- juice of 1 orange
- 50ml red wine vinegar
- 200ml beef stock
- 150g cranberries
- 30g butter
Place the lamb fillets in a dish and scatter over the marinade ingredients, pouring over the red wine so that the fillets are fully submerged. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
Remove the lamb fillets from the marinade and set aside. Strain the rest of the marinade through a sieve into a jug and reserve for the sauce.
Preheat your oven/bbq to 170C, with a bbq set up for indirect cooking. Add a couple of sprigs of rosemary just before cooking if you want a little extra smoke.
the cranberry sauce:
Heat a little butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until they are softened.
Mix in the cranberry jelly then pour in the orange juice and red wine vinegar and stir to combine. Turn up the heat and let the liquid bubble away until it’s almost gone and the shallots and mushrooms are just glazed with the sauce.
Pour in the reserved marinade and the beef stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat right down and simmer very gently for around 15 – 20 minutes or until the sauce is just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. You may need to skim it from time to time to remove any scum that rises to the surface.
Throw in the cranberries and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes, or until you have the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Once the sauce is on the go, roast the lamb. Season with salt and pepper and cook at 170C for 15 – 20 minutes or until your internal temperature is 54C for medium rare, 57C for medium.
Remove from your oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes, covered lightly with foil.
Carve into thick slices before spooning over the cranberry sauce and sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt.