Couscous and Black Pudding-Stuffed Lamb with Brakspear Triple
Couscous. Let’s face it; although filling, it’s not very tasty. Utility grains, ready to bulk out salads and provide a bit of interest, texture-wise, to all those leaves. However, if you use it as stuffing and let it take up all those meat juices, it becomes something much, much more delicious.
You might also think it strange to use Black Pudding with Lamb, but trust me – it works. Black Pudding has the savoury/sweet balance and texture that really hits it off with Lamb; probably due to Lamb’s sweetness. Plus, all that good Pork Fat in the Pudding won’t do any harm, flavour-wise, either. I used Lishman’s Black Pudding in this recipe, because it has huge, chewy cubes of Pork Fat in it; almost like Porky Wine Gums. I can, however, recommend the excellent Black Pudding of Blue Pig , who can be found at Farmer’s Markets across Yorkshire most of the time.
First, you need to fry your Black Pudding (only a couple of slices) in a pan until cooked on the outside. Cube, then leave to cool. Make your Couscous in the usual way, adding boiling water and leaving to steam. Stir in a pinch of Turmeric, and a pinch of Mint.
Prepare your meat. Take one boned-out shoulder of Lamb (Or boned Leg, if you want more meat and less fat), and open it up further by butterflying it outwards. Season the meat with Black Pepper, chopped fresh Thyme, and rub of crushed Garlic. Mix your Black Pudding and Couscous together, then lay on top of the Lamb. Then simply roll up and tie with Butcher’s string. I find that an extra pair of hands helps at this stage. Stick some Rosemary into the outside of the lamb, and sprinkle with Salt and Pepper.
Preheat your oven to 200c. Add some water (a cupful or so) to a roasting tin and scatter slices of Sweet Potato on the outside, drizzled with Olive Oil and a little more salt. Use the rest of your stuffing mix to form a bed, then lay the meat on top.
Cook for about 25 minutes at 200C, then lower slightly to 180C and cook for another 30 minutes or so. This is what I do, because I like Lamb pinkish; but please, cook it how you like it. Any Couscous that might have stuck to the outside will harden; you can scrape those off. Also, I would check on the Lamb and stuffing halfway through, and if the pan is dry, scrape the Couscous around with a fork, and add a little more water and a drop of Olive Oil. The stuffing will stay moist and really, really tasty – if you pay attention to it.
What makes this dish work is because the bed of stuffing soaks up all the Lamb juices, and you end up with a surprisingly tasty, light stuffing that really sings with the Lamb.
Beer-wise, I chose Brakspear’s Triple (7.2%abv), mostly due to the sweetness of it complimenting Lamb. Toffee-Apple red in colour, there’s Almond and Cherry-skin in the nose, with a deep, vinous note and a whiff of alcohol-heat backing it up. The sip is sweet – maybe too sweet for some – with more Cherry Bakewell notes. There’s a burst of Orangey bitterness at the end, which turns out to be drying rather than to heavy. It’s a rich beer, and I’d also consider using it in boozy puddings, too.
So, if you’re looking for something different for New Year, give this a bash. The beer, Lamb and Sweet Potato make it a very unique proposition.