Barbecued lamb on Le Puy lentil purée with garlic aioli, pickled red cabbage and hazelnut beignets

Try saying that three times quickly. Seriously, this dish is even more delicious than it sounds. This was the second dish chef Michael Van de Elzen demonstrated from his Molten cookbook during the Molten cooking demonstration at Nosh Mt Eden. The first was a potato tart with pickled fennel, green apple, sheep’s feta and wild rocket (and my version)

Michael states that this recipe takes 80 minutes to prep and cook (not withstanding marinating the lamb). I beg to differ; it took me the better part of 2 ½ hours, true, I did have to repeat a couple of recipes, but do give yourself plenty of time. One big, no, make that huge lesson, – mise en place is crucial, weigh everything out beforehand. This will greatly reduce the cussing…

This dish deviates from my ‘hack-ish’ mantra, but it does show how you can absolutely serve fine-dining style meals at home by prepping in advance. When your guests arrive, all you have to do is grill the lamb. While the lamb is resting, you can start plating.

And of course, this dish is visually stunning, and tastes wonderful. The tender lamb with the hint of citrus and garlic against the creamy lentil purée with the sweet, tangy crunch red cabbage pickle and the nutty beignet. You’re getting the whole gamut of tastes and flavours.

If you thought the ingredient list and recipe for the potato tart was daunting, you may want to avert your eyes now.

600g lamb thick flank or rump, sliced into 1cm slices (I used whole lamb backstraps)
4 lemons, juice of
10 stalks thyme
10 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Place lamb in a bowl and add lemon juice. Crush thyme in your hand and add to lamb with garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Toss, cover and marinate overnight in refrigerator (I found that 4-6 hours is fine).

Le Puy Lentil purée:
2 soft boiled eggs (5 minutes)
1 tbsp soft butter
4 tbsp Le Puy lentils, cooked (cook in 1 cup water for 30 minutes)
1/3 cup vegetable stock (I cheated and used powdered stock)
1/3 cup olive oil

Place eggs, butter, lentils and stock in a blender (caveat, – only do this if your blender can blend on low, otherwise, there will be a mess and purée which is far too liquid!). Process, gradually adding olive oil.

If the mixture is too thick, add more vegetable stock
Transfer to glass bowl and leave to set in refrigerator. When needed, heat until warm in microwave.

Chef Michael showing how it’s done with his commercial blender (can you hear my envy?)

Garlic aioli (makes 1 cup):
1 egg yolk
50g cold mashed potato (not leftover mashed potato, as any oil/butter/cream will ruin your aioli)
1 tbsp crushed garlic
¼ tbsp Dijon mustard
40ml white wine vinegar
190ml canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

To prepare aioli, place egg yolks, mashed potato, garlic, mustard and vinegar into a mixer bowl and mix on low speed until incorporated. Slowly add oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store in a jar in refrigerator until required.

Pickled red cabbage:
¼ red cabbage, finely sliced
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup red wine
¼ cup port
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup caster sugar

To prepare cabbage, place wine, port, vinegar and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan. Boil until liquid is starting to look thick and syrupy. Add cabbage, lower heat and cook until cabbage in tender and liquid is glossy (around 15 minutes). Season to taste.

Hazelnut beignets (makes 12):
65ml milk
65ml water
50g butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
75g flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp hazelnuts, roasted and crushed
oil for deep-frying (I used canola oil)

Bring milk, water and butter to the boil. Add salt and sugar. Add flour and cook over lower heat for 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and beat until cool. Slowly add eggs, one at a time, mixing to combine. Add hazelnuts and mix.


Use a tablespoon; mould the mixture into 12 small round shapes. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy based frying pan and fry until cooked and golden. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

To assemble:
½ cup beef jus, hot

Preheat a barbecue or char grill (I used a cast iron skillet). Remove lamb from marinade, cook for 2 minutes on each side, then remove and rest for 2 minutes (as I used lamb backstrap which were much thicker, I cooked, covered, for around 5 minutes on each side, and rested for 10 minutes).

Warm lentil puree in microwave and spread over the middle of each plate. Pour over a little of the hot jus. Slice lamb and arrange on top.

Add pickled red cabbage to hot jus and place to the side of the lamb. Finish with garlic aioli and two hazelnut beignets (and garnish with baby red chard or daikon leaves). Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Barbecued lamb on Le Puy lentil purée with garlic aioli, pickled red cabbage and hazelnut beignets

  1. bunnyeatsdesign says:

    Wow girl, you had me at “lamb”. Your lamb is beautifully cooked.

    I absolutely adore red cabbage with red wine and balsamic and sugar. Never added port to it, but I can see how that would make it extra awesome.

    You look like you're deviating a bit from “lazy cook” moniker…

  2. easyfoodhacks says:

    Thanks Genie! You're too kind. I'm loving pickled red cabbage (and pickled fennel), I never realised it was so easy to make and tastes so good.

    Trust me, I'm beyond lazy during the work week. Weekends are my penance. 🙂

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