Friday, May 22, 2015

Stuffed Lamb Rib Flaps– The most delicious reason to have lamb for dinner this weekend


A FEW WEEKS back I had some requests for the Stuffed Lamb Rib Flaps recipe, so here it is!

I can’t take any credit for the idea. As far as I know people have been stuffing lamb flaps since the invention of lamb and stuffing, but I first discovered it when I moved to Burragan and was suddenly given all the cuts of an entire lamb to cook with. ST said, “Why don’t you stuff them like my mum does?” Now, I’m not stupid, and only a stupid person would try to replicate a dish perfected by their mother-in-law, but after a while I was sick of cutting them up into individual ribs and marinating them, so I decided to give stuffing them a go. And I am sure I never knew food-love before I knew Stuffed Lamb Rib Flaps.

One of the best parts of growing sheep and cattle is that we get to eat our own meat. ST’s Dad is an excellent butcher and he and ST use a bandsaw to cut up the sheep carcass (after it has hung in the cool room for a few days) into all the different cuts of meat you’d usually see in a butcher shop, and then some.

While lamb leg roasts, shoulders, chops and shanks are all cuts you see often, I don’t recall ever having lamb flaps before Burragan. They are the breast section of the sheep that is left over after you cut off the loin and the rack and… well, basically all the other cuts!

Lamb Rib Flap laying Rib Side Up

Sometimes you see it boned out and rolled up into a roast. Sometimes you see it sliced up into individual ribs (the kind you put sticky sauce on and cook on the BBQ). Stuffing them with the bones still in requires less butchering and if you’ve got nice meaty ribs it really is the stuff food heaven is made from.

To prepare your flaps:

The tips of the rib bones must be sliced a little way down with the bandsaw first to make them easier to cut with a kitchen knife. I’m sure you could ask your butcher to do this when you buy your flaps, otherwise if you have a meat cleaver and strong arm muscles I’m sure you could do it yourself.

Lamb Rib Flap laying Rib Side Down

Prepare your flaps by slicing off any really thick sections of fat from the top, careful not to cut into the very thin layers of meat.

Create a pocket between the ribs and the meat by using a sharp knife to make small cuts along the edge of the flaps, using your hands to slowly peel back the top layers of meat as you use the knife to go deeper into the pocket.

You can use your fingers to push the meat layers away from the ribs by running them back and forth inside the pocket. You don’t have to be gentle, it doesn’t matter how pretty it looks on the inside, but you do need to be careful to not cut through the back or the top of the pocket – you only want one opening and that’s at the front.


To make your stuffing:

If you’ve got a favourite stuffing recipe then feel free to go with that or do your own thing. I like to use whatever I have on hand and that can change depending on how recently I’ve been to the supermarket, but generally my stuffing recipe is like this:

Finely diced leek or onion, lots of crushed garlic, pine nuts or roughly chopped walnuts, sliced sundried tomatoes and a generous amount of chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, parsley, basil, chives, oregano etc. Use dried if you don’t have fresh. Add chilli if you like a bit of spice.

Fry it all up in a dash of oil or butter. If you’ve got some spinach or silver beat (or anything else green and leafy, aside from lettuce), finely slice a big handful and add that too. Add breadcrumbs (fresh bread ripped up or packet breadcrumbs), salt and pepper.

Turn the heat off and let it all cool for a bit before adding a couple of eggs. Mix it all together quickly to stop the egg from cooking on the warm frying pan base. If your mixture is too crumbly just add more egg, if it’s too runny add more breadcrumbs.


To stuff your flaps:

Make sure your stuffing is cool enough to handle with bare hands. Open up your flap pocket and stuff it, packing the stuffing together tightly.


Once you’ve stuffed your flaps as full as you can (wow, this is turning into a very saucy recipe!) while still able to close the top of the pocket, you need a really big skewer to weave through the top and bottom layers of the flap opening, to hold it closed. Knit the skewer between the rib bones, every third or fourth one along, and back through the top of the pocket etc. Depending on the size of the flap I can only ever get it to weave through about three times. This is fine.

Cooked version pictured, sorry, I forgot to take a photo before I cooked it!

Finishing touches:

Dress the outside of your flaps as you would a lamb roast. I like fresh rosemary and salt and pepper but other herbs, spices, lemon, and garlic also go well. You can toss any roast veggies such as potato, pumpkin, sweet potato, zucchini, eggplant etc. around the flaps before you chuck them in the oven, or prepare something else on the side like harissa spiced sweet potato wedges.


Cook the flaps for about an hour on a moderate heat. I don’t think you can really over cook them, as long as they’re not burnt!
When they’re out of the oven use a large, sharp knife to slice between each rib, carving off individual stuffed ribs. Serve with your roast veggies and some steamed greens. Or save them 'til the next day and eat cold!

Enjoy!


5 comments:

  1. I think you are a food blogger in disguise Bessie! Any lamb/sheep recipe is good in my opinion...there are just not enough out there. Home butchering presents endless possibilities doesn't it? Wishing you a lovely weekend x

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    1. Oh thanks Jane but I'm not a scratch on you or most food bloggers, which is why I don't do it often! I agree re home butchering and not enough ways to use lamb differently. I hope you got some of the rain going around xx

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  2. Yummo! Cooked in the wood oven would top it off nicely. Hope this is on the menu for my next visit.xx mum.

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    1. That can definitely be arranged! xx

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  3. finished prep ready for cooking ty for the post I'm using lamb skirt grown and butchered on the farm (Tamworth nsw) let you know how it goes

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