Last Updated on July 6, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
Butterflied Lamb Boulangere for a simple BBQ idea come rain or shine!
I love spending the summer al-fresco. When the sun shines, I set up my home office in one corner of the garden and work there all day. And, when I have friends over, I hope for good weather so that we can eat out. That said, I’m a near novice at BBQ food and generally rely on salads, meat and cheese platters with perhaps a pizza or flan to feed everyone. A couple of years ago I was given a small, portable barrel BBQ and smoker – which has sat unused until I was contacted by Field&Flower and asked if I would like to review some of their BBQ range. I checked out their website and was truly impressed with the variety of food they had on offer – perfect ideas for a simple BBQ where guests might easily be fooled into thinking I’d done a lot of prep work myself. I also wanted some kind of insurance against wet weather – and so the idea of enjoying a lamb boulangere was conceived.
Bearing in mind that my BBQ is very small, that I have very little experience of grilling and that this summer seems to be sadly unpredictable, all the food I ordered would work if some or all dishes were oven-cooked. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I still think of cooking on a BBQ as the man of the household’s job – and as a single woman, it’s not something I do very often. So, this really did have to be a simple BBQ – even though I knew my friends would help! Luckily Field&Flower have a great range of things that just don’t need anything more than putting them on a pre-heated grill.
My shopping list for this very simple BBQ comprised:
- Pork and fennel sausages
- Piri Piri chicken wings
- Herb and salted boneless chicken thighs
- Monkfish Skewers
- Salmon Skewers
- Lamb leg butterflied and thyme marinated
- Drunk rum brisket burnt ends
- Beef and stilton burgers
That’s plenty of food for eight to ten people. Especially if you have salads, dips and bread. I’d fully intended to cook everything except the drunk rum brisket burnt ends and the lamb on the barbecue. When it arrived, the lamb leg looked so special that I was glad to be cooking it boulangere style in the oven. The idea was that if it had started to rain, everything else could easily have migrated indoors. I have a cast iron griddle which works perfectly well for sausages, burgers and skewers, while the chicken would have been oven-baked.
Luckily the weather stayed dry and over the course of the evening, we managed to cook everything (and devour the brisket and lamb!).
The food from Field&Flower was perfect and made life so easy. I was particularly impressed that everything had a decent shelf life – the shortest ‘use by’ was 3-days from delivery for the fish, while most of the other products came vacuum packed with at least a 5-day shelf life. And, I love the order flexibility from Field&Flower – you pick your delivery day – it’s £2.95 for weekday deliveries and £3.95 for weekend deliveries. Everything arrived beautifully packed in a box with recyclable chiller packs and the vacuum-sealed bags meant there was no danger of cross-contamination.
Then, all I needed to do for a simple BBQ was schedule the afternoon and evening so that no one was left hungry. I made a whole range of salads including a potato salad, roasted Mediterranean vegetables, tomato and black olives and a cucumber, mint and red onion salad and bought baguettes to share. The morning of the BBQ, I prepared the lamb boulangere by slicing potatoes and onions with a mandolin and parboiling the potatoes for a minute to stop them from going brown and help the timing. We lit the BBQ half an hour before the guests arrived so that it could get to the right stage for grilling. And, I planned a grilling order so that we could eat without those embarrassing long gaps.
I planned the lamb boulangere to be ready to rest when my guests arrived so that the brisket ends could go straight in the oven at a slightly higher temperature.
Meanwhile, the fish was the first to be grilled – the skewers took less than 10 minutes so while the lamb was resting and the brisket cooking, we were happily devouring monkfish and salmon skewers.
Lamb boulangere is a classic variation on boulangere potatoes that is usually made with a bone-in leg of lamb. Using the Field&Flower thyme marinated butterflied lamb actually made the dish easier. I precooked the potato and onion mixture for 30 minutes at 160C, before turning the heat up to 180c, searing the lamb in a frying pan then putting it on top of the potato and onion mix for 25 minutes or so. If you decide to use a butterflied leg of lamb that hasn’t been marinated, you’ll need to follow my recipe to make your own marinade. No guarantees though – and I’d recommend buying the pre-prepared version!
Once the lamb was cooked, I covered the whole dish with foil and left it to rest on one side, while the burnt brisket ends went in to cook at 200C for 20 minutes till the sauce was sticky and the meat warmed through.
We ate lamb and brisket while the rest of the meats were grilled in succession which made for a beautifully relaxed and simple BBQ idea. The brisket worked brilliantly in a brioche bun, just the way I’d normally serve pulled pork.
Even now I’m drooling over this dish, with ultra-tender chunks of lean beef in a sticky sauce.
Piri Piri thicken wings were quick to grill and wonderful to snack on. There really is something special about that char you get from a good BBQ. And, the marinade meant the meat inside was perfectly moist and tender. For those who wanted a more substantial portion of chicken, the herb-marinated boneless thighs cooked beautifully too. There’s a balance between removing the bone of meat you are going to cook or leaving it in. Boneless chicken portions can dry out quickly but here, the marinade ensured that didn’t happen.
I’m going to share the lamb recipe because, while I know there are plenty of lamb boulangere dishes based on a bone-in leg of lamb, using a butterflied leg actually makes this an even easier dish to serve up. And, if you buy the Field&Flower marinated lamb, you don’t even have to do any preparation of the meat.
A delicious way to cook a butterflied leg of lamb boulangere style
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 40 g fresh thyme 2 large handfuls, picked from the stems then finely chopped
- 1.3 kg butterflied leg of lamb
- salt and pepper
- 1.3 kg marinated butterflied leg of lamb
- 1.5 kg potatoes
- 3 medium brown onions
- 6 cloves garlic
- 500 ml chicken stock
- 100 g butter
- 30 g fresh thyme
Mix the thyme, salt and pepper with the olive oil
Put the leg of lamb into a large ziplock bag or tupperware container
Pour over the marinade
Put in the fridge to marinate for at least 24 and up to 48 hours
Peel the potatoes, onions and garlic
Using a sharp knife or mandolin slice the potatoes and onions as thinly as possible
If you are not cooking immediately, you can blanch the potatoes in boiling water to help keep them from going brown. Once blanched for a minute, drain and cool in a bowl of iced water, before covering. Drain and pat dry with a clean tea towel before using
Pre-heat the oven to 180C (175C fan oven)
Butter a roasting pan
Crush or finely chop the garlic and pick the thyme leaves
Put layers of potatoes, garlic, thyme and onions in the pan, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go
Pour over the stock - it should come about 2/3rds of the way up the potato mix
Cover the pan with foil and put in the oven for 10 minutes
Heat a large frying pan and sear the lamb on both sides till the fat starts to brown a little
Take the potato mixture out of the oven, remove the foil and put the lamb on top of the mixture. Reserve the foil for later!
Put it back in the oven at 180C (175C fan) for around an hour, till the lamb is cooked through. Check once or twice while the mix is cooking and if the potatoes are starting to dry out too much, you can add more stock and/or cover the dish with foil.
A meat thermometer reading of 62C will give you medium-rare lamb, 65 C for medium and 70 for well-done. At this stage your potatoes should be meltingly soft.
Take the pan out of the oven, cover with foil and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes and up to half an hour
Pork and fennel sausages were beautifully meaty, with just a hint of fennel adding flavour. We found that the beef and stilton burgers were a bit too ‘cheesy’ for us, but were impressed at how well made they were and how they didn’t fall apart on the grill.
The entire event was a great success – and with the products from Field&Flower it was so easy to pick simple BBQ ideas for a novice like me.
Do check out their website. I found it hard to pick from all the delicious products on offer – and was genuinely impressed with the pricing.