Hay-baked Lamb with Peas

Hay-baked Lamb with Peas, Morel Mushrooms and Crushed Jersey Royals 

Baking the lamb on hay doesn’t necessarily give the meat an abundance of flavour, but it does keep it very moist and gives it a slightly earthy taste. Try cooking whole chicken this way too. A Jersey farmer, Hugh de la Haye, bought a single 'odd-looking' potato in 1880 that had 15 'eyes'. He cut it into pieces and planted it all over a steep sloping field on his land. That single potato produced a crop of kidney-shaped potatoes with wafer-thin skin, which became known as the Jersey Royal.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°c/ gas mark 4. Season the lamb and sear it fat side down in a frying pan to give it some colour, then seal the meat side and remove from the heat. Brush the meat with English mustard. In a saut. pan, or tray, put a bed of hay into the base and pour in about 200ml of water. Place the racks of lamb onto the hay and cook in the oven for 15 minutes at 180°c/gas mark 4, then remove from the oven and rest on the hay. 

2. Boil the scrubbed potatoes in boiling salted water, drain and return back to the pan. Chop the fresh herbs and add them to the cooked potatoes with the butter, break the potatoes up with a fork, season and keep warm with a lid on. You must add the herbs while the potatoes are still hot so they absorb the flavour. 

3. Cook the peas in boiling salted water and remove half of them into a liquidiser. Add a few sprigs of fresh mint, a couple of tablespoons of melted butter, and a drizzle of water, and then pur.e until smooth. Refresh the other fresh peas in ice cold water to stop them cooking. Saut. the morel mushrooms in a little butter, and add the fresh peas, season and add a little chopped fresh mint to finish. 

4. To make the sauce, chop up the lamb trimmings into 4cm pieces. Heat a large frying pan and fry the lamb trimmings until golden brown, pour the red wine into the pan to deglaze. Place the lamb trim and red wine into a saucepan with the redcurrant jelly, shallots, rosemary, a whole clove of garlic and chicken stock. Reduce the sauce until it becomes a strong-tasting, pouring consistency. Strain through a fine sieve into another saucepan. 

5. To serve, put a spoonful of pea purée onto each plate, carve and add the lamb, finish with the peas, morels, pea shoots, fresh mint sprigs and a spoonful of lamb sauce. Serve with the crushed Jersey Royals in a separate pot.

Ingredients: Serves 4 2 racks of lamb, French trimmed English mustard 2 handfuls of hay 200ml water For the Jersey Royals 500g Jersey Royals, or new potatoes flat leaf parsley chives fresh mint 100g butter seasoning 

For the peas 400g fresh peas fresh mint 100g butter 200g fresh morel mushrooms 1 punnet pea shoots 8 sprigs fresh mint cheese, grated For the lamb sauce 100g-200g lamb trimmings bottle red wine 4 tblsp redcurrant jelly 2 shallots, sliced 1 sprig rosemary 1 clove garlic 500ml chicken stock