We love it as the seasons change, each new season brings with it a bounty of beautiful new ingredients to excite the culinary cranium of Chef Paul Askew.
New to our Prix Fixe menu is a delicious dish of hay-roast rump of Herdwick lamb with Butcher’s Wife black pudding, puy lentils, baby beetroot, carrots, wild garlic and natural jus.
Chef Patron Paul Askew explains his reasoning behind our new dish:
“Herdwick is in the Lake District, our lamb comes from Lakes Speciality Foods. It’s up on the Lakeland Fells and the lambs have a totally natural diet of Heather and Gorse. This is mountain lamb and because of the climate and the soil, it’s high quality and a great variety to use, not too gamey.”
“We buy a deep cut rump, what we use is a technique passed down from provincial French technique that I first became aware of through studying the techniques of the Roux Brothers. It’s called hay-roast, we have taken the basis of their technique and put our own Art School stamp on it.”
“We make a dry marinade rub out of garlic, rosemary, thyme, fennel, sea salt and cracked black pepper which is applied to the skin, fat and around the rump. This goes into a hot pan to be caramelised to seal in the juices, a standard practice. This is where the process becomes good, we then take it from there and put it in another pan with hay. I stop at Vineyard Farm in Bebington on the way into the restaurant to pick up some hay. We also add sprigs of rosemary and lavender as both work very well with the lamb. We then get the pan hot and toast the hay and the herbs. We then set them alight with the rump inside so they start to flame then we put a lid on it so it’s part smoked, part roasted. This results in a lovely grassy, herby smoky exterior but with a juicy moist interior. The herbs and the hay insulate the lamb so it cooks evenly and when it has been rested prior to carving, we get a beautiful tender piece of meat which is why we use this technique. It creates a very consistent product so we can get it well cooked every time. The important thing is it retains all its juices and flavour but the most attractive thing to me is the way it insulates the lamb.”
The accompaniment is a roasted carrot and honey puree and Butcher’s Wife black pudding which is made by Callum Edge’s wife, Debbie. She uses a traditional method, cooking it in a rectangular tray with huge chunks of fat from Gloucestershire Old Spot pork from Leahurst in Willaston. The balance of the amount of blood protein and the fat coupled with the spices (Debbie puts Chinese Five Spice in there which is unusual) makes for a marriage made in Heaven. It cooks beautifully and is very light.”
“We serve that with spring vegetables, puy lentils, wild garlic shredded through it and the natural lamb stock. It’s a dish that has evolved each year as we have added things to it. This is the best format we have had it in and it’s the time of year that the lamb is at its best.”