Lamb belly stuffed with parsley and lemon

We’ve all heard about pork belly, but lamb belly? Yep, lamb’s have bellies too and they make a great, cheap pot roast.

Just because lamb belly is cheap (like pork belly used to be, before it got hip), doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. Like pork, the lamb belly is from the bottom of the animal and is run through with rich veins of fat. It’s almost always classed as waste too, usually added to sausages, or mince, or even thrown away! (I learned this on my lambbutchery course at the Butcher’s Quarter, read about that here).

Like a pork belly, lamb belly needs a long, slow cook, with some moisture thrown in. And like pork, if done well lamb belly yields a tasty, soft, unctuous cut. It’s not a big cut, we barely got enough for three out of this, but at the price you’ll pick it up for it doesn’t matter if you need more than one.

I find rolling and tying really hard, so I got the guys at The Butcher’s Quarter to pre-roll this for me, with elasticated butcher’s string. Therefore I could unroll it, stuff it and re-roll with ease at home.

If you want another lamb recipe, here’s my lamb, roots and asparagus salad recipe.

Lamb belly stuffed with parsley

Serves 2 – prep 20 min – cook 3 hours

Ingredients
  • 1 lamb belly, pre-rolled with elasticated butcher’s string
  • 1 tsp sea salt, I like Maldon the best
  • 1 bunch of parsley, stalks and all, chopped roughly
  • 10 cornichons, chopped or 3 tblsp capers
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced very fine
  • Zest of one lemon
  • One brown onion, skin left on chopped roughly
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 250ml chicken stock, hot
  • 1 tblsp cornflour
Method
roast lamb belly on chopping board
  1. Preheat the oven to 160c.
  2. Take your lamb out of the fridge an hour before you want to cook it. Unwrap, pat dry with kitchen paper.
  3. Take your string off your lamb and unroll. On the inside of your lamb belly (the bit inside when you roll up) spread out your parsley, cornichons/capers, garlic, lemon zest and season with salt. Re-roll and pop the string back on, then season the outside with salt and pepper.
  4. Place a medium casserole dish, or large, ovenproof heavy based pan over a high heat and once hot add the rolled lamb. Cook each side of the lamb belly roll until it begins to brown then take out and put to one side.
  5. Drop the heat to medium and add the veg, browning a little. Then add the lamb back in, tuck in the bay leaf, chuck in the peppercorns and add the stock.
  6. Bring just to the boil, pop the lid on and place in the oven for about three hours. Check after two hours and add a little more liquid if needed. The meat is ready when a knife goes right through with no resistance and the meat is falling apart.
  7. Drop the oven to 100c and put the lamb belly on a baking tray. Cover with foil and place back into the oven while you make the gravy.
  8. Strain the lamb cooking juices into a small pan, smooshing the soft veg through the sieve to add some body. In a ramekin mix a tsp of cooking juices with the cornflour, then add another to loosen it. Stir the cornflour slurry into the juices, stirring all the time and bring to the boil until thickened to how you like it.
  9. Slice the lamb belly, serve with mash and greens, with the juices poured over.
Variations

Serve with white bean mash instead of potatoes.

Change the stuffing! Wild garlic makes a great swap for the parsley. Or use chilli, lime and coriander. Go middle eastern with couscous, harissa, apricot and pistachios. Or go wild and use your imagination!