Lamb with griddled polenta and agrodolce spring greens

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Lamb with griddled polenta and agrodolce spring greens

Main Serves 6 2h 45 min
In north and central Italy, where root vegetables are less of a 'go to' staple, it tends to be polenta and other grains and pulses that provide the background for the meat and vegetables. Polenta works surprisingly well in its wet, 'porridge' form, but it is far better cooled, cut into squares and griddled in the manner of chickpea panelle.



  • 600ml lamb or chicken stock
  • sprig rosemary, leaves removed

for the polenta

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 150g lardons
  • 300g polenta
  • 100g Parmesan or aged Pecorino, grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

for the lamb

  • 500g/1kg lamb leg
  • olive oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 150g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano, finely chopped

for the spring greens

  • 100ml water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 25g butter
  • 500g spring greens, shredded
  • 1 tsp vinegar


Prep time: 45 min
Cooking time: 2h


  • Step 1

    Pour the stock into a small saucepan, add the rosemary leaves and reduce by 60%. Strain and keep warm to serve as a sauce.

To make the polenta

  • Step 1

    , first fry the garlic and lardons for 5 minutes or so. Bring a litre of salted water to the boil in a saucepan and add the polenta, stirring all the time to make sure there are no lumps. Lower the temperature and cook, stirring almost continually, for 45 minutes. It's hard work, but it will end up tasting better than the easy-cook variety.
  • Step 2

    Stir in the lardon/garlic mix and the grated cheese, and season with black pepper. Pour and scrape out onto a marble slab or oiled baking tray. Smooth the top with a wet spatula - it should be about 2cm thick. Allow to cool and cut into squares or rectangles.
  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, season the lamb and place in a plastic freezer bag in a saucepan of hand hot (55°C) water. Leave for an hour, keeping the water as close to that temperature as possible.

For the lamb

  • Step 1

    preheat oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5. Remove the lamb from the bag, pour any juices into the reduced stock, brush the meat with beaten egg and coat with a mixture of the breadcrumbs, chopped herbs and some salt and pepper. Press in well with your fingers to bind the crumbs. Carefully place on a roasting tray and roast for about 40 minutes for the 1kg joint, 20-30 minutes for the 500g joint. The meat should still be a little pink, so aim for a core temp of about 67°C. It will rise a few degrees as it rests.
  • Step 2


get on with the greens

  • Step 1

    . Put the water, honey and butter in a pan, bring to the boil and add the spring greens. Cook until just wilted, which should take 6-8 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Step 2

    Meanwhile griddle the polenta. Brush with olive oil and cook on a hot griddle or in a frying pan until crisp on both sides. Reheat the sauce and carve the meat.

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