Cheap and very cheerful lamb belly
Maybe I’ve been watching too much Jamie Oliver on the box or it could be the need to recover financially after the onslaught of Christmas. But as Jamie keeps reminding us, we don’t need to spend a lot of money on expensive ingredients to eat extremely well.
Fresh lamb from the butcher is never cheap, especially when buying prime cuts like loin chops, leg or shoulder. But what is possibly the tastiest and by far the cheapest cut of all – the belly ribs – is usually overlooked.
Here in Portugal it is used mostly in stews, usually mixed in with some leg and shoulder meat to bulk up a good traditional lamb stew, but with a little TLC it is great for roasting, and even better roasted and finished off on the barbecue or under the grill.
Ask your butcher to cut a straight line of ribs from the whole belly (keep all of the off-cuts and freeze them for a stew another day).
Place the rack of ribs in a roasting tin rubbed with some garlic, salt, black pepper and thyme or rosemary.
To tenderise this cut of lamb and render out some of the fat, it needs to roast long and slow – 100ºC for three to four hours will do the job.
Finally, just crisp the rack of ribs off on the grill and serve as shown with some nice grilled veggies.
By PATRICK STUART firstname.lastname@example.org