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    Chickpea & deli-olive broth with lamb neck fillet

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    Chickpea & deli-olive broth with lamb neck fillet

    by Ed Smith

    • Preparation time: 15 minutes
    • Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
    • Total time: 30 minutes

    Serves: 2


    30g butter
    125-150g shallots, quartered
    2 large cloves garlic, very finely sliced
    400g can Essential Chickpeas (including water)
    Rind from a piece of Parmigiano Reggiano (about 1cm thick)
    120g pimento and jalepeño stuffed olives (from the deli counter)
    4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    ½ tsp sherry vinegar
    1 lamb neck fillet (about 250-300g, from the meat counter)
    1½ tbsp vegetable oil
    80g kale leaves, any stalks removed


    1. Melt 15g butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Sauté the shallots with a pinch of salt for around 4-5 minutes, stirring only occasionally so they begin to bronze and soften. Add the garlic, then cook and stir for 30 seconds more. Pour in the contents of the chickpea can (including the liquid). Drop in the cheese rind, refill the can with water, and tip that in too.

    2. Simmer for 10 minutes, then reduce the hob to its lowest temperature, leaving the mixture to blip gently away as you finish the rest of the meal.

    3. Meanwhile, roughly chop the olives, then run the knife through a few times more, to chop them a little more finely – the result should be a coarse rubble rather than a tapenade-like paste. Transfer to a bowl and add the olive oil and vinegar. Taste and add a little black pepper if needed.

    4. Once the chickpeas have been moved to the lower heat, cut the lamb neck in 2 at the point it begins to thin (around ²/³ along). Season both pieces generously all over with salt and black pepper. Find a heavy-bottomed frying pan into which the lamb pieces fit relatively snugly. Place this over a high heat, add the vegetable oil then, after 90 seconds, add the neck fillet. Cook on one side for a minute without touching. Flip over and cook for a minute more. Then cook for a minute on each of the thinner sides.

    5. After a total of 4 minutes, add the remaining 15g butter to the pan. Baste the meat with the foaming, browning butter, removing the thin piece from the pan after 90 seconds, then the thicker piece 1 minute after that (for medium-rare). Rest for 4 minutes before slicing thinly and seasoning.

    6. Around half-way through cooking the meat, remove the cheese rind from the chickpea pan and replace it with the kale. Stir occasionally so it wilts. Then, as the meat rests, stir two-thirds of the olives into the chickpeas (leaving most of the olive oil in the bowl at this point). You need around 2 ladles-worth of broth per person, so add a little more water if necessary.

    7. To serve, divide the chickpeas and kale between 2 shallow bowls, ensuring they sit like hippos in a puddle of broth (not so much that it’s a soup). Lay the sliced lamb on top and finish with generous spoonfuls of chopped olives and the flavourful oil.

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