If you are reading this you are about to get an insight into one of my favourite dishes that I make. This lamb backstrap, pumpkin & pistachio dukkah dish is a head turner! Yes, it may look a little complicated and there are a few components to it BUT given we are eating at home a lot lately who says you can't have a nice date night at home, impress your mates or even your extended family? I have laid out the recipe into different easy to follow components and if you are a little organised you can make many of them ahead of time so that when it comes to actually serve/impressing with the dish then you just need to cook the lamb and fry the squash - simples!
Most importantly, make sure you read to the bottom and provide yourself with the right wine for the right occasion! PLUS there is generous 15% off plus free shipping code down there too 😉
WHY I LOVE THIS RECIPE
This is an easy one - because it's so darn tasty!! I have made this recipe I would say for about 100 people at various different catering gigs and every plate has been licked clean. It's the kinda dish that has the serious wow factor but also is way easier than you think to make. Most of the components of this lamb backstrap recipe can be made in advance which makes it the ultimate impress your dinner guests dish!
Aside from looking pretty every component is a hit. We have delicious lamb backstrap, smokey smooth squash puree, texture from the delicious pistachio dukkah, creamy goats cheese and a little zing from those pickled raisins #itsawinner
WHAT IS LAMB BACKSTRAP
Before moving to Australia I had never heard of lamb backstrap. I was in the butcher shop and was like lamb back what? Upon taking a look at the cut I discovered it's known as the fillet or loin in other countries. This cut is free from fat, gristle and bone. Beautiful and lean and typically purchased as a 250g piece. Enough for 2ppl or if you are like me and love your lamb then enough for 1 person 😉
CAN I USE ANOTHER CUT OF LAMB
Sure can - the beauty of this dish is all the components work well with most cuts of lamb. I would probably choose ones that don't require slow cooking like the shoulder or shank. Not that it wouldn't work with those but I prefer more street food style food with those cuts. Think lamb chops, lamb cutlets or even lamb leg. Imagine a big platter piled high with sliced butterflied lamb leg, smoked squash puree, goats cheese & pickled raisins - I know I can!
SMOKED PUMPKIN PUREE
Making pumpkin puree is super simple. Why smoke it? Simple, I love the flavour of BBQ and adding that extra smoke to the dish really elevates it. Here I cut the kent pumpkin into large wedges and smoked them on my BBQ for about 1 hour using cherrywood chips. Alternatively, you can cut them into smaller pieces and cut the cooking time in half but I like slow cooking my vegetables when making a puree as it brings out some of the natural sweetness.
Once it's fork (or knife) tender, peel the skin off and add it to a blender with salt & a knob of butter, blitz it up and job done! If it's a little thick for you then add a drop of water and you are good to go.
If you don't have a BBQ or you live in Ireland where it rains all the time (like my family!) you can just roast the pumpkin in the oven and skip the smoking part.
I'm in love with this stuff. 5 ingredients - 4 of which you just toast in a pan, the other simply chopped and mixed in at the end. It doesn't get any easier than homemade pistachio dukkah. Plus the joy of it too is it will keep for a few weeks in an airtight container in the pantry.
Dukkah originates from Egypt, you will find it sprinkled on bread or used mixed in with oil to dip the bread into. Nowadays you will find it on any "trendy" menu - especially here in Australia where it's sprinkled on the Aussie classic of eggs & avo!
These little golden nuggets are pure joy. Pickled raisins are ready in minutes, lasts for months in the fridge and they will add a killer pop to any salad, couscous dish or my beautiful lamb backstrap & pumpkin puree dish. All you need is raisins, vinegar, sugar & chili flakes. I can't recommend them enough and if nothing else alone it's worth having a jar of these in the fridge at all times!
Mont wines are the brainchild of Martin "Monty" Burns. Monty grew up like every other kid out there 20+ years ago being used by their parents as "free labour". For me it was cutting the grass, washing the windows, cleaning the brass and cooking dinner. Montys was a little more glamorous (or not if you ask him!) picking grapes and ultimately helping to make wine. This started his love affair with wine and what has ultimately led to some cracking single-vineyard expressions from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.
All the wines made at Mont wines focus on the vineyard, what they bring to the table (or bottle). They are a pure expression of the area and with minimal intervention and careful use of oak, Monty bring wines that are not only easy drinking & affordable but bloody tasty too!
Thanks to Monty anyone reading this can pick up some wine, have it delivered by Christmas (if Aus post plays the game!) and get 15% off too. Click this LINK and use 15-OFF, what's even better is FREE DELIVERY too! Thanks, Monty!
So, which one of the delicious Mont wines did we pair with this lamb backstrap, pumpkin & pistachio dukkah recipe?? His cracking Yarra Valley Syrah. Coming in at $29 and you can avail of the 15% off with free shipping too. A classic pairing - Aussie lamb and Aussie Syrah. The wine, while youthful is drinking great after a quick decant. It's savoury in flavour with great fruit coming through too. Plums, raspberries & strawberries alongside heather, vanilla & nice spicy oak. Smooth tannins, juicy acidity and good length.
That's my "technical" review but my honest review is - it's a drinker! Do yourself a favour and pick up a 6pck, yeah it will keep for a few years in the cellar but its one that a good decant will help and make you and your guests reach for bottle number 2 and probably 3! With the lamb, everything works in harmony so alongside buying the wine let's not forget to cook up my recipe too 😉
ALTERNATIVE LAMB RECIPES
Made my tasty lamb backstrap, pumpkin & pistachio dukkah dish but are keen to cook more lamb dishes? Check out these delicious recipes below and don't forget to tag me on Instagram too!
Happy Cooking & Happy Eating Friends!
- 4 lamb backstrap / lamb loin 250g each
- 4 tbsp goats curd
- 100 g pumpkin
- 25 g pistachios
- 10 g sesame seeds
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 pinch salt
- 400 g pumpkin
- 40 g cherrywood chips
- 1 knob butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
- 150 g raisins
- 100 g sugar
- 240 ml white vinegar
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- Chopping board
- Chef Knives
- frying pan x 2
- BBQ or oven
- airtight container
- Place raisins in a sterile airtight container
- Put vinegar, sugar & chili in a saucepan & heat until sugar has dissolved
- Pour vinegar mixture over raisins, allow to cool, cover and store in the fridge
- Pickled raisins will (potentially) last in the fridge for a couple of months!
- Cut pumpkin into 1 inch wedges, drizzle with oil and season with salt
- If using cherrywood, place the chips into tinfoil and fold up into a parcel. Using a knife stab a few holes to allow the smoke to release and place above the heat source of you BBQ
- Cook pumpkin @ 150c on BBQ on indirect heat for 45mins – 1 hour until soft enough that you can stab a knife through easily
- Peel the skin away and place in a blender with a knob of butter and blend until smooth
- Pass the puree through a sieve to remove any remaining lumps
- If you don’t have a bbq or don’t want to smoke the pumpkin roast it on a rack in the oven instead
- Roughly chop the pistachios
- Toast the cumin, coriander, sesame seeds and salt lightly in a frying pan on low heat for a minute
- Stir in the pistachios and allow to cool
- Chop the 100g of squash into small 1cm cubes
- While the lamb is resting fry the cubes in 1 tbsp olive oil and pinch of salt for 2-3 minutes until golden in colour
- Remove lamb from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to cooking
- Rub in olive oil and season the lamb generously with salt
- Cook on medium to high heat in a frying pan for 4 minutes, flip and cook for a further 3 minutes or until lamb has an internal temp of 52c. Add a knob of butter and baste the butter over lamb for 30 seconds
- Allow lamb to rest on a wire rack for 6-8 minutes before carving
- If cooking lamb on BBQ then cook @ 200c for 3 minutes per side or until lamb has a 52c internal temp
- Place a spoon of warm puree on one side of the plate and using a spatula (or spoon) brush the puree away from your
- Drizzle some pistachio dukkah on the plate along with some sprinkled pickled raisins (about 1 tsp of each)
- Cut the lamb into 4 pieces and place them in the center of the plate alongside the puree
- Place “blobs” of goats curd next to the lamb and sprinkle some squash cubes around the plate too
- this dish can be made with any cut of lamb so you could butterfly a leg and serve it family-style/more rustic
- the pickled raisins & dukkah are best made in advance and will keep if stored in an airtight container in the fridge & cupboard
- the puree can also be made in advance and heated in a saucepan/microwave when ready to serve – making this dish surprisingly easy to serve at a dinner party
- if you can’t get goats curd then mix 3 tbsp goats cheese with 1 tbsp heavy cream until smooth
- resting the meat is CRUCIAL to success. If you slice the meat too soon all the juices will spill out onto your chopping board/plate
- if you don’t have a BBQ or cherrywood chips you can easily roast the squash in the oven, I like to roast mine in larger pieces as it means cooking it slower and bringing out some natural sugars. Cut into smaller chunks to speed up the cooking time