Lamb, Pepper & Artichoke Sauté

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Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

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In an ideal world you would make this dish with fresh young artichokes, but it is still very good using premium-quality tinned artichokes, carciofi alla Romana (for how to prepare fresh baby artichokes). The best kind of olives to use are the Greek ones you buy salted and partly dried in jars. The polenta croûtes are made here with rocket, but you could substitute spinach.


  • 2 red sweet peppers
  • 2 yellow sweet peppers
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus more for greasing and frying
  • 24 stoned black olives
  • 8 cooked fresh or tinned baby artichokes
  • 12 mint leaves
  • ½ lemon
  • 675 g/ lb lamb neck fillet
  • salt and pepper

For the Polenta Croutes

  • 225 g/8 oz rocket
  • ½ packet (225 g/8 oz) of instant polenta
  • 30 g/1 oz butter
  • ½ nutmeg

For the Gravy

  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • about 450 g/1 lb bones from neck of the lamb, plus other lamb bones from your butcher, chopped into 5 cm/2 in pieces
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 250 ml/8 fl oz dry white wine
  • 250 ml/8 fl oz passata



First make the polenta croûtes: blanch the rocket for 30 seconds in a large pan of boiling salted water and refresh in cold water. Drain, squeeze out residual water and reserve.

Make the polenta according to the packet instructions, adding the butter, salt, pepper and grated nutmeg at the end. Chop the rocket and stir it in. Pour and spoon into an oiled Swiss roll tin.

Grill the sweet peppers, turning until charred and blistered. Put into a bowl and cover. Leave for 5 minutes, remove and peel. Cut in halves and deseed, then cut into 2.5 cm/1 in squares. Put into a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Stir in the olives.

Drain the artichokes, rinse under cold running water, cut in half lengthwise and add to the peppers and olives. Shred the mint and add this.

Cut the lamb across into 16 medallions. Toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the juice from the lemon half and salt and pepper. Marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/gas8.

Prepare the gravy: peel and coarsely chop the onion and carrot. In a roasting tin, brown them in the olive oil over a high heat. Trim any excess fat off the bones, add to the tin and roast for 20 minutes.

Put the bones and vegetables into a saucepan. Deglaze the roasting tin with 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar and scrape into the saucepan. Add the sugar and sauté over a high heat to caramelize.

Pour over the wine and passata and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, skim, then continue boiling and reduce to about 575 ml/ 1pt. Strain through a sieve and reserve.


In a large frying pan over a medium heat, brown the lamb thoroughly, giving the medallions 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a hot serving dish and put in a low oven to keep warm.

Using a 5 cm/2 in pastry cutter, cut out rounds from the polenta and fry them for a few minutes on each side to brown adding a little oil, if necessary. Put in the oven with the lamb.

Turn up the heat under the frying pan, add a few tablespoons of gravy and deglaze the pan. Then add the rest of the gravy and boil to reduce by half. Add the peppers, artichokes, olives and the mint. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.


Put a polenta croûte in the middle of each plate and arrange 4 medallions around it. Pour around the gravy.

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