Recipe for coffee-rub Easter Sussex lamb

Former MasterChef: The Professionals winner Alex Webb has shared a recipe for his signature coffee rub.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 12:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st April 2021, 12:48 pm

Whilst lamb may be better associated with Wales and, further afield, New Zealand, Sussex also lays claim to being one of England’s best farming regions for the Easter favourite due to the perfect natural environment that has been farmed responsible for generations.

Southdown is a well-kept secret amongst the area’s chefs, restaurants and avid home cooks all on the lookout for top-quality local organic produce. As implied by the name, the Southdown breed grazes happily on the chalky ground of the South Downs and has flourished here for hundreds of years. 

MasterChef Champion Alex Webb has put together a perfect recipe to make the most of fresh Sussex lamb this Easter weekend - with a unique twist - thanks to the booming food trend of using coffee in savoury dishes. 

Lamb dish Pic: Vikki Lince

He said: “So many people consume coffee on a daily basis, but never like this - I’m a huge advocate of using coffee more in main dishes and starters as well as just for cakes and ice creams. 

“This is the perfect way to take your Easter cooking to the next level. Lamb is a famous Easter tradition, and the infusion of my signature coffee rub goes beautifully with wild garlic which is in season at the moment and available from most supermarkets or greengrocers - while the cassoulet is perfect for sharing on a nice big plate with your loved ones on a balmy spring evening, as the Rule of Six makes a return for outside areas.

“We are using Coffee Friend brand coffee as an alternative to a dry spice rub - but I’ve used its inherent bitterness to combine beautifully with the light and delicate tastes of garlic and rosemary, which are so regularly associated with lamb.

“Spring Sussex lamb is very light and tender, often with a milder flavour to traditional lamb. So coffee brings a wonderful depth of flavour, which will bring out an earthiness to the dish alongside the olive oil for extra freshness. “The more the lamb cooks, the more flavours you will taste in your coffee rub alongside the meat juices, garlic and rosemary - so I have devised something extra special to finish off your dish...

Alex

“Usually, you would finish off your meat with a little bit of salt as the flavours are all on the outside for when you carve - but I’ve devised a unique coffee salt mixture to really take the lamb the extra mile.

“All you do is mix some ground coffee with some fine sea salt and sprinkle it over your lamb, giving it a gorgeous colour and provide a different type of coffee flavour to your rub. Serve your lamb with the light sharing cassoulet and buttery asparagus for an Easter feast with a twist.”

The recipe:

Ingredients:

100g ground coffee

50ml olive oil

Garlic powder

Pinch of salt and pepper

500-800g Spring Sussex lamb shoulder

1 bunch asparagus

1 shallot – diced

2 sticks celery - sliced

1 carrot - diced

1 clove of garlic – chopped

100ml white wine

250g tin butter beans

300ml vegetable stock

200g diced butter

Sliced wild garlic

1 lemon – zest and juice

2 sprigs rosemary

2 sprigs thyme

300ml white wine

Method:

For the rub – take 100g ground coffee and mix together with garlic powder, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Take your lamb shoulder, score the fat and cover with the rub. Place two sprigs of rosemary, two sprigs of thyme and half a garlic bulb in the baking tray and place the lamb on top. Put into the oven for 20 minutes at 190degrees and pour in 200ml white wine. Turn down heat to 180degrees and cook for 30 minutes per 500g.

For the cassoulet – take the diced shallot, celery, carrot and garlic in a medium pan and sweat on a medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Then add 100ml white wine. Add drained butter beans and vegetable stock. Mix in the diced butter to the mixture until it turns creamy then add the sliced wild garlic, juice and lemon zest and season to taste.

Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes, drain then add butter and salt.

To serve – Remove lamb from the oven and rest for 10-15 minutes. Place the cassoulet into a large serving dish, slice the rested lamb, place the asparagus around the lamb and a few wild garlic leaves. 

To finish – mix half a teaspoon of coffee with some fine sea salt and sprinkle over the lamb