This is a relatively recent addition to the family repertoire – a recipe sourced from Olive Magazine when we were wondering what to do with a large basket of broad beans from the garden at Garde. Fresh broad beans are ideal – they’re usually in season from late June to mid-September – but frozen work equally well and will save you some podding time. It is admittedly a labour-intensive meal to produce and it requires a certain amount of fore-planning because the meat is best if left to marinate overnight. We have found Alexa’s ‘quick-fire quiz’ a stimulating distraction to offset the monotony of double-podding the beans: in fact, Louis and I achieved our best ever score in summer 2020 during a nail-ripping hour of podding.
600g lamb neck fillets
½ tsp salt
flatbreads warmed, to serve (optional)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 cardamom pods
small bunch coriander, finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mild chilli powder
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tbsp olive oil
100g feta, crumbled
100ml natural yogurt
small handful chopped dill
BROAD BEAN SMASH
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
300g broad beans 300g, double podded (start with 500g of podded, for which you’ll need 1.5kg fresh broad beans in their pod)
handful chopped mint, plus a few leaves to serve
handful, chopped dill, plus a few leaves to serve
1. To make the marinade, heat a small frying pan and toast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and cardamom pods for a few minutes until fragrant. Cool, then grind to a powder in a spice grinder or using a pestle and mortar. Mix in a bowl with the other marinade ingredients and season. Put the lamb neck fillets in a baking dish, pour over the marinade and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
2. To make the feta cream put the feta, yogurt and dill in a small food processor. Whizz until smooth, then tip into a bowl.
3. Take the lamb out of the fridge about an hour before you want to cook it and season with ½ tsp salt. Heat the oven to 140C (fan), 160C/gas 3. Cover the baking dish with a double layer of foil and cook for 2½–2¾ hours or until the lamb is crusted and golden. Take out and rest while you make the broad bean smash.
4. Cook the podded broad beans (fresh or frozen) in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and refresh with cold water to make them cool enough to handle. Grit your teeth and set to work popping the beans out of their thick, leathery skins by squeezing gently.
5. To make the smash, heat the olive oil in a pan. Cook the garlic for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant, then tip in the broad beans. Stir until well coated, then season. Use a masher to roughly crush most, but not all, of the beans. Season and stir in the chopped mint and dill.
6. Divide the smash between plates. Pull the lamb neck into chunks and toss in any cooking juices, then pile on top of the beans. Sprinkle with more dill and mint leaves, then serve warm with the feta cream.