Making a croquette from lamb sounds a bit unusual, but using slow braised neck and all of its gelatinous wonderment makes such a surprise when you crack through the golden crust! Paired with a salsa verde, it’s piquant-licious; I usually pair this croquette with a grilled or seared tender cut of lamb, such as the cutlet, loin or rump. "This is a dish of beautiful contrasts; the rich and gelatinous lamb with the piquancy of the lemon, capers and parsley in the salsa verde. A mouthful of hot crispy croquette with a dollop of salsa verde needs a wine that can cut through the fat and also resonate with the bright and citrus-y accompaniment. Modern Australian Chardonnay can do just this. With emphasis on clean acid lines, light lemony flavours and a mineral background, it has the weight to match the flavours and the acid to clean to palate." - Dan Coward
- 40 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 3 lamb necks, bone in, approximately 1.2 kg in total (ask your butcher to trim the fat off them for you)
- 1 large onion, peeled, chopped coarsely
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, chopped coarsely
- 2 sticks celery, chopped coarsely
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
- 600 ml white wine
- 1litre brown beef (or chicken) stock
- 1 bay leaf
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, plus another sprig for combining into finished mix
- plain flour
- 1 egg and some milk for egg wash
- oil, for frying
- 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cornichons (tiny gherkins)
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1 anchovy
- 1 small lemon, juiced
- ½ cup (firmly packed) Italian parsley leaves, washed, chopped finely
- little freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink match Yabby Lake Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2010, Mornington Peninsula, Vic
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or casserole. Place the lamb necks into the pan and brown on all sides. Remove necks and keep aside.
Add the onions, carrot, and celery, and lightly sauté until they are translucent. Add the garlic and sauté a further 2 minutes. Add the white wine and increase the heat to reduce by half.
Add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the lamb necks, bay leaf and one sprig of thyme. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Alternatively you could use a slow cooker on high for about 3–4 hours. It is ready when the lamb falls off the bone when prodded with your finger.
Allow to cool in the braising liquid for 30 minutes, then drain, straining the stock into a saucepan, discarding the vegetables and allowing the lamb to drain. Place the stock over a high heat, skimming regularly and reduce until it is barely a cup of clean thick stock. Set aside to cool.
While stock is reducing, carefully peel the lamb neck off the bone, placing the flesh into a large bowl. You should have approximately 350 g of meat. Season well with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with thyme leaves. When cool, add the heavily reduced stock and mix well.
To form the croquettes, place a large sheet of cling film, two layers thick onto a clean benchtop. Spoon the croquette mix out onto the cling film, approximately 3–4 cm in diameter (each log should be approximately 250 g each). Fold the cling film over the top of the mix, being careful not to capture any air bubbles under the wrap, and then roll the bundle towards you, gathering the ends tightly. Holding the ends tightly, give a roll or two of the bundle on the benchtop, which will tighten the "sausage".
Place on a tray in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or overnight until the sausage has set firmly.
Once set, cut the croquettes into 6 cm long cylinders, crumb with flour, egg mix and breadcrumbs. Repeat the bread crumbing procedure so they have been bread crumbed twice and deep fry at 180°C until golden brown (about 2 minutes). Drain the croquettes, and place into a 180°C oven for a further 5 minutes to heat through. Serve with a pinch of sea salt and a dob of sauce vert.
To make the sauce vert, combine all the ingredients together in the bowl of a food processor, and process until a coarse paste. Check seasoning and keep in refrigerator.