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MasterChef New Zealand


Lamb Back Strap

Vicki Davison

Vicki Davison

Lamb Back Strap coated in a fresh herbed Cheese baked in Filo Pastry
Vicki Davison

Preparation Time: 40 Minutes
Cooking Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 2

1 litre blue top milk
1 cup buttermilk
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp mint, chopped
1 tsp blue cheese
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 1/2cm finger of ginger, finely grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lamb backstrap
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 sheets of filo pastry
1 tbsp butter, melted

1/3 cup peas
1/4 cup broadbeans
olive oil
handful of mint

Balsamic Reduction
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
10g butter

1. Preheat oven to 180C. To make the cheese, heat the milk in a saucepan until it reaches 80C. Remove from the heat and add buttermilk and the lemon juice. Stir gently then let sit for 5 - 10 minutes. You should see the curds & whey separating. If this has not happened add a little more lemon juice. Place a piece of cheese cloth or muslin over a sieve and strain the cheese through the cloth so you are only left with the curds. Squeeze the cloth until all the liquid is gone and you are left with a soft white cheese.

2. Combine chopped mint, blue cheese, garlic and ginger in a bowl, then add to the freshly made cheese. Press into a ramekin, then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Place a medium sized frying pan over high heat, add a little olive oil and sear the lamb for two minutes on each side. Remove from heat to rest and cool down a little.


4. Place one sheet of filo pastry on a clean dry surface. Using a pastry brush coat sheet lightly with melted butter then lay the second sheet on top of the first one. Continue to do this with all four sheets of filo pastry. Coat the top sheet with melted butter.

5. To assemble the filo, remove the cheese from the fridge and place half the cheese on the filo. This is to go at the end closest to you in the centre, with enough filo showing nearest to you to overlap the lamb. Place the lamb back strap on top of the cheese then coat with remaining cheese. Fold the end of the filo nearest to you over the top of the lamb then fold over the sides encasing the lamb in an envelope. Brush the filo with a little more melted butter. Roll the lamb encased in the filo over away from you until you are left with a large cigar shape. Brush the end of the filo with a little more melted butter to ensure it seals correctly. Brush the top of the filo parcel with butter. Place on a roasting tray and bake in the oven for 18 - 20 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and rest for 8 - 10 minutes.

6. To make the puree, bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil and place the peas and broad beans in boiling water, return the water to boiling point then boil for five minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Peel the broad beans by pinching a small hole in the skin of each one and gently squeezing. Discard the skins. Place the peas and pealed broad beans in a food processor with mint, olive oil, salt and pepper. Process until mixture is a smooth creamy consistency. Set aside.

7. To make the balsamic reduction, place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil mixture until it has reduced by half. Remove from heat, add honey and butter, stir until butter has melted and mixture resembles a thick glossy sauce.

8. To serve, drizzle a spoonful of balsamic reduction in the centre of the plate. Place the pea puree in the centre of the balsamic reduction and level out a little. Make sure you can see the balsamic reduction around the edges of the puree. Using a sharp serrated knife cut the filo through the middle on an angle. Place half of the filo on the puree and stand the other half up against the first piece so the lovely pink colour of the lamb and the freshly made cheese is on show.

Please note - this recipe is untested in the MasterChef kitchen.