Wild garlic is an amazing food for all to forage. You will find it abundantly in Herefordshire from early April in fields and woodlands. It’s a food that should be used at every opportunity in soups and salads, and is especially good when wilted down in heaps of butter with free-range poached eggs (a personal favourite).
In celebration of wild garlic season, I’ve put together a bangin' recipe, Merguez Spiced Lamb Wrap, that’s great for sharing whilst huddled around the dining room table. It’s simple, yet delicious and can be made well in advance for ease.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED...
• 1.5 kg Lamb Shoulder
• ½ tbsp Cumin Seeds
• ½ tbsp Coriander Seeds
• ½ tbsp Fennel Seeds
• ½ tbsp Pepper Corns
• ½ Cinnamon Stick
• 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
• 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
• 2 tbsp Salt
• 4 Cloves Garlic
• 1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary
• Water to cover
• 1 Head Celeriac, cut into very thin matchsticks, or grated
• 2 Cucumbers grated, squeeze + discard excess liquid
• 200g Yogurt, thick
• 200g Mayonnaise (see recipe below)
• 2 Clove Garlic, finely grated
• 40ml White Wine Vinegar
• 10g Caster Sugar
½ Bunch of Mint, finally sliced
• Salt, to taste
• 6 Egg Yolks
• 60g English Mustard
• 50g White Wine Vinegar
• 18g Sugar
• 15g Cornish Sea Salt
• 1L Light Rapeseed Oil
• 50 -100ml Water
PICKLED ONIONS + PEPPERS
• 3 Red Peppers, halved + de-seeded
• 3 Red Onions, peeled + sliced
• 500ml Red Wine Vinegar
• 330g Caster Sugar
• 2 Cloves Garlic
• 2 Sprigs Rosemary
• 100ml Red Wine Vinegar
WILD GARLIC PESTO
• 300g Wild Garlic, blanched
• 1 Bunch Coriander
• 50g Parmesan, grated
• 20g Capers, drained
1 Clove Garlic, finely grated
1 Lemon, juiced
• 1 Anchovy fillet
• 3ooml Rapeseed Oil, you can substitute it for olive oil
Toast whole spices together in a dry pan. When golden brown, whizz them together in a coffee grinder with cinnamon stick, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, salt, garlic and rosemary.
In a small bowl, mix together the spice mixture with enough olive oil to make a sticky but loose paste. Smother over the lamb and leave to marinade overnight.
Cover with water or stock and cook at 130c for about 5 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone. Strain of the liquid and place in a pan and reduce by two thirds. Pull the lamb, discarding any bones and sinew. Pour the reduced liquid over the pulled lamb, reheat when ready.
PICKLED PEPPERS + ONIONS
Bring the 500ml of red wine vinegar to a boil with sugar. Add the sliced onions and stir and leave to cool, I recommend leaving it over-night.
Coat the peppers with oil and roast on high heat until they begin to blister, should take about 15 minutes. Sprinkle over the garlic and rosemary for the final 5 minutes. Remove sprinkle with the red wine vinegar and cover until cool. When cool peel and slice.
Strain the onions and mix with the peppers.
Mix together the mayonnaise, yoghurt, seasoning, sugar, garlic and mint for celeriac slaw. Pour over the celeriac and cucumber. Mix thoroughly and season.
Combine egg yolks, vinegar, mustard, salt and sugar and blitz in a food processor for 1 minute. Very slowly add in 2/3 of the rapeseed oil. Add 50ml of the water followed by the remaining measure of oil. If the mayonnaise still seems thick, add a little more water.
Note: It's important that you add the oil in slowly to avoid the mix from splitting.
WILD GARLIC PESTO
Blitz all the ingredients except oil in a food processor until fine, slowly add the oil, adjust the acidity and seasoning to taste.
HOW TO SERVE...
Lay out the hot lamb, slaw, pickles + pesto. Serve with warm wraps or flat breads and toss in some fresh rocket before tucking in!