Roast lamb with olive, anchovy, & caper sauce

It's best to start this recipe the day before. It's not difficult, but it requires some time for the sauce to reduce and the lamb to marinate. Use a thermometer to take the guesswork out of roasting the lamb. In fact, it makes cooking any meat a breeze.


  • 6 x 160g trimmed double-bone lamb cutlets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled, roughly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra to garnish
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • For the sauce
  • 1kg meaty lamb bones
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 small brown onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 litres fresh chicken stock (check gluten-free if required)
  • 20 cloves garlic
  • Bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf)
  • 1/3 cup pitted oil-cured black olives, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp salted baby capers, rinsed well, roughly chopped
  • 2 Ortiz anchovy fillets (or your favourite brand), finely chopped
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar


Rub lamb cutlets with olive oil, then press garlic, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves into the lamb flesh. Marinate overnight, then discard herbs and garlic.

Roast lamb bones at 200C for about 40 minutes, turning once, or until well browned on both sides.

Heat oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add carrot, celery and onion, cook for about 10 minutes, or until translucent, stirring frequently.

Add roasted lamb bones to pan, with wine, stock, garlic and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil, skimming well, then reduce heat and gently simmer for about 2 hours.

Strain sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into another saucepan and reduce over very low heat until measuring about 350ml – this will take about 2 hours. Strain through muslin cloth into a clean saucepan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 180C. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Place an ovenproof pan on the stove top over a high flame. Seal lamb pieces on both sides, then place in oven. Roast until core temperature reaches 58°C when checked with a thermometer (about 10-15 minutes). Remove from oven, cover with foil and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.

Heat the sauce and stir in olives, capers, anchovies and vinegar. Plate each lamb cutlet with generous spoonfuls of the sauce, garnish with fresh thyme.

NOTES: Want something to drink?

This dish calls for a big, rustic red! Try the 2006 Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez El Vinculo, made from grapes grown in the windmill village of Camp de Criptana. It has velvety fruit, firm tannins and an earthy minerality to cut through the richness of the lamb.

First published in the Good Weekend.

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