CRAVEN College’s Jamie Fletcher provides another of his favourite recipes. He has more than 10 years’ experience working in bars and restaurants, including a 15-month stint as a sous-chef in the south of France

TRADITIONALLY we have eaten lamb on Easter Sunday but for those of us without a houseful to feed, roasting a whole leg or shoulder of lamb can feel like an indulgence and can be expensive.

However, lamb neck fillet is an under-appreciated cut which is flavoursome and tender when cooked well. The lamb fillet for this dish came from Sutcliffe’s butchers in Skipton but most decent butchers (and increasingly some supermarkets) will sell lamb neck fillet.

The potato gratin can be cooked in advance and left covered for an hour or so as it keeps its heat well. It can also be reheated without losing much of its deliciousness.

The mild spring has meant that many vegetables are now available much earlier this year so please serve this dish with whatever you prefer. Asparagus would be the ideal accompaniment but Easter is a little early this year to really get the English crop - our asparagus harvest traditionally starts on St George's Day, April 23.



Two neck of lamb fillets about 200g each

Some olive oil

A sprig of rosemary

1 garlic clove, squashed

Potato gratin:

500g floury potatoes

25g butter

400ml cream (or 200ml cream mixed with 200ml milk)

1 garlic clove, squashed


Spring vegetables such as glazed carrots or purple sprouting broccoli.


Rub the lamb fillets with the olive oil, garlic and rosemary needles and place in a dish. Leave for a few hours to marinate.

Preheat the oven to Gas 4 or 180 degrees C. Peel the potatoes and slice thinly with a knife or a mandoline. Crush the garlic clove. Smear the butter generously over a gratin dish. Layer the sliced potatoes in the dish ensuring they are spread out evenly.

In a saucepan, heat the cream (or cream/milk mixture) and garlic together until hot but not boiling. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the layered potato, dot the top with butter and put in the oven. It should be ready in around 90 minutes - but you can check after an hour. Once cooked, remove the potatoes from the oven and turn the temperature up to Gas 6 / 220 degrees C.

Get a heavy pan and place on a high heat for a minute - you're going to sear the lamb so you want it to get really hot. Meanwhile remove the neck fillets from the marinade and remove any clinging rosemary needles.

Once the pan is smoking hot, put in the lamb fillets and sear all over for a minute or so each side. Remove the pan from the heat and place into the oven to finish roasting for another five to eight minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillets and how pink you like the meat. Five minutes should give a pink, almost bloody fillet, eight minutes pretty much cooked through. Don't roast for any longer than this as neck fillet can become tough - it needs either a short hot roast or long slow cooking to really be at its best.

Serve cut into thick slices with a huge wedge of potato gratin.