Yoghurt-coated lamb steaks with rosemary & za’atar

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Since deciding to live a slightly healthier life last year I’ve cut back on my intake of red meat, pasta, rice, cheese and bread. By no means do I eliminate these, but I definitely find I feel better and lighter for having only a little of these foods and not that often.

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I do believe that a little bit of everything does contribute to a good, well-rounded diet though and so when I eat them I of course want to make the most of them. On deciding it was right about time to eat some delicious lamb, my all-time favourite meat, I knew I’d bust out the yoghurt-covered steak technique.

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If you haven’t tried cooking lamb in this way I really suggest you give it a go. The sweet meat and slightly bitter greek yoghurt work so well together and it all crusts up beautifully. Plus, the yoghurt becomes a vehicle for transferring all kinds of flavours into your meat. In this recipe I’ve added za’atar, pul biber, rosemary and garlic, but I’ve previously tried fennel and turmeric (also delicious) as recommended by Mr Nigel Slater.

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Note this recipe gives you a generous amount of marinade: you could probably marinade 4 lamb steaks in this quantity if you needed to, but I wouldn’t suggest halving it for two as blending becomes difficult with such a small quantity!

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You will need:

170g natural greek yoghurt

Leaves from 1 sprig rosemary

1 tspn (pul biber) chile flakes

1 tspn za’atar

1 garlic clove

Salt, pepper

1 tbspn groundnut oil

2 organic lamb steaks

Smoked salt, to serve

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Method: 

1 – Blend the yoghurt, garlic, chile flakes, rosemary, za’atar and a little salt and pepper together with 2 tbspns water to loosen

2 – Massage the marinade into the lamb steaks and refrigerate for at least a few hours

3 – About 45 minutes before you want to eat, remove the lamb steaks from the fridge to come up to room temperature. Heat the groundnut oil in a frying pan and when it’s nice and hot add the lamb (ensure quite a lot of the marinade goes with it!)

4 – Leave the lamb to cook for about 2 minutes on each side without otherwise touching or moving the pan. You’ll need to adjust the timing here according to how you like your meat and how thick your steaks are. I think lamb is best served medium

5 – Once cooked to your liking remove the lamb from the pan and leave to rest on a plate (cover the plate over in tin foil to keep in heat) for 5 minutes before serving sprinkled with smoked salt

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6 thoughts on “Yoghurt-coated lamb steaks with rosemary & za’atar

  1. Is there a reason why you didn’t grill the lamb? I don’t know about the temperature required to prepare the yogurt, but I imagine I can grill the lamb and fry the yogurt, only to immerse the meat later before sending both into an oven, because the yogurt still looks and probably feels detached from the lamb in your serving. So, it probably makes little difference to prepare them separately. It’s kind of wasteful to fry or pan fry something like lamb. I know it looks the same at the end, but probably won’t taste the same, unless you have secrets too good to be shared.

    1. I’ve read and re-read this comment and still can’t figure out what you mean I’m afraid! The yoghurt isn’t fried separately from the lamb. I’m not sure why anyone would suggest frying yoghurt and then using it to coat lamb to send into an oven. That’s bizarre!
      The yoghurt clings to the lamb nicely when pan fried. I guess you could try grilling the whole thing but I don’t think the yoghurt would seal into the flesh the same way. Pan fried lamb like this is yummy, reminiscent of pan fried steak. Definitely not wasteful in my opinion!

      1. Oh, I see. You are trying to heat the yogurt in the oil, which helps with sealing it onto the lamb piece. That’s something you can’t do with grills. Ok, I am going to order one at a Greek restaurant just to see how it tastes. I don’t recall anything like this though. It could be a home dish or maybe I did’t pay enough attention. Thanks for sharing!

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