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Best ways to cook your Scotch Lamb this autumn

Best ways to cook your Scotch Lamb this autumn

Carina Contini's Spiced Rack of Lamb

Tom Kitchin, Dominic Jack, Fred Berkmiller and Carina Contini share their favourite Scotch Lamb recipes

On a cold autumnal day, there's nothing better than a good roast to warm your bones. Lamb is often thought of as a dish best enjoyed in spring, but the meat is much more flavoursome and tender if it's left until after summer. Lamb that's born and reared on Scottish farms is flavoured by the land around it, which gives it a remarkable taste. To enjoy it at its best, we've called on some of Edinburgh's best chefs to give us inspiration for cooking Scotch Lamb this autumn.

Spiced Rack of Scotch Lamb with Watercress and Orange Salad – Carina Contini

Scottish Highland, Shetland or Borders lamb is a Sunday treat in our house. I prefer to eat lamb slightly later in the year so the flavour is a little deeper and the legs just slightly bigger. The classic marriage of garlic and rosemary with lamb will never go wrong, but this recipe takes the flavours to a whole new level.

Serves 4

2 racks of 6 ribs of lamb, about 500g each
2 limes, halved, to serve

300g natural yogurt
1 tbsp light clover or acacia honey
2 tbsp olive oil
100g coriander leaves
100g rocket
3 sprigs of wild garlic
75g fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 red chillis, de-seeded
1 tsp salt

First make the marinade. Blend all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pour half over the lamb and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Keep the rest in the fridge.

Remove the lamb from the marinade and leave to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Heat a griddle pan over a medium to hot heat. Add the lamb, skin side down and sear until golden and caramelised. Turn the lamb over and cook on the other side until the meat is coloured all over.

Transfer to a roasting tray and roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. The lamb will be medium rare. Cook for longer if you prefer the meat to be less pink. Remove from the oven, leave to rest for 5 minutes, then cut into chops. Serve accompanied by the remaining chilled marinade and some lime halves.

Watercress and Orange Salad:
200g watercress leaves
2 large blood oranges, skin and pith removed and cut into 0.5cm slices
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tsp sumac

100g mint leaves
100g coriander leaves
200ml Greek yoghurt
Juice of 1 unwaxed lime
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

First make the dressing. Blend together all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Season to taste.

Arrange the watercress around the edge of a large platter. Place the slices of orange in the middle and sprinkle with the spring onions. Season with a little salt, then spoon the dressing generously over the salad. Finally sprinkle with the sumac.

Suggested by Carina Contini of Contini's, Cannonball and The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant

Braised Scotch Lamb Shanks with Cumin and Flageolet Beans – Tom Kitchin

What makes lamb that is born, reared and slaughtered in Scotland so special, is the quality of our air, water and land. Autumn lamb is such a wonderfully versatile ingredient and what I relish is using every part of the product. Lamb shanks are one of the less expensive cuts of lamb, but they can be incredibly flavoursome if they are cooked slowly for a warming autumn stew.

Serves 4

4 lamb shanks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for cooking
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons tomato purée
300ml white wine
500g chopped tomatoes (full flavoured fresh or tinned)
500ml lamb stock or chicken stock
400g tin of flageolet beans, drained (or cooked dried beans)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Bouquet garni
2 leeks, washed
Handful of parsley sprigs
Handful of thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf

Heat the oven to 160°C/Gas 2–3. Season the lamb shanks well with salt and pepper. Heat a deep heavy-based ovenproof sauté pan (or flameproof casserole) over a medium to high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Brown the lamb shanks in the pan to colour all over. Place the browned shanks on a plate on the side.

Return the pan to a medium-low heat and add a little more oil if needed, followed by the onion, sliced fennel, garlic, fennel seeds and ground cumin. Make the bouquet garni by laying one leek leaf flat on a board, putting the herb sprigs on top and covering with the other leek leaf. Tie with the kitchen string to secure and add to the pan. Sweat gently for 3–4 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Pour in the white wine and allow it to bubble and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil, then stir in the flageolet beans. Replace the lamb shanks in the pan, immersing them in the tomato mixture.

Put a lid on the pan and place in the oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours until the meat is very soft and starting to fall from the bone. Place a lamb shank in each bowl and spoon on the tomato and flageolet bean mixture. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.

Suggested by Tom Kitchin of The Kitchin

Flank of Blackface Scotch Lamb, served Ottoman Style – Dominic Jack

Best ways to cook your Scotch Lamb this autumn

Autumn lamb tends to have a more intense flavour, so it works well with strong seasonal flavours and spices such as aubergine, cumin and coriander. I'm constantly inspired by the produce I can get my hands on here in Scotland, but I'm also influenced by the cooking techniques and flavour combinations from my training and travels. This dish is inspired by Turkish cooking, which is often very vibrant and aromatic. The flank, or apron as it's sometimes known, can be a really tasty and tender cut if it's braised carefully and slowly in herbs and vegetables to bring out the delicious flavours of the meat.

Serves 4

Haricot purée:
200g Haricot Beans
1/2 carrot cut length ways
1/4 onion
1 celery stick
1 clove garlic cut in half
50ml white wine
2ltr chicken stock

Soak 200g of haricot beans in cold water overnight. In a heavy bottomed pan, place the carrot, onion, celery and garlic until caramelised. Add the haricot beans and white wine. Reduce the white wine until dry and then cover the beans with chicken stock. Keep covered with the chicken stock until the beans are cooked. Strain the beans in a colander and retain the liquid.

Remove the vegetables and put 50g of the beans to one side to be used later for the garnish. Place the remaining beans in a blender and blend until smooth – adding some of the liquid if required. Pass through a drum sieve.

Lamb flank:
2 lamb flanks, boned
1 carrot cut into large pieces
1 onion cut into large pieces
1 celery stick cut into large pieces
10g toasted cumin seeds
10g toasted fennel seeds
2ltr lamb stock
50g diced apricot
5g cumin powder
200g crepinette
Sea salt

Sear each side of the flank and place to one side. Gently sweat the carrot, onion and celery in a pot and add in the flank, toasted cumin seeds and toasted fennel seeds. Cover with lamb stock and braise gently until cooked (approximately three hours).

When cooked, remove the flank and pass the stock through a sieve. Reduce the stock to a sauce like consistency while preparing the flank – pick the meat removing all the sinew and fat. Mix the meat with the reduced sauce, diced dried apricot, cumin powder and salt. Place in a rectangular terrine mould and press down. Allow to set in the fridge overnight.

Cut into four even portions and generously warp in crepinette. Gently pan fry on each side until golden brown. Place in the oven at 180°C for approximately 15 minutes

Haricot ragout:
10ml chicken stock
10g butter
5ml sherry vinegar
Haricot beans (cooked beans set aside from earlier)
50g dried apricots
10g chopped coriander

Heat the chicken stock and add the butter and sherry vinegar. Add in the beans, apricot and coriander.

Aubergine tempura:
1 aubergine
100g tempura flour
5g cumin powder
10g water
5g chopped coriander
1 tsp natural yoghurt

Slice the aubergine into 2cm slices – lightly salt to draw out the moisture. Mix the tempura flour with cumin powder and slowly add water until the batter is coating consistency.

Flour the aubergine and shake off any excess flour before covering in the tempura batter. Deep fry at 180°C until crispy and place on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Place a teaspoon of natural yoghurt on top of the aubergine tempura and sprinkle with chopped coriander and cumin powder.

To serve:
Heat the purée and spoon onto the plate. Place the haricot bean ragout on top of the purée, followed by the lamb flank. Finally, place the aubergine tempura on the lamb and serve.

Suggested by Dominic Jack of Castle Terrace

Roulade d'agneau des Shetlands, rognons blanc et langues – Fred Berkmiller

We work with the seasons to create our menus, sourcing the best local and seasonal produce around. With autumn finally upon us, there is nothing better than a hearty lamb dish with a glass of red to warm your belly. For this recipe, I have used Briggs Shetland Lamb. We buy them weekly from September up until about Christmas time.

Serves 4–6

2 x lamb belly
300g minced lamb shoulder
4 lamb tongues
4 lamb testicles (white kidneys)
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 bouquet garni
Fresh thyme and fresh rosemary
Half a litre of stock (chicken, lamb or beef)
Butter and olive oil
1 tsp of Espelette chilli powder
Fresh parsley and coriander, chopped

Clean and rinse the tongues under running water with a dash of vinegar. Place them in a large pan of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 40 minutes or until soft, and place a knife inside to check they're cooked. You want them soft but not overcooked as they'll finish cooking with the lamb. When ready, cool under running cold water and peel the skin off.

Peel, wash and prepare all of your vegetables and put to one side.The day before cooking, mix the lamb mince with the Espelette pepper, garlic, fresh thyme, rosemary, onion and carrot and marinate overnight in the fridge.

Flatten the belly, put your mince on top and spread over to an even thickness, then roll the belly into a sausage shape. Roll into a pig's caul and string it like a roast with butcher string. In a heated cast iron pan, sear the belly on a medium heat until golden all over, add in the diced carrot and onions, crushed garlic and bouquet garni.

Pour over the stock and cook in the oven for 40 minutes at 180°C. When the roulade is cooked, set aside, pass the stock through a sieve and reduce if needed. Put the roulade back in having discarded the string. While your dish finishes cooking, pan fry your lamb kidneys for 3–4 minutes in olive oil and butter, then add to your dish.

Add in the tongues, chopped parsley, coriander and a bit more Espelette pepper if needed. Finish with a couple of knobs of butter to enrich the sauce, taste and season again if needed.

Put more Espelette purée on the table along with some harissa and a glass of light red wine. Bon Appétit.

Suggested by Fred Berkmiller of L'Escargot Bleu, L'Escargot Blanc and Bar à Vin

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