James Street Recipes: Lamb chops with sage butter and lamb with baby gem and fregola peas

Lamb chops with sage
Lamb chops with sage

NORTHERN Ireland celebrated the Year of Food and Drink in 2016, which recognised the fantastic bars, restaurants and local producers in the region.

With each month, came a new celebration: the month of August was a particular favourite of mine, as it celebrated and acknowledged the great meat producers we have here in Northern Ireland.

We are very blessed that in our country, restaurants work closely with renowned local butchers, so this week's recipes are of course two hearty meat dishes.

First, we have lamb chops with sage butter, and second, we have lamb with baby gem – a delicious light dish, perfect for a family Sunday lunch.

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Niall McKenna
Niall McKenna



  • 8 lamb chops
  • 1 large knob butter
  • 8 sage leaves


To begin, season the lamb chops with salt and pepper and seal them in a hot pan, fatty edge down. Cook for five minutes in order to render the fat.

Once the fat is rendered, cook on each side for up to three minutes, until each chop is browned.

Next, drain the fat from the pan, reduce the heat and add the butter to the pan.

Once the butter is melted and foaming, add in the sage leaves, cooking them with the chops for one minute.

To serve, place the lamb chops on a plate, dressing the dish with a sage leaf on top. Lastly, spoon the melted butter over the lamb chops.


Rump of lamb with baby gem and fregola peas
Rump of lamb with baby gem and fregola peas


  • Three rumps of lamb
  • Three baby gem lettuces, halved
  • 100g fresh or frozen peas
  • 100g fregola pasta
  • 12 button onions, skin on
  • 5 mint leaves
  • 10g butter
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper


Start by cooking off the pasta in salted, boiling water and cook for a maximum of five minutes, until al dente.

Remove the pasta from the water and refresh under cool water. Drain the pasta again and sprinkle with a dash of olive oil. Leave the pasta to the side.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C to cook the onions (which are to be placed on a roasting tray) in the oven for 20-minutes until soft, but not mushy. Once cooked, remove from the oven, leave to cool and proceed by peeling off the onion skin.

Before continuing, turn the oven up to 220C to cook the lamb.

Cut the baby gem in half, leaving the core intact and wash gently under the tap, being careful not to separate any leaves that drop off. Slice thinly in preparation to add to the peas later.

Before cooking the lamb, season it with salt and pepper. Place the rumps onto a hot pan to brown and render down the fat. Ensure that each side develops a warm colour of brown. It is worth noting that if the rump of lamb is too fatty, it is important to trim some of the fat off before cooking.

Once coloured, place on a roasting tray and cook for 12-minutes in the preheated oven. Then, remove the lamb from the oven and cover in tin foil, letting the meat rest for five minutes.

In the same pan you coloured the lamb, remove excess lamb juice and proceed to cook the baby gem by adding half of the butter and letting it melt. Place the baby gem, cut side down, until it colours gently. Remove from the pan and leave to one side.

Now add the peas, pasta and onion to the pan, along with the mint leaves and remaining butter. Cook all together until warm and season with salt and pepper.

Lastly, carve the lamb into half inch slices and place a generous spoonful of the peas and pasta mix onto the bottom of the plate. Place the lamb on top and add one half of the cooked baby gem. If there is any juice left in the roasting tray, spoon it over the dish as a finishing touch.