I don't usually do cheffy-style plating of my dishes at home; mostly because I'm not a chef, and I like to leave that sort of thing to the experts. Mine never look quite as good!
But I must have been inspired by a couple of dishes I've eaten recently at events, involving beetroot puree. It is such a pretty thing on a plate, with its gorgeous bright purple colour, and I love the earthy flavour. So I had a little play, and came up with this recipe for tonight's dinner. The earthiness of the beetroot is really brought out by roasting them before pureeing, and it complements the spicy lamb really beautifully. The quince sauce was inspired by my recent endeavours with kilos and kilos of quinces; it makes a tangy, sweetish sauce that brings everything together pretty well, if I do say so myself.
I served this with some of our second suprise crop of Maori potatoes; we thought we had harvested them all months ago, only to discover a whole lot more lovely wee gems hiding under the soil last weekend. Bonus! They are creamy, flavoursome little nuggets that even I - not a big potato lover - think are fabulous. But you could serve with any spuds. It strikes me this whole thing would work really well using duck breast, too.
Harissa-spiced lamb fillet with roasted beetroot puree and quince sauce
2 x 200g lamb loin fillets (I used Silver Fern Farms)
1 teaspoon harissa paste (I used Alexandra's)
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 medium beetroots, washed and halved
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons hot water
1 cup beef or chicken stock
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon quince paste
small knob butter
Green beans & potatoes to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Combine harissa paste and olive oil in a shallow dish. Add lamb fillets and coat with mixture. Set aside.
Place the beetroot in an oven-proof dish and roast for about 40 minutes, until tender. Remove from the oven and cool. Puree using a blender, adding olive oil and water to make a smooth puree. Set aside.
While beetroot is roasting, combine stock and wine in a pot over a medium heat, Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until reduced to about 1/3 of the original volume. Add quince paste and stir through until dissolved. REmove from heat and set aside.
Heat a griddle pan or barbecue grill to hot. Cook lamb fillets for about 3 minutes on each sire, or until done to your liking. Rest for 5 minutes, then slice into diagonal slices.
Reheat sauce, adding butter and stirring through. Warm beetroot puree in microwave or over a low heat on the stove. Place a smear of beetroot puree on each plate, place lamb on top and drizzle with quince sauce. Serve with green beans (or another green vege of your choice) and small potatoes.