Roasted rump of Scottish lamb with wild garlic and barley risotto, confit garlic and charred leeks, by Derek Johnstone, Head Chef at Borthwick Castle

Traditionally eaten on Easter Sunday, lamb is right in season just now. At this time of year, you’ll find ‘new season Scottish lamb’ on menus across the country – but did you know it’s normally hogget which is served at this time of year? Hogget is the youngest of last season’s lamb. It’s a little stronger in flavour than younger lamb, though it’s not as overpowering as some people can find mutton to be. It’s the perfect roast to serve next weekend.

My recipe today is a twist on this traditional Sunday dish, served with wild garlic risotto. Woodlands, parks and gardens are full of wild garlic right now, and the grounds around Borthwick Castle are no exception.

Makes 4 portions


For the lamb rump:

4x 120g square cut lamb rump portions

1 sprig of thyme

1 sprig of rosemary

1 clove of garlic

50g unsalted butter

A drizzle of vegetable oil for frying

Salt and pepper, to season

For the wild garlic puree:

100g freshly picked wild garlic

25ml double cream

A pinch of salt

For the pearl barley:

240g pearl barley

500ml chicken stock

1 sprig of thyme

2x cloves of garlic


For the garlic confit:

8x cloves of garlic, peeled

200ml duck fat


For the charred leeks:

8x baby leeks

100ml water

100g butter


For the lamb sauce:

100g lamb bones

75g chopped shallots

600ml chicken stock

2x cloves of garlic

1 sprig of thyme

75ml white wine

20ml oil


For the lamb rump:

1. Take the lamb out of the fridge and trim off any excess skin (or ask your butcher to prepare it). Score the fat lightly with a sharp knife.

2. Allow the lamb to reach room temperature, and season generously with salt and pepper.

3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the lamb rumps, skin side down, and cook gently until the fat becomes crispy.

4. Turn the lamb over and continue to colour the meat all over until a golden-brown colour is achieved.

5. Add the butter, allow it to foam in the pan, then add the peeled garlic, thyme and rosemary.

6. Cook in the oven at 180°C for 8 minutes, then allow to rest for up to 15 minutes before serving.

For the wild garlic puree:

1. Wash the wild garlic leaves in lightly salted water, then blanch in boiling water. Refresh in ice cold water.

2. Squeeze out the water and place the wild garlic into a food processor.

3. Boil the cream and add to the blanched garlic.

4. Blitz until smooth, then season with salt and pepper.

For the pearl barley:

1. Soak the pearl barley in water overnight, then strain.

2. Place the barley into a heavy based pan and cover with stock.

3. Bring to the boil, then add the thyme, garlic and salt. Cook the barley gently until tender.

4. Strain the barley and keep warm. Add the garlic puree and mix well, then serve

For the garlic confit:

1. Peel the garlic and remove the garlic germ from the centre.

2. Place the garlic in cold water and bring to the boil, then repeat another two times.

3. Once the garlic has blanched, strain off the water and place the garlic in the duck fat. Cook slowly until the garlic is tender.

For the charred leeks:

1. Wash the baby leeks then chargrill them until lightly scorched.

2. Make an emulsion with the butter, a pinch of salt and water, then cook the leeks until tender and glazed. Serve immediately.

For the lamb sauce:

1. Heat the oil in a thick based pan and add the lamb bones. Once the bones are golden brown, add the diced shallots and the thyme.

2. Cook the shallots until golden brown, then deglaze the pan with the white wine. Reduce by half.

3. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 25 minutes.

4. Strain the stock through a fine sieve and reduce by half. Season and serve.

To assemble the dish, place two spoonfuls of wild garlic risotto onto the base of the plate, then top with three slices of lamb. Place two leeks and two cloves of garlic on top and a drizzle of lamb sauce around.