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Lamb with Bilberry Sauce - Cig Oen â Saws Llus

This recipe for Lamb with Bilberry Sauce comes from Dyfed Lloyd Evans. Dyfed runs the Celtnet Recipes recipe site with recipes from all corners of the globe.

When people think of Wales the food is not what they immediately think of. Indeed, much of the traditional cookery of Wales is what might be called 'peasant food'. This is hardly surprising given Wales' history. After all the country has been rich in resources but poor in income for many centuries.

Industry dominated the country, whether predominantly agriculture in the North and heavy industry in the South. But everyone was working for someone else rather than themselves. The pennies had to be eked out and salaries were supplemented with small holdings that grew vegetables, pigs and chickens.

Each and every last drop of use was drawn from the food an frugality was the watchword. Thus the traditional food tends to be plain, simple and hearty. In many households this is what the staple fare is like, even today.

But as the country grew more affluent and developed a middle class some traditional recipes became entrenched but, in general, there was a move away from the traditional fare to something more exotic. Influences were brought home from across the globe and there was a tendency, even at home, to mix and match.

So that traditional ingredients were combined with exotic spices and ingredients to produce something new. A new Welsh cuisine that few people ever get to see.

Here I bring you an example of modern Welsh Fusion cooking.

Ingredients for Lamb with Bilberry Sauce

4 x 150g lamb leg steaks
1 tbsp olive oil
125g finely chopped onions
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
50ml raspberry vinegar
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
120ml fresh orange juice
120ml dry white wine
1 tbsp tomato purée
150ml water
125g fresh bilberries (or the same weight of blueberries plus 1 tbsp red wine vinegar)
1 tbsp honey
3 strips of orange peel
salt and black pepper to taste

How to make Lamb with Bilberry Sauce

  • Add the olive oil to a hot pan, season the lamb leg steaks and fry until browned on both sides then set aside.
  • Add the onion and garlic to the pan and fry until soft.
  • At this stage add the raspberry vinegar and black pepper to the pan and boil until the vinegar has almost completely vanished.
  • Now add half the bilberries, the honey, the white wine and the orange juice and the orange peel. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for five minutes.
  • Now add the water and bring back to the boil.
  • Transfer the sauce to a lidded oven-proof dish and add the lamb steaks to this.
  • Place in a moderate oven and cook for forty minutes.
  • Set the meat aside in a warm place, tip the sauce back into the original pan and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce to thicken then add the remaining bilberries and continue cooking until the skins are just about to split.
  • Spoon the sauce over the lamb steaks and serve immediately.

Dyfed Lloyd Evans