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Lamb with capers and anchovies

Australian Gourmet Traveller easy main course recipe for lamb with capers and anchovies

By Hugh Wennerbom
  • Serves 4
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 5 mins cooking
Lamb with capers and anchovies
Lamb with capers and anchovies

This modern lamb dish is a real flavour hit.


  • 2 kg lamb bones
  • 60 ml olive oil, plus extra for brushing (¼ cup)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped thyme
  • 2 tbsp salted capers, rinsed and drained
  • 16 anchovy fillets
  • 2 (350gm-400gm each) lamb backstraps, fat on (see note)
  • 1 bunch of chicory, picked and washed


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180C. Place bones in a roasting tray and roast until deep brown and aromatic (15-20 minutes), then transfer to a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer until reduced to one-tenth (about 45 minutes). Set aside.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, heat half the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and garlic and cook until very soft (5-7 minutes). Add thyme, stir to combine and set aside to cool completely. Transfer to a mortar, add capers and anchovies and, using a pestle, pound to a coarse paste. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
  • 3
    Trim fat from each backstrap in a single piece and reserve, then trim sinew from fat and discard. Spread anchovy mixture over backstraps, place fat on top of lamb and tie at intervals using kitchen string to secure. Brush lamb lightly with oil. Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add lamb, fat-side down, and cook until golden and fat has rendered (10-12 minutes), turn and cook for another 3-4 minutes for medium. Cover with foil and rest for 10 minutes, then thickly slice.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add chicory and sauté until just wilted (2-3 minutes). Serve chicory with lamb, drizzled with reduced sauce.


Note Backstraps are often sold de-nuded, that is with all the fat trimmed off. You may need to order backstraps with fat on in advance.
Drink Suggestion: Robust red malbec. Drink suggestion by Max Allen