Trespass Lamb… Of course he’s joking. Isn’t he?…

Lamb piecesDuring the week, I got a call in the office from the Wicklow Hunter. He enjoys winding people up and one never knows the real truth behind many of his activities. I forgive him a lot as he does his thing with good humour and a twinkle in his eye.

WH: Are you in?

Me: I am, sure did you not just ring?

WH: I did. I have some lamb for you. 

Me: Lamb? You don’t keep sheep, do you?

WH: No, this is the best tasting lamb there is. Trespass Lamb.

I probed a bit, as you do. His explanation related to the three farms that border his land and the wandering habits of young sheep. “If they’re not marked, you have no idea who owns them.” he said. “Who do you give it back to?” I believed that he was pulling my leg and decided that I didn’t need to know any more. I didn’t risk offending him. I accepted the cuts of “The best tasting lamb there is”.

Lamb pieces

Lamb pieces. I had to do a lot of work with a sharp knife to get this haul.

He may be a hunter, but a butcher he isn’t. The cuts were like nothing I have ever seen before and I had to do a lot of knife work to get enough meat to feed the Wife and myself from the indeterminate parts of the wandering beast. I had an idea to cook Dry Fried Trespass Lamb with Salad and Mint Dip. If you want to give it a go with regular, legal, shop bought lamb, use neck or shoulder pieces.


A nice enough shot of the spices. This picture is to distract you and to point your moral compass away from the origins of the meat.

Here’s what you will need:

  • Half a kilo of lamb meat, preferably in thick strips with the fat trimmed
  • Pitta breads
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Mint leaves to chop through the yoghurt
  • The makings of a salad
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Caraway Seeds
  • Mace
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Black pepper
  • Chili flakes for a bit of heat (optional)

Dry fry and grind the seeds. Mix them with the other spices in a plastic bag. Add the lamb pieces and shake to cover every side of every piece of lamb.

Caraway seeds and Cumin seeds

The Caraway and Cumin seeds getting the treatment from the pestle and mortar.

Pop the bag in the fridge and leave it there for a few hours. This is to let the spices penetrate and add deep flavour to the lamb. Chop the mint leaves and mix with the yoghurt.

Greek yoghurt with mint

Use as much or as little mint as you fancy. It gives a lovely cooling counter to the hot spices.

Take the lamb out of the fridge about half an hour before cooking.

Simple salad

I took the shots before I remembered to add the baby tomatoes. It was a lovely cool salad that helped in the fight for balance with the hot spices.

Use this time to make up a nice simple salad. (I used lettuce, red onion, cucumber and baby tomatoes.) Dry fry the lamb pieces until cooked.

Trespass lamb

Despite the lack of fat, this lamb isn’t guilt free. – He wouldn’t have? Would he?

This should not take long. Prepare the pitta breads. Add the lamb, the salad and a big dollop of Greek yoghurt to a pitta and enjoy.

Lamb in pitta bread

All thoughts of morality went out the window while I enjoyed this.

It was particularly tasty. The rare flavour was really enhanced by the spices. But the memory of the meal brings on that nagging doubt in my mind “Trespass Lamb? He wouldn’t….  Would he?”

Written by
Latest comments
  • That looks good, legal or not 🙂

    • I don’t know which (and I don’t want to know).

  • the end it looks soo delish

    • Truly, it was tasty. All the better for the bit of mystery.

  • I’d give your friend the benefit of the doubt. I mean, maybe the lamb attacked him and it was a case of self defence!

  • Ooohhh… The header photo of the lamb appeared about this. Now I feel rather guilty about how tasty I found it :S

    • I’m sure it was a much younger one that we ate!

  • He sounds like the poacher in Withnail and I. Great recipe!

    • Thanks MD. It was tasty and really simple to do.

  • Actually, his keeping the animal is legal and follows the common law principle of animals running in the wild, something similar to finders keeper, losers weepers. Oddly enough this very same principle applied to oil & gas law until changed by regulation and statue. Ah, but I digress. I love your preparation of the lamb and served with a little greek yogurt…heavenly.

    • I don’t know that I would be comfortable making that argument to the neighbouring farmers. They’re quare folk down in Wicklow.

  • Very witty as usual. “the makings of a salad” 😊 I didn’t know you could cook lamb neck or shoulder just briefly. I usually do them 24-48 hours at low temp.
    As for trespassing, think I’ll stick to nettles 😉

    • Lots of spices, thinly cut, dry fried and served to two hungry people. That does it.

  • Sounds a wonderfully Irish description ‘Trespass Lamb’! but the recipe made my tastebuds jump though I’m not a big fan of spicy food. Love minted yoghurt, though.

  • I like the ‘illegal’ sound of it,I guess it automatically adds an extra bit of flavour. I dunno, just saying, how would i ever know anything about a poor little lost lamb crying out to go back home. 😉
    I do have a serious question though. Did it take you long to fry the meat and was it as tender? Asking because I never had much luck getting the meat to tender when I fried them. Wondering what I do wrong.

    • A very hot pan, thinly cut meat and lots of spices rubbed well into the meat did the trick. Beat in mind that I ended up using small pieces trimmed from the bones. They were pretty tender anyway.

  • Trespass lamb – hilarious! It looks absolutely delicious, legally obtained or not. I love the sound of the combination of spices and can almost taste the aromatic crunch of the lamb. Delicious stuff as always, Conor!

    • Thanks Aoife, My mind rests easy on the legal front. At worst, it is dining after the fact or such like.

  • Nice … How long did it take for the lamb to get cooked?

    • About ten minutes on a very hot pan Sanjiv. It was beautiful with the yoghurt and mint.

  • I have a friend who shows up unexpectedly, hands me a package of somethingorother and says, “Don’t ask. It tastes better if you don’t know.” I’m afraid if I ask he’ll stop showing up. Silence is golden. And tastes good.

    • Hi Robin, Thanks for stopping by. The Wicklow Hunter drops various bits and pieces in to me. They vary from this likes of this to venison to herbs and vegetables. I occasionally proffer a bottle of wine or two in a sort of exchange. One on which I am the net gainer.

  • Always love your humor and especially love the sound of your dish. I haven’t seen any wayward sheep so I’ll be off to the market.

    • Thanks Karen, I will be there myself too. This is not a regular event.

  • This looks great! Like the title too!

    • Thanks Barb. It was pretty good, if I say so myself.

Join the conversation, you know you want to....

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: