Lamb with Goat Cheese and Asparagus in Puff Pastry

Lamb with Goat Cheese and Asparagus in Puff Pastry

It’s tough if your birthday falls during the holiday season: your family and friends can kill two birds with one stone. All of your life, “Happy Holidays and Birthday” are the typical wishes festooned to your cards and presents. More times than not, you’ve been shorted a celebration in your honor. Your sister was planning to throw a holiday get-together anyway, so if she tosses in a cake with candles, it can count as your birthday party too.

Moreover, pity the person whose birthday falls a few days after the holidays. No one wants to party, no one wants to even think about purchasing a present, and rich food is- well-you’ve just weighed yourself and would rather not go there.

But suck it up, party-weary revelers. If they make merriment on your July birthday, you’d best rally to the cause and muster up a second wind.

My husband’s birthday falls on January 3rd and I negotiated. I told him if I could be granted a small reprieve from the kitchen, pushing the celebration date up to the weekend, I’d make him anything his heart desired.

Offering up unconditional “anything’s” is generally a mistake. He remembered a dish I’d made several years ago-Lamb with Duxelles and Goat Cheese wrapped in Puff Pasty. He remembers me toiling over the pastry, simmering the mushrooms for hours until their fragrance was the intensity of a mushroom forest after a thunderstorm in May; he remembers

I baked the masterpiece until the pastry was delicately flaked and golden brown; he remembers how I hated toiling over that recipe; but he also remembers (unfortunately) how delicious it was. After requesting that for the main course, he said he’d like his birthday cake to be chocolate with a buttercream icing.

Chocolate cake, OK. But I beg of you-not the puff pastry! And that’s when I decided to cheat.

I searched my files, cookbooks and the web and couldn’t find the recipe. I did, however, find another recipe which I adapted from the magazine, La Cucina Italiana, that was similar. The primary difference was they used puréed asparagus instead of duxelle (much easier, thank-you) and goat cheese wasn’t included in the recipe. I added this to the puréed asparagus, but it is optional. The recipe also called for using a lamb loin, which would have been easier to work with. By default, I used a boneless leg of lamb which was more cumbersome, but delicious, nevertheless.

My days of making puff pastry from scratch are a not-so-fond memory; Pepperidge Farm puff pastry is a fine substitute. (First cheat.) And, while I’m at it, doesn’t the Cold Stone Creamery on Washtenaw make a really yummy chocolate ice cream cake with buttercream frosting? (Second cheat.) Who says cheaters never prosper? I saved an afternoon of cooking and was able to sing “Happy Birthday” like I meant it.

Recipe: Lamb with Goat Cheese and Asparagus in Puff Pastry


  • 12 ounces asparagus, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme or rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 log (4-5 ounces) soft goat cheese, optional
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg white
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh bread crumbs (made from stale bread)
  • 10 ounces ground lamb
  • 1 boneless lamb loin or boneless leg of lamb (3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound frozen puff pastry*, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 5 scallions cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 400˚.
  2. Cook asparagus in boiling, salted water until tender. Drain. Purée in food processor with thyme, goat cheese, if using, 1 teaspoon of the butter and garlic.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk egg (reserving egg white for later use) with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Stir in bread crumbs, asparagus mixture and ground lamb.
  4. With a sharp knife, slice the entire length of the loin or leg of lamb three-quarters of the way through. Lay the lamb on a double layer of parchment paper that has been moistened with water. Spread the asparagus mixture inside, close, season with salt and pepper, and roll up in the paper. Tie with butcher’s string, and place on an oiled baking sheet.
  5. Bake on middle rack of oven 40 minutes. Discard paper and let cool. (Up to this point, the roast may be prepared the day before.)
  6. Following the directions on the puff pastry box, roll the pastry to ¼-inch thickness, and place lamb in center. Enclose in the pastry, and seal by crimping the edges. (If puff pastry separates, moisten your fingers and crimp it together.) Whisk egg white and brush over pastry. Bake at 400° for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until desired doneness (145° internal temperature for medium-rare).
  7. While lamb is roasting, make a scallion sauce by cook scallions in a saucepan with ¼ cup water, the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cream, salt and pepper. Purée in a food processor. Remove the lamb from the oven. Slice, sprinkle with parsley. and serve with scallion sauce.

*1 (17 ounce) box Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets

Active Time: 75 minutes (sauce may be made while lamb is roasting)

Bake Time: 70-80 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 6-8

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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