One of the very first dishes I learnt to make as a 15-year-old boy in the Army Catering Corps, this was at Clayton Barracks, Aldershot, and the occasion was for a dinner for the officer’s mess. Since then I have cooked it for countless people and it became a very popular lunchtime meal for Lord Hanson and some of his business friends including Eddie George, the governor of the bank of England.
Alexis Soyer invented this dish at the Reform Club, London in the 1830’s when the late entrance of a difficult and hungry club member and a resourceful chef who had to make the most of what he had in his kitchen may clarify the invention of this rather extraordinary recipe. Reform sauce is piquant and deliciously seasoned with herbs and spices and is one of Soyer’s most famous recipes. The recipe has been changed over time but this is as close to the original as I can make it.
The club is still open with Lamb Cutlets Reform a popular item on the menu
Prep-Time: 12 to 15 minutes
Cook-Time: 10 to 12 minutes
You Will Need;
8, lamb cutlets, each weighing about 4 ounces each
2 ounces, cooked ham, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon, chopped parsley
3 ounces, fresh white breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying
A good knob of butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For The Sauce
2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
A generous pinch of cayenne pepper
2 ounces of butter
2 teaspoons, plain flour
½-teaspoon tomato purée
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1-tablespoon redcurrant jelly
½ a pint, of a good strong beef stock, I now use a Knorr beef stockpot (you know the jellied stock)
1 ounce of sliced Ox tongue
1 small cooked beetroot weighing about 3 ounces, peeled and cut into strips like the tongue
2 large gherkins cut into strips like the tongue
White of 1 large hard boiled egg, shredded into strips the same size as the tongue
To make the sauce gently cook the shallots, garlic, and cayenne pepper in half of the butter for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and tomato purée and stir well, add the vinegar and redcurrant jelly and simmer for about one minute, then add the stock, bring to a boil, and simmer gently for 15 minutes season to taste, and whisk in the remaining butter.
Trim the cutlets to remove most of the surrounding fat this is known as French trimmed. Scrape the bone absolutely clean to within 1 inch of the ‘eye’ of the meat.
Mix the chopped ham, chopped parsley and breadcrumbs together. Season the lamb cutlets and coat with the beaten egg and then cover with the ham and breadcrumb mixture. Cover and chill until required.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a frying pan on a medium heat and cook the cutlets for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden, adding the butter towards the end.
Arrange the cutlets on a warmed serving dish and garnish each one with a cutlet frill.
To serve, combine the julienne of tongue, beetroot, gherkin, and egg white in a serving dish, pour the sauce into a sauceboat and serve separately.
We love these served with Pommes Anna and sliced runner beans