Connemara Lamb

Recreating Glenlo Abbey’s Connemara Lamb Recipe (Inspired by the Pullman Orient Express)

Imagine reclining in the plush comfort of the legendary Pullman Orient Express, a world-class dining experience unfolding before you. The Connemara lamb with its bold black olive crust, is nestled atop a creamy potato gratin and drizzled with a vibrant bell pepper coulis. It’s a delightful medley of textures and flavors that truly embodies the spirit of luxury travel.

Connemara Lamb Recipe with potato and pepper coulis

This recipe, shared with us by the restaurant’s talented Executive Chef Ciaran Gantly, is perfect for a special occasion or to elevate your St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

A Culinary Adventure from Glenlo Abbey

During our stay at the breathtaking Glenlo Abbey, we were fortunate enough to dine in Leona, an authentic first class car on the Orient Express which was in service 1927-1967. The dish that stole the show was this Connemara Lamb recipe. The combination of the tender, locally sourced lamb, the bold black olive crust, and the sweetness of the pepper coulis was simply divine.

Executive Chef Gantly was kind enough to share his recipe, allowing us to bring a touch of Glenlo Abbey magic into our own kitchen. So, are you ready to embark on this culinary adventure? Let’s get started!

The Essential Elements:

This Connemara Lamb recipe is divided into three key components: the melt-in-your-mouth Connemara lamb, the decadent black olive crust, and the vibrant bell pepper coulis. Don’t worry, though, each element is surprisingly simple to prepare!

  • Connemara Lamb: The star of the show! Look for high-quality lamb loin chops, ideally sourced from a local butcher.
  • Black Olive Crust: This savory tapenade adds a burst of umami flavor to the lamb. It’s made with a combination of black olives, anchovies, garlic, and pine nuts.
  • Bell Pepper Coulis: This sweet and tangy sauce complements the richness of the lamb and the creaminess of the gratin. Made with roasted bell peppers, white wine, and chicken stock, it adds a beautiful pop of color to the plate.
  • Potato Gratin: No luxurious meal is complete without a creamy potato gratin. Thinly sliced potatoes are bathed in a garlicky cream sauce and baked until golden brown.

Step-by-Step to a Restaurant-Worthy Connemara Lamb Recipe

  1. Marinate the Lamb: Marinate your lamb loins in a mixture of olive oil, chopped garlic, and fresh herbs (like rosemary or thyme) for at least 24 hours. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat, resulting in a juicy and flavorful final product.
  2. Bell Pepper Coulis Symphony: First, we’ll create the vibrant bell pepper coulis. Sauté garlic and onion until softened, then add chopped red or yellow bell peppers. Deglaze the pan with white wine and simmer with chicken stock for a rich base. Blend the mixture until smooth, strain it for a silky texture, and season to perfection.
  3. Creamy Potato Perfection: For the gratin, thinly slice your potatoes (about 1/2 cm thick). In a saucepan, bring cream to a boil with crushed garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Layer the sliced potatoes in a baking dish, pour over the creamy sauce, and bake until golden brown and tender.
  4. Black Olive Tapestry: Combine black olives, anchovies, garlic, and pine nuts in a blender and pulse until you achieve a chunky paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Searing and Roasting the Lamb: Pat your lamb loins dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Sear them in a hot pan with olive oil until nicely browned on all sides. Top each lamb loin with a generous dollop of the black olive tapenade. Roast in a preheated oven (around 400°F) for about 10 minutes for a medium-rare finish.
  6. Plating Perfection: Spoon a pool of vibrant bell pepper coulis in the center of your serving plate. Place the roasted lamb loin on top, followed by a generous helping of the creamy potato gratin. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary or thyme for an extra touch of elegance.

A Culinary Adventure Awaits!

With these detailed instructions, you’re now equipped to recreate this stunning dish from Glenlo Abbey in your own kitchen. The combination of flavors and textures is truly unforgettable, making it a perfect centerpiece for a special occasion or a delightful way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

This article was originally written in 1999.

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Glenlo Abbey’s Connemara Lamb With Black Olive Crust and Bell Pepper Coulis

Recipe by Jason Hill –
This Centerloin of Connemara Lamb is topped with a black olive crust and red and yellow bell pepper coulis. It is one of many modern Irish dishes served at Glenlo Abbey’s Pullman Restaurant in Bushypark, Galway. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Marinating Time 1 day
Course Main Course
Cuisine Irish
Servings 4


  • 4 pieces lamb centerloin

Bell Pepper Coulis:

  • 1 ounce vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 3 ounces onion diced
  • 3 pounds red or yellow bell peppers
  • 8 ounces white wine
  • 1 pint chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Potato Gratin:

  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes
  • 2 cups cream plus 2 tablespoons
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper

Black Olive Crust:

  • 2 pounds black olives
  • 4 ounces anchovies
  • 9 cloves garlic
  • 2 ounces pine nuts


  • Marinade the loins of lamb for at least 24 hours in a mixture of olive oil, chopped garlic and fresh herbs.
  • Prepare the bell pepper coulis. Heat the oil and saute garlic and onion until translucent, without browning. Add peppers and saute until tender. Deglaze pan with white wine. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer; cook for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Puree in a blender and strain through a china cap. Adjust consistency and seasonings and hold for service.
  • To prepare the potato gratin, peel and slice the potatoes (approximately 1/2 cm). Crush the garlic and bring to a boil with the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Place sliced potatoes in a baking dish with cream sauce and bake in a moderately hot oven (about 400 F) for 50 minutes.
  • To prepare the olive crust, place the olives, anchovies, garlic and pine nuts in a blender and puree (not too fine). Season if needed.
  • Season the loin of lamb with salt and pepper and sear in a hot pan with olive oil. Place some olive paste on top of each loin and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes (for medium/rare).
  • Place a spoonful of pepper coulis in the center of the plate. Place the lamb on top, followed by the gratin potatoes and a garnish.
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Keyword Irish recipes, lamb
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AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.