I featured lamb in my Easter Newsletter (see here) – a butterflied boneless leg of lamb with a stuffing. Since then I have been tempted with some wonderful offers of half-price whole legs of lamb that are just perfect for slow roasting, so I am giving a recipe for the latter so that you have the choice of both this coming Easter weekend. Slow-roasting lamb makes it wonderfully tender and so very easy on the bariatric pouch.
Also the beauty of this slow-roasted lamb recipe is that once you have done the prep work of preparing this show-stopper of a roast recipe, you can sit back
and cheat a bit with the rest. I call these Sunday-style meals half and half lunches because you work hard to impress with 50% of the meal, and then sit back for the remaining 50% and use short-cuts and ready-prepped sides (like roasties and ready-prepared veggies) for the rest. I like to spend Easter lunch with my family not the kitchen, so once I have the lamb crowd-pleaser in the oven I know I can sit back and consider most of the work done and retire from the workspace and join the others with their fun activities.
Some of these short cuts might well be purchased ready-made and some may have been made well ahead and stashed in the freezer for occasions just like this. I often par-boil then freeze potatoes ready for cooking to make crisp roasties or make a layer potato gratin to also freeze that adds a delicious soft creaminess to roast meats. Both are wonderful served with simple shredded greens, peas and simple sliced carrots – tossed in herbs their flavours defy the simple prep required to produce them. Other times I simply visit my local supermarket and check out what they have ready-prepared in the vegetable section or even the salad bar. It’s surprising how easy it is to put together an interesting vegetable medley from their offerings. One of my favourites is shredded raw beetroot/beets with chopped apple and a few nuts and seeds. I use this selection to also short-cut a stir-fry dish on many weekday night when time is at a premium. I call this convenient food rather than convenience food – there’s a difference!
What does count is making the delicious paste that is used to flavour the lamb during cooking. Lemon, garlic, rosemary and anchovy help to make the most wonderful sauce/gravy for the lamb. Don’t be tempted to omit the anchovies thinking they will give a fishiness to the lamb – they won’t, trust me on this, they just give a depth of flavour that is hard to describe but certainly yummy.
SLOW-ROAST LEG OF LAMB
finely grated zest of 3 lemons, halved
4 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
8 anchovies, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 kg/41/2 lb leg of lamb (bone in)
400 g/14 oz shallots, peeled and halved
2 whole bulbs garlic, halved horizontally
150 ml/2/3 cup Madeira or Marsala wine or meat stock/bouillon
2 tsp plain flour
2 tsp softened butter
- Preheat the oven to 160 C/325 F/gas mark 3.
- To make the seasoning paste, mix the lemon zest with the rosemary, garlic, anchovies and salt and pepper to taste. Mash together to make a chunky paste. Stir in the oil and set aside.
- Heat a roasting pan on the hob and brown the lamb for a couple of minutes on each side. Remove the lamb from the pan and place on a board.
- Cook the shallots in the roasting pan (add a little olive oil if necessary) for 5 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove and set aside.
- Meanwhile, using a thin, sharp knife, make deep angled incisions all over the lamb. Push the seasoning paste into the cuts. Return the lamb to the roasting pan.
- Add the shallots, garlic and lemon halves. Pour in the Madeira, Marsala or stock/bouillon and 6 tbsp water. Cover the roasting pan tightly with foil and roast in the oven for 3 hours.
- Remove the foil from the pan and cook, uncovered, for a further 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, mix the flour with the butter to make a paste. When the lamb is cooked, transfer to a carving plate with the garlic, lemons and shallots and loosely cover with foil to keep warm and rest.
- Strain the juices from the roasting pan into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Whisk in the flour and butter paste, then simmer until the sauce is thickened and glossy. Serve with the carved lamb
WLS PORTION: 1/2
CALORIES PER PORTION (using stock/bouillon): 470
Image courtesy of Marks & Spencer