Lamb is one of our favourite Sunday lunches. I think with lamb chops, they’re nice when they’re tender and pink in the middle. With a leg of lamb, though, especially at this time of year, we all prefer it slowly cooked and really falling off the bone. I serve mine with rosemary potatoes and some of my apple and mint chutney. Delicious. Ooh, or you might also consider my Moroccan spiced version if you fancy a change.
Slow roasted garlicky leg of lamb
1 leg of lamb (or a half leg, to be honest – works just as well)
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
Preheat the oven to 160 (170)/gas 3.
In a pestle and mortar, bash up the garlic with a generous pinch of salt and pepper until it forms a paste, then add about a tablespoon of rapeseed oil. Smoosh this paste all over the lamb.
Pop the lamb into a casserole with a good fitting lid and put it in the oven. In his 2005 recipe for slow roast lamb with chickpea mash, Nigel Slater recommends adding about 250ml of water after about half an hour, which works really well and helps to make a lovely gravy at the end of it.
Then, just leave the lamb alone for a good three hours. If you want to leave it longer, turn the heat down a little. It won’t spoil.
Now for the potatoes, you can either just pop them around the lamb for the last hour of cooking (if there’s room in the casserole), or you can make these little beauties separately:
For the rosemary potatoes
Sprig or two of rosemary
Peel enough largish potatoes to feed your crowd. Cut into quarters and bring to the boil in some salted water. Simmer until tender, then drain and set aside.
When the lamb has about 15 minutes to go, drain off all the liquid into a jug. Skim off all the fat and pour it into a roasting tin (reserve the rest for the gravy). You really don’t need THAT much, as the potatoes just need to be tossed in it, not drowning in it, but by all means add a bit of extra oil if you want to.
Whack the heat up to gas 7/220 degrees (the lamb will be fine in there just as the oven is heating up) and put the roasting tin into the oven. After the five hours, take the lamb out, cover with foil and maybe a tea towel and leave it to rest. Add the potatoes and a tablespoon or so of chopped rosemary to the hot oil. Remember to wiggle them about occasionally – they’ll take 30 to 40 mins to crisp up.
For the gravy
2 tbsp plain flour
About 250ml lamb or chicken stock
To make the gravy, pour a couple of tablespoons of the leftover meat juices into a saucepan (there’ll still be some fatty stuff in there). Add a tablespoon or two of plain flour and mix well. Cook this pasty stuff for a couple of minutes, then start to add the rest of the juices, whisking them in slowly, then you can add in the stock. Bubble away so it thickens slightly.
And there you have it. Delicious, falling apart meat, crispy potatoes and yummy gravy. Happy Sunday.
PS: If you want an idea for any leftovers, try this lovely lamb tagine from my lovely friend Rubbish Wife.