This weekend is one of my favourites of the whole year. The first weekend in December (or possibly the second, depending on timing) is tree decorating day. The men of the house go out and forage (okay, not exactly forage) for a Christmas tree, and we spend a lovely day with Christmas songs blasting, digging through all the decorations from the loft (they always bring back memories, don’t they?) and decorating the house. This year, as it’s the first year we’ve got our lovely new open kitchen/diner, I really wanted a kitchen Christmas tree and the boys did a fabulous job finding me the perfect one. To celebrate all this hygge activity (remember hygge? The Danish concept of warmth and family and cosiness), we decided to invite some lovely friends and – with a little help from Simply Beef and Lamb – found the perfect festive recipe: slow roasted lamb in sloe gin.
In the spirit of all things hygge, we wanted our dinner table to be extra cosy, so we made sure there were slippers (reindeer slippers, of course), blankets and comfy cushions, loads of twinkling candles, fresh winter flowers (check out my first ever attempt at flower arranging) and of course our gorgeous new kitchen Christmas tree, decorated in copper and white. We chose a slow roasted dish (what’s more hygge than that? ) as it’s easy to prepare and lovely and warming, and lamb is always our number one choice (whether its beef or lamb, I always look out for a quality mark like the Red Tractor logo – I need to know that it’s responsibly produced). Simplybeefandlamb.co.uk have some wonderful warming winter recipes, and this slow roasted lamb in sloe gin is perfectly festive as well.
Slow roast lamb in sloe gin
You will need:
1 x 1.3kg/3lb lean traditional lamb leg
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
A few sprigs of rosemary
2 large red onions, peeled and quartered
1 tbsp olive oil
150ml sloe gin (or you can use purple grape juice)
1 tbsp plain flour
1 litre lamb stock (cube is fine)
Place the joint on a chopping board and stab it a few times with a sharp knife. Poke sprigs of rosemary into the holes, then season really well.
Scatter the onions into the base of a large non-stick roasting pan, then pop the lamb leg on top. Drizzle with the olive oil and then pour over the sloe gin. Cover really well with foil, then just pop into the oven and cook for about four hours, basting occasionally.
At around the two hour mark, I removed quite a lot of the cooking juices and reserved them for making a delicious gravy. If you leave them for the full four hours, they can caramelise a bit too much. Leave just enough so that you can continue basting.
During the last 30 minutes of the cooking time, remove the foil to allow the joint to brown.
Transfer the lamb to a warm plate, cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the gravy: pop the flour into a saucepan over a medium heat and add enough of the reserved meat juices to make a paste. Turn up the heat, then whisk in the rest of the meat juices, and then slowly whisk in the lamb stock. Bubble until thick and season to taste.
Shred the lamb at the table, then serve with roast potatoes, gravy and seasonal vegetables. Delicious!