This fool-proof method will have friends and relations ripping up their recipes and begging you to share your secret after just one mouthful
You don’t have to listen to your granny or your mum to come up with the best-ever roast leg of lamb this Easter. This fool-proof method will have them angling for tips after one mouthful. The meltingly tender meat will wow even the fussiest of foodie guests and your Easter Sunday meal will, quite possibly, go down in history.
You will need
- A large roasting tin with rack (check it’s big enough to fit the lamb leg)
- A baster
- A meat thermometer (seriously, get one)
- Meat lifters
- A meat-carving tray (optional)
- A balloon whisk
- A meat fork and sharp carving knife
- A chef’s hat and apron (absolutely unnecessary and quite probably a step too far)
How to do it
Note: Take your lamb out the fridge around an hour before you begin cooking.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 and pour in a litre of lamb stock into the roasting tin.
- Sit the leg of lamb (2kg to feed 6-8 people), on the rack in the roasting tin. Make 12 deep 1cm incisions into the flesh of the leg, using a sharp knife. Insert slivers of garlic, sprigs of rosemary and/or pieces of anchovy into the incisions (if using, depending on your taste). Spray with a little oil and season well all over with salt and ground black pepper (reducing the amount of salt if you’re using anchovies).
- Cover with a foil tent that that encloses the meat and rim of the roasting tin and roast for around an hour. Take off the foil and cook for a further 30 mins, basting from time to time, before checking the thickest part of the leg with a meat thermometer. It needs to hit 54C/130F for medium-rare. If it’s not up to temperature, put it back in the oven for 10 mins more and then re-check to see if it is up to temperature. Repeat for another 10 minutes if you prefer your meat well-done. By now the stock should also have reduced a little.
- Here’s the crucial bit: however tempting the meat smells when you take it out of the oven, you must leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes in a warm place. So lift it off the rack and transfer it to a warm plate (or your carving tray), and cover it with foil to keep the heat in. This lets all the lovely juices that are sitting on the surface re-absorb so you have perfectly moist meat.
- Meanwhile, drain the stock from the roasting tin into a clean pan, adding a splash of wine (red or white, whatever your preference). If it seems a bit thick and gloopy you can add some sherry. Heat a few sprays of oil in the roasting tin, add a knob of butter and, when melted, a sprinkling of flour. Keep stirring until you have a paste, scraping up any caramelised bits and pieces from the bottom of the tin, then gradually whisk in the stock. Turn up the heat and keep stirring until you have a smooth, thickened gravy. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- When the meat has rested, hold it up by the bone (using a tea towel or oven glove) and carve it downwards in thin slices until you reach the bone (just like you see it done in the kebab shop!).
- Serve the lamb with the gravy, mint sauce and a selection of steamed veg and maybe some roasties, too.
- Enjoy the adulation of friends and family, who will surely crown you King or Queen of the Roast. You’re welcome!
Tip: Any leftovers are always best used up hot, as when lamb is left to go cold it tends to taste fatty and lacking in flavour. So try one of these smart ideas:
- Braise the slices in gravy until softened and heated through, and serve with mash and greens.
- Cut any meat that’s left on the bone into chunks and cook it in a ready-made curry sauce, then serve with tinned dhal and warm naan bread.
- Mince it up and reheat in a pasta sauce to serve with pasta shells, sprinkled with parmesan or chilli flakes.
- If you’re feeling more ambitious (and depending how much meat you have left over), use it minced in a moussaka or shepherd’s pie.
Super-quick mint sauce
If you fancy having a go at making your own mint sauce you’ll be glad to know it’s easier than you think. Finely chop a bunch of mint leaves with a sprinkling of salt (the salt is abrasive and helps the mint to release its oils). Put into a jug and pour over about 70ml of boiling water. Stir in a level tbsp of caster sugar until dissolved and leave to cool. Add about 70ml of white wine or white balsamic vinegar. Taste and add more water or vinegar and salt to your liking. Serve alongside your perfectly cooked lamb.
Now that you’ve perfected your technique, why not try it out on some of our delicious lamb roast recipes?