Monday, 29 October 2012

Traditional Roast Lamb

Much the same way as I was hankering for some plain, no nonsense soup the other week, last weekend, we had a beautiful leg of lamb, roasted very traditionally with garlic and rosemary. It tasted so good, that I thought it was worth mentioning, just in case you too were getting a little over-harissa’d. Not that there’s anything wrong with lamb and harissa, it's delicious, but if you were craving something a little closer to home as the weather turns colder, there’s a lot to be said for this way of roasting lamb.

I favour the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall approach to roasting meat, as explained in his wonderful River Cottage Meat Book – a sizzle at a high temperature for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your joint, followed by 10, 15 or 20 minutes/500g at a lower temperature, depending on whether you want your meat rare, medium or well done. He recommends 1600 for the second stage of cooking, but my oven seems to run slightly cooler, so I go to my default of 1800. Once the roasting time is up, leave the meat to rest before carving.

1 leg of lamb
1 fat clove of garlic
Leaves from a good sprig or 2 of rosemary
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil

Take your lamb out of the fridge to allow the meat to come up to room temperature, and wipe dry if it seems a little damp, or if there has been any seepage while it’s been in the fridge. Pre-heat the oven as hot as it will go. 

Peel and thinly slice the garlic clove, and pull the sprigs from the rosemary. With a sharp knife, make little cuts all over the skin of the meat, then push in a piece of garlic and a sprig of rosemary into each slit. I have it in my mind that my Granny also used to add tiny pieces of anchovy fillet, but I didn’t have any – you might want to think about it though. 

Put the joint in a roasting dish. grind over some salt and pepper, and drizzle over some olive oil, then bung in the oven as above. Once the meat has had the required cooking time, take it out of the oven, put the meat on your carving board and cover with foil to rest for 15-30 minutes while you finish whatever else you're doing.

If you're wanting ideas for gravy, I'd recommend adding some red wine and redcurrant jelly to the meat juices left in the roasting dish.

I'm linking this up to Herbs on Saturday for the October challenge on the gorgeous Lavender and Loveage blog, because the rosemary works so well with the lamb.


  1. I like my meats roasted in traditional ways - can't beat it! Your lamb looks luscious!

    1. It was very good (if I do say so myself etc)

  2. A PERFECTLY cooked piece of lamb and with all my favourite herbs too...I DO love to see a lovely piece of meat that has not been messed about with! Karen


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