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The Perfect Roast Lamb

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April 6, 2015 / English / By
Nicola

With spring upon us, now’s the perfect time to start indulging in some juicy roast lamb. At this time of year lamb is at its cheapest, because it’s in its most plentiful supply. Most people state a leg of lamb as being particularly flavoursome and tender, so this is the cut that we’ll be focusing on today. Luckily, legs of lamb are very easy to get hold of; you’ll find them in any supermarket or from the butcher. Being such a common cut of meat it’s relatively cheap, which makes a leg of lamb a fairly economical piece of meat to use.

 

When you’re shopping for your leg of lamb, you might be tempted to choose a half leg instead of a full leg. It goes without saying that a half leg is a lot cheaper, and obviously there’s much less meat, which might seem appealing for smaller families and appetites. However, I would discourage you from buying a half leg of lamb (unless it’s your only option). This is because half legs tend to end up a little drier and tougher than whole legs; somehow, cooking a leg of lamb whole allows the juices to run through the meat much more easily. Of course, a whole leg of lamb might be slightly larger than you’d hoped for, but on the upside you’ll have enough meat to last you and your family a while!

 

Once you have your whole leg of lamb, preheat the oven to 190°C (370°F or Gas Mark 5). Using a sharp knife, create deep holes going deep into the flesh of the lamb. The openings to the holes need not be wide, but they should run deep. Essentially, just stab your knife deep into the leg of lamb. You should create several of these holes over the entire surface of your meat; depending on the size of your leg of lamb, it could work well to space them anywhere between two and four inches apart from each other.

 

'Leg of Lamb' by jayneandd via Flickr

 

Separate a bulb of garlic into individual cloves and peel the papery skin from each clove. Stuff an entire clove as far as possible into the deepest cuts which you’ve just made in the flesh; for holes which are more shallow or spaced more closely together, use just half a clove in each one. Take some fresh rosemary and place a sprig in each hole, along with the garlic. This will have the effect of roasting the garlic and the rosemary together with the meat, allowing the flavours to taint the meat. Although the cloves of garlic might be small, by placing them in deep cavities the juices and aromas from the garlic and rosemary will run along large areas of flesh. This should be done as far as possible in advance, no less than an hour before you intend to cook it.

 

If you can, chop up some vegetables and potatoes and arrange them so that they create a flat layer over the base of a large roasting tin; on top of this layer you should place the leg of lamb. Not only will this allow the meat juices to drop down onto the vegetables or potatoes while cooking (creating flavours to die for!), but it’ll prevent the lamb from sticking or burning on the base of the pan.

 

Place your roasting pan, complete with the leg of lamb, in the preheated oven, and roast it for an hour. You shouldn’t need to fiddle with it or baste it, but after an hour you should simply remove it from the oven and turn the lamb over to ensure that it’s being cooked evenly all the way through. Place it back in the oven and leave it for another hour,

 

After cooking for a total of two hours, remove the roasting pan from the oven. Cover it with foil to keep the heat in, then leave it to one side for around half an hour. Leaving your meat to rest is an important step that shouldn’t be overlooked. Although the temptation is to carve the lamb when it is fresh out the oven, you’ll find that leaving it will result in much jucier, more tender meat. By covering it with foil it’ll still be warm – even after half an hour – so there aren’t really any drawbacks!

 

Finally, all that’s left to do is carve the leg of lamb into thin slices, then serve it with a selection of roast potatoes, vegetables, gravy, sauces, and any other trimmings you can think of!

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Country: United Kingdom

Province/State: Wiltshire

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