It’s pretty overwhelming sometimes, standing in the meat aisle in the supermarket when you don’t entirely know what to do with some of the cuts that you are presented with. You’re not alone. I know many people that don’t know their neck fillets from their lamb shoulder, and it’s not shameful – it just means you’re missing out. I was one of them, and even now I pass over cuts of meat that I have no frame of reference for – even if they are cheaper, or meatier than what I end up with.
So let’s start simple. Here’s how to roast a leg of lamb to perfection in three easy steps. And if you think that it’s too much hassle or too expensive, a cut weighing about 1.75 kg (bone included) like the one above will feed six people easily and consider the extra two or three meals of cold cuts you could get afterwards for picnics, packed lunches or quick weekday dinners: couscous, risotto, tomato and mint salad on sour dough all with cold lamb cuts are fantastic.
Leg of lamb
5 cloves of garlic, each halved lengthways
6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
20g unsalted butter
3 anchovy filets
Freshly milled black pepper
1 glass of white wine.
1) Insert the blade of a small sharp knife directly through the meat to create incisions, and use your finger to push a sprig of rosemary, slice of garlic and a quarter of a filet of anchovy. Do this 15 – 20 times all over and under the meat.
2) Rub the meat with butter, making sure to cover any edges without a layer of fat. Place the lamb leg in a large oven tray, then season with salt and pepper. The seasoning should stick to the butter. Gently pour the glass of wine over the meat.
3) Place the tray on the middle shelf of the oven on 180° for an hour and a half, taking out at the half way point to baste the lamb in its juices to keep it beautifully moist.
The lamb should be wonderfully tender, and not over cooked – filled with flavours of the rosemary. The anchovies will have melted away to nothing, permeating the meat with a subtle saltiness which works perfectly with the sweetly softened garlic.
Allow it to rest before carving and serving up with what ever vegetables takes your fancy! Roasted courgettes are my favourite, along with cauliflower cheese or steamed mange tout.