Roast Leg of Lamb Laced with Wild Garlic Recipe
The secret of this spring dish lies in the brief and viciously hot cooking and in the long well-insulated resting. This leaves the joint with a beautifully caramelised outer layer and a pink meltingly tender inside.
A 2kg leg of lamb this size will feed six to eight hungry people, but is also brilliant as a source of cold leftovers.
As with most meat cookery it is important to allow the lamb to come to room temperature before cooking: keep the leg closely wrapped in a clean tea towel in a corner of the kitchen for four hours prior to cooking.
Serves six to eight
1 whole 2kg leg of lamb at room temperature
A bunch of wild garlic leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 240°C.
- Gather a few old but clean towels, blankets, bed-spreads or sleeping bags – in fact, anything that has good insulating properties.
- Tear the wild garlic into 3 cm pieces.
- Deeply stab the flesh of the lamb with a slim paring knife in about eight places on each side. Push the garlic deep into the cuts.
- Generously smear the leg with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt and ground black pepper.
- Position the leg in a deep roasting tray and place into the centre of the oven. Roast for 15 minutes until brown and sizzling (there may be some smoke, but be brave!).
- Turn the lamb and give it just 8 minutes more, then remove the tray from the oven onto a couple of towels covered with foil. Tightly cover the lamb with more foil, then pile a good layer of towels, etc, on top and leave for one and a half hours. This resting is essential as it allows the lamb to relax as it continues to gently cook. The meat will be pink, but not bloody.
- Half an hour before the end of resting time, make the gravy: pour the juices from the baking tray into a saucepan and carefully remove and discard any fat. Add a glass of good quality red wine and a dash of port or sweet sherry and boil to reduced by half. Thicken with a small knob of flour and butter paste (Beurre Manié). The gravy shouldn’t need any added salt as there will be enough from the lamb.
- Strain through a fine sieve and serve.