Slow Roasted Welsh Leg of Lamb
This dish is dedicated to Gianna who has asked me for this recipe every time she comes over from Italy with her family to stay at our house. Finally after a number of years I have sat down to write the recipe.
Welsh lamb is succulent, flavoursome and when cooked slowly as in this dish there is hardly the need to carve the meat as it just falls apart when you serve.
To me Welsh lamb when cooked properly is one of the best meats available and with over 11 million sheep in Wales we have had enough opportunity to practice cooking it.
There are two ways to cook a leg of lamb which will depend on the age and time of year you buy it. Spring lamb needs to be cooked quickly at a high heat and should be slightly pink when carved but I prefer mine when the lamb in slightly older, autumn time, as I believe it has more taste. This leg of lamb needs to be cooked at a high heat and then turned down and cooked slowly for a few hours.
I bought this leg in my local butchers in Denbigh, J H Jones and the lamb came from the butchers own farm in Cyffylliog, how more local than that can you get.
For this dish I have kept the ingredients simple.
Serves 6 to 8 people
Whole leg of Welsh Lamb 2.6kgs
3 sprigs of rosemary chopped or 2 tsp chopped dried rosemary
2 bay leaves chopped
1 tbs olive oil
1 large bulb of garlic, cloves pealed
1/2tsp pepper corns
For the gravy
1 garlic bulb
Place all the ingredients for the paste in a pestle and mortar and bash away till you have a reasonably smooth paste. Pierce the meat with a sharp knife, don't be shy you need the flavours to permeate throughout the joint. Smother the leg of lamb with the paste, cover and allow to marinade for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight in the fridge.
When you are ready to cook take a roasting tin cut a large carrot or two small carrots in half. Remove the skin from the onion and cut into four. Cut the bulb of garlic in half and place all in the bottom of the roasting tin. Pour in 500ml of water and then place the lamb on top of the vegetables. Cover with foil and place the roasting tin in a preheated oven at 200°C for about 35 to 40 minutes. Reduce the heat after this to 160°C and cook for a further 2 1/2 hours.
For the last 1/2 hour remove the foil. When cooked place the lamb on a warm serving plate to rest and cover with foil. The vegetables in the roasting tin will have cooked down and combined with the meat juices will provide a fantastic basis for your gravy.
After you have removed the lamb remove the veg and place in a bowl, carefully prise out the succulent garlic cloves from their casings and then discard the peelings, and pour the juices into the bowl. Allow to stand for a minute until you can see the fat raise to the top, remove the fat and place back into the roasting tin then blitz the remaining juices and veg together. Put the roasting tin on a low to medium heat and when the fat starts to bubble add a heaped tablespoon of flour. This is where you need to be quick with a whisk stir quickly to mix the fat and flour together in the tin. When you have a paste type consistency start adding the remaining juices and mix together. You will need to add water at this point till the gravy is at the consistency you like.
Serve the lamb with your favourite veg and potatoes and don't forget the mint sauce.