roast leg of lamb
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An old fashioned roast leg of lamb – especially whole – is what you’re missing if your family isn’t too big. Half a leg will feed four. There are two of us. We don’t get to have it very often unless we have people round for dinner.
The same goes for the full roast rib of beef, a whole pork belly, a nice big shoulder of lamb or turkey, of course. You pay the price for being selfish and not raising a bunch of kids. Personally though, between you and me, I wouldn’t swap. I’d rather invite friends round once in a while. The kids might not like lamb anyway.
The roast lamb leg is gorgeous, you might want to ask your butcher to butterfly it and remove the bone (it might mean the same thing, I’m not that clued up on butchery lingo). But I like meat on the bone even if it makes carving a minor nightmare. Flavour improves and it makes it more difficult to overcook.
Let me just mention here a digital probe – it is so useful, going with the timing is reliable but if you just want to make sure it’s not completely raw inside (like, you’ve forgotten to take it out of the fridge and bring to room temperature, cardinal sin but it happens) sticking the probe in to see about 65C will let you relax.
- ½ leg of lamb (serves 4) on the bone
- salt and pepper
- 7-10 garlic cloves, depending on the size of the lamb leg, peeled and cut into slivers
- 4-5 anchovy fillets, drained, cut into 1cm pieces
- a few sprigs of rosemary
Score the lamb skin on the diagonal. Make some incisions with a sharp knife on the corners of the scored squares and push in slivers of garlic, anchovy pieces and clumps of rosemary leaves, as much as you can. Turn the joint over and make incisions on the other side, stuffing the garlic etc. into those as well. Season all over with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/gas 9. Place the lamb leg, skin side up, on a roasting tray and roast for 10 minutes. Turn the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4 and roast for further 25-30 minutes, again depending on the size of the leg. It needs 15 minutes per pound on top of the initial 10 minutes’ blast.
When ready (the internal temperature should read 65C, if you have a digital probe), let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.