from one generation to the next
Roast leg of lamb was once considered the quintessential Australian meal. It’s an old favourite in my family, though usually I buy the leg deboned and butterflied by my wonderful butcher. I then roast it flat, very quickly in my charcoal fired kettle barbeque.
We’re almost at the end of the salt bush hogget that I bought in Burra on the homeward journey of our recent big trip, but I still had one leg to cook. I recently came across a recipe for a leg of lamb pot roasted in the oven. In a trial run, the flavour was disappointing, but the method was successful enough to warrant a rework of the ingredients.
I’ve stuck to the original concept of flavours from the Eastern Mediterranean. Almost completely covering the lamb with stock at the beginning means that in the initial stages of the slow roast, the meat braises, but as the juices evaporate the flavour of the sauce intensifies and the outside of the lamb develops a luscious crust.
I made a simple lemon and herb pilau, and served the unctious meat on top with the mint infused roasting juices reduced to a sauce. A simple crisp green salad was all that was needed to balance the rich moist meat.
1 leg of lamb, shank removed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup wine red or white
1 tablespoon Greek oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
a large sprig of fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoones ground sumac
1 lemon, sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and squashed
2 cups lamb stock
1 tablespoon tomato concentrate
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
Season the leg of lamb generously with sea salt and pepper.
Heat a large, deep, cast iron casserole dish add the oil the brown the leg of lamb on all sides. Remove the leg, then deglaze the pan with the wine.
Add the herbs and spices, the lemon and garlic, the tomato concentrate.
Bring to the liquid to the boil, then return the lamb to the pot.
Add enough hot stock to almost cover the joint. Return the stock to the boil then transfer to the oven and slow roast for 3 hours. By this time The meat should be falling off the bone.
Remove the leg of lamb from the casserole dish, strain the juices into a small saucepan and skim off any fat.
Reduce the liquid over a high heat to saucing consistency, adjust the seasoning with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and honey or brown sugar. Stir in the chopped mint. Serve the sauce alongside the lamb.
Serves 6 generously.