The Sunday roast is a tradition in many homes. It’s a special occasion dish which requires a good few hours to bring together and it’s equally satisfying to eat as it can take any number of hours to enjoy. How fortunate that I didn’t have anywhere to be other than my kitchen, with a (gloomy overcast day) and a fridge stocked full of delicious contents waiting to be turned into a feast!!! This was partly due to (and thanks) to my friend who I bribed with a bottle of wine to drive me to the shops! Thank you friend!!!
As I’ve tried to perfect this recipe over the last few years, it’s always been a balance of the liquids which ultimately lead to my success. Outlined below is a step by step thought process which indicates the when, where and the what which leads to what I believe is a beautiful, meltingly tender piece of meat which falls off the bone. You can add or omit the ingredients below to suit your needs, or indeed pantry…Happy Cooking!
Lamb leg, best left with Shank on,
1 garlic bulb,
3 small brown onions,
Good handful of Rosemary,
a few Bay leaves
Salt and pepper
Garnish of Assorted herbs to finish the Lamb, I’ve used Thyme, parsley & coriander,
Freshly boiled Water (as needed.)
**Optional glug of red wine**
Puy Lentils & braised fennel are also terrific in the braise.
You’ll also need a Shallow roasting pan,
Time: 6- 8 hours approx depending on your oven temp…this also includes your resting time too.
Firstly, bring the Lamb Leg to room temperature, for a good hour (at least).
15 mins before that hour is up, preheat the oven to 220C (428F)
Oil a shallow roasting tray and cut the garlic and onions width ways. Add the lamb leg (skin side up) and season with the salt & pepper, generously. Also you can arrange the Rosemary and tuck some bay leaves around the lamb.
I add approximately 1.5 cups of water at this stage and place the lamb in the centre rack of the oven for at least 35 mins, optional add a glug of red wine if you like.
After the first 30 mins are up, spoon some of the juices over the lamb leg.
Reduce temperature to approx 180C (356 F) and now begins the slow cook.
For the next hour & a half monitor the lamb, (basting) the juices over the meat if it begins to look too dry, (alternatively cover with aluminium foil too,)
Once the hour and half are up, check the lamb and (carefully) turn the leg over so the bottom is now up and vice versa. Add another 2 cups of water, as hopefully the stock begins to concentrate and caramelise. You can also begin to mush some of the (softened) garlic and onion over the skin to impart even more flavour.
Reduce the oven temp to 140C (284F)
Continue cooking for another two hours (basting again) and after the two hours are up turn the meat right way up again. It should now be a deep, dark hue all over.
Time to add another glug of wine (and) another cup of water. My oven tends to evaporate the steam off rather quickly, so what I’m doing is replacing the liquids lost so the meat is continuously soaking up the moisture and (becoming softer and pliable.)
This process can take anywhere from 6-8hrs and eventually you’ll see the meat shrink right down and expose the bone.
After the first 6 hours or so the roast should be a deep colour. At this point if you plan to eat (in the next hour or so) you can turn the oven off and leave the roast in the residual heat to continue cooking. I might do this for up to an hour and a half.
Without a doubt, any resting time will help to improve the texture of the meat.
Finally remove the pan from the oven, mush some more garlic and onion over the lamb. You can begin to shred a few pieces away from the bone (which hopefully melt under the tongs) and finish the dish with your herbs and choice of sides.