I used to dread cooking a roast lamb leg as I could never cook it so that it was tender and soft instead it would be tough leathery and in need of a very sharp steak knife. Luckily I was at a friend’s house one day and his house mate a fairly humorous New Zealander was cooking lamb for lunch and asked us to join him. You can imagine my delight after years of failed attempts that I put my knife to the meat and it wilted before my blade and then slowly melted on my tongue. Obviously I asked him how to cook it and I am going to give you my secret.
Cooking time: 8 Hours
Grease proof paper. Roasting tin with wire rack. Oven heated to 90 degree centigrade.
1 Whole leg of lamb. ½ – ¾ good quality red currant jam. 1 good sized bunch of rosemary. 2 ½ – 3 cloves of garlic. Salt and pepper.
Cut the rosemary in to three inch strips and bash lightly with a tenderizing hammer to start releasing the flavour and add to your jam in a bowl. Then add to the mix your garlic crushed and a nice portion of both salt and pepper.
Cut a piece of greaseproof paper big enough to wrap your lamb in a rough parcel and leave room around the meat to create a steam bag.
Lay the meat on the paper and rub into it the jam mixture making sure the whole leg is covered.
Wrap the meat up making sure there is a good amount of air around the meat you can even use staples to seal the bag just be careful they do get hot.
Place in the oven for eight hours occasionally moving the meat to disturb the juices forming in the bag.
After 8 hours un-wrap the meat saving the juice and place back in the oven for 50 minutes at 200 degrees centigrade to finish.
This would be a perfect time to put some roasted vegetable or potato in the oven to crisp and remember to use the fat and juice from the meat to baste your meat and potatoes as this will keep everything moist and full of flavour. This recipe does take a lot of time to cook yes but is perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The meat is simply to die for after all this slow cooking and generally falls off the bone and is deeply enriched by the sweet jam. This dish would be accompanied by a nice dry white wine to cleanse the palate between bites that way it’s like tasting it for the first time again.