Australian Roast Lamb

large leg of lamb

August 7th, 2012

I bought an Australian leg of lamb from the butcher for £12 – Marek assured me that it’s the best in the world, but he did grow up and train as a butcher there. You don’t see much Australian lamb in the shops here, it’s mainly from Britain or New Zealand, but Australia is one of the worlds biggest sheep farming nations and home to about 68 million sheep!

I didn’t realise what sort of bargain I had until I unwrapped the leg to cook it. The usual leg joints bought here stop at the ball joint in the leg – if you look at the picture above, you’ll see that the Australian cut is more generous (it weighed about 5lb). I had to use a much larger roasting tray than normal  – the one above is usually reserved for goose or turkey.

studded with rosemary and garlic

I like to poke holes in the lamb with a sharp knife and push in a slice of garlic and sprig of rosemary. This flavours the meat as it cooks. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the top along with some sea salt and cracked black pepper (you have to keep Uncle Monty happy). Pour a splash of red wine vinegar and a glass of red wine into the tray – this will form the base for gravy as it cooks with the lamb juices.

roast lamb

Turn the oven on to full and put the lamb in when it’s hot. Immediately turn the thermostat down to 180 – 200ºC and cook for about 1 hour and fifteen minutes – baste the lamb every 20 minutes with the juices in the pan. When cooked, keep the meat warm (wrap it in foil) and let it rest for 30 minutes. In the meantime, make some gravy with the juices and some vegetable stock.

Serve with roast potatoes and seasonable vegetables – I had some broad beans, carrots and peas. Don’t forget the mint sauce! It was very good lamb, I’m not sure it would beat a British salt marsh lamb, but it did make for an excellent dinner.

I suppose I should have been drinking and Australian red, such as Jacob’s Creek Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, but in fact I had a glass of Spanish Era Costana Crianza which was very nice.

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25 Responses to Australian Roast Lamb

  1. Good choice, i’d go the Crianza over the Jacob’s crap any day of the week.

  2. What an amazing joint of lamb, cooked perfectly by you! I don’t usually approve of bringing meat from the other side of the world when we have lamb here in Europe, but I think I’d make an exception for something like this. I’d definitely go for the Spanish wine in any circumstances, though, as I find any new world wines give me a headache…..I know too much of any wine can cause headaches, but really I can’t drink Australian wine.

    • Mad Dog says:

      I’m with you completely – I think we should all eat as locally as possible, but the butcher is very reliable, so when he says, “Buy this it’s good”, I know it’s worthwhile.

  3. Chris says:

    Looks like a caveman’s dream dinner. I’ll have to try slitting the skin and putting in herbs and garlic the next time I cook something. Thanks for this!
    -Chris

  4. ChgoJohn says:

    We need to check our family trees, MD. This could easily pass as a Bartolini-prepared roast leg of lamb. There may be a few very minor differences but none so large as to be able to declare one method better than the other. Here’s where I’d normally say something like how I could imagine how good it tasted. Well, I don’t need to imagine, having been served this roast virtually every Easter while growing up. It was good then and I’m sure yours was every bit as good now. Well done!

    • Mad Dog says:

      That’s a big compliment – thanks John! I’m fairly sure my family is quite Anglo Saxon, though the Roman were in Britain for a considerable time…

  5. I’ve not made a leg of lamb in so long.. you’ve got me thinking it’s time to do something about that. Especially since your recipe is one that would be easy to prepare here at the lake! You must have been so surprised when opening the paper and seeing such a magnificent piece of lamb!!

  6. cecilia g says:

    I pride myself on being quite the cook when it comes to lamb. We ate lamb or mutton or hogget (depending on the season) at least twice a week as kids in NZ. So as I was reading your method i was nodding and Hmm, mming. Perfect! I am sure it was very tasty.. This is how our cuts are at home too except the shank is till there as well, just cut mostly through so you could bend it into the pan.. my dad always ate that bit first .. c

  7. Perfect! Garlic, rosemary and a huge lamb leg. And red wine gravy!

  8. The Red Box Gal says:

    Hey Mad Dog
    That is a lovely lamb roast. I am originally from the uk but living in Australia for some years now. Here a roast is called a baked dinner because all of the veg is roasted in the oven along side the meat. Carrots, pumpkin etc it all goes in the oven, very easy to cook and wash up after! The best discovery for me was baked brussel sprouts, they taste fantastic roasted, they dont take long to bake but taste kind of caramalised somehow, people who hate brussel sprouts seem quite happy to eat them when they are done this way.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Hi The Red Box Gal, thanks for stopping by. I spent 6 months in Australia a long time ago – 1980. It seems like yesterday, where did all that time go…

  9. Karen says:

    I don’t think I would ever have a chance to buy Australian lamb here in New England. I do love leg of lamb and the way you prepared it sounds perfect. My husband loves mint sauce with lamb.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Karen, it’s quite rare in England – there’s a good market for British lamb and the most common imports to cover the time when lambs out of season come from New Zealand.

  10. Pingback: Lamb and Harissa | Mad Dog TV Dinners

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