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.
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.
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.