Rosemary Stuffed Leg of Lamb
We are surrounded by sheep. Granted they’re not as close as when we lived on the edge of the Curragh, they are still a daily sighting on the outskirts of Newbridge. It’s a welcome change for me – it’s not too often that we get to see live animals that are destined for our plates anymore. When was the last time you saw a pig in a field or a chicken clucking around? Sheep and cows still keep us grounded. They remind us that meat does in fact come from a once living animal and reinforces that the circle of life isn’t just a particularly catchy tune from The Lion King.
Every Easter I cook a leg of lamb for the family. My preference is to avoid Spring lamb and instead cook an older, more flavourful hogget leg. Spring lamb just hasn’t been alive long enough to develop any meaningful flavour or texture although with Easter so late this year, I may be proven wrong. The hogget however has a big meaty flavour, great texture and is often far cheaper. Being older and having developed and matured it can also be boned out without sacrificing too much flavour. Boned and rolled, it is then very simple to cook and slice to feed the entire family.
1 Leg of Lamb (Older Lamb or Hogget preferable)
6 sprigs of Rosemary (leaves picked from 3 sprigs)
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Onions (roughly chopped)
2 Carrots (roughly chopped)
2 sticks of Celery (roughly chopped)
4 cloves of Garlic (unpeeled)
1 Bay Leaf
2 sprigs of Thyme
1 heaped tbsp Flour
600ml of Chicken Stock
1/2 tsp Mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
Bone and butterfly the leg of lamb by following the instructions here. You could ask your butcher to do this either.
Lay the butterflied leg out on a board skin side down. Season generously with salt and pepper before scattering over the rosemary leaves from 3 of the sprigs. Drizzle over the olive oil and roll up the lamb so that it resembles the leg again. Tie with butchers string to keep in place, tucking the remaining sprigs of rosemary under the string.
On a baking tray, make a trivet with the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Put the lamb on top before seasoning with salt and pepper. Put into a 200 degree C. (conventional) or 170 degree C. (fan) oven and cook until done to your liking. I like mine cooked to about 70 degrees.
Once the lamb is cooked, remove to a plate and allow to rest while you make the gravy. Add the roasting juices and vegetables from the tray into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and add in the flour. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, season and simmer for 10 minutes before straining through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Make sure to use a ladle to squeeze every drop of liquid from the vegetables in the sieve before discarding. Bring the gravy back to a simmer and add the mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Check for seasoning.
Remove the string from the lamb and slice into portions. Serve with buttery mashed potato, seasonal vegetables and copious amounts of gravy.