After all, there's gorgeous roast chicken - who doesn't like roast chicken? There's roasted gammon ham - so delicious with creamed leeks and new potatoes. What about a superb roasted rib of beef? So savoury and flavoursome. Roast turkey, too - cooked with love and care, it is a perfect companion to bread sauce and Brussels sprouts. Then, there's a beautiful roast leg of lamb, with mint sauce - need I say more?
For this last Sunday's dinner, we had originally planned to have a piece of salmon, which hubby was going to roast in a spicy glaze. All these good intentions flew out of the window the minute I saw that Tesco were offering a leg of lamb at half price - £10 instead of £20, effectively. When would we be able to lay our hands on an entire leg of lamb for that sort of price again? Probably not for a long time - and it would fit perfectly into hubby's programme of roast dinners that he has embarked upon.
By heck and it was a mighty leg of lamb, too. It only just fitted into our teensy tiny freezer - where it stayed until Saturday.
|There'll be a few dinners out of this one!|
In researching how long it would take to cook, I tripped over an intriguing recipe from BBC Good Food's Sarah Cook for slow roast lamb, with cinnamon, fennel and citrus. Now the minute I mentioned cinnamon, hubby was hooked - but the addition of the word "fennel" had him salivating. So, we'd decided. Now, all that was left was to decide on what to serve with the lamb.
Again, we ultimately changed our minds over this, but the original plan was to serve it with roasted Jersey Royal potatoes with sea salt & rosemary, accompanied by a Spring Vegetable Thoran - which was a midly curried recipe from Anjun Anand.
Hubby had something of a change of heart about the Thoran once half-way through cooking the lamb and quite rightly so, in my opinion. He felt that the two dishes might argue as to which was the star of the show, when in truth the lamb should be the hero of the hour. I think he was absolutely right, and although the Thoran had been a good idea at the time, we hadn't the benefit of smelling the lamb cooking when we'd been planning the accompaniments.
|All dressed in its rub and ready to roast|
We had a bit of a problem where marinating the lamb was concerned, however. It was supposed to be marinated overnight in orange and lemon juice, but we hadn't a bowl, dish or tray that was big enough for the lamb, but that would fit into our small fridge. Even our freezer bags weren't big enough, or we could have put it all together in a freezer bag to marinate. As a consequence, our lamb missed out on being marinated overnight, but - scout's honour - it didn't seem to make one jot of difference.
The lamb is roasted for four and a half hours in total. To say that we had our tongues hanging out of our heads by serving time, is putting it mildly. The aromas that were coming from the oven were just mouthwatering.
|Much, much gorgeousness!|
You, too, could be in this roast dinner nirvana - the very next time you lay your hands on a leg of lamb. Do it - I can't recommend it highly enough.
SLOW ROAST LAMB WITH CINNAMON, FENNEL & CITRUS
1 leg of lamb
zest and juice of one lemon
zest and juice of one orange
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp clear runny honey
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, crushed.
1. Put the lamb into a large (very large!) food bag or container with all the juice and marinate overnight.
2. The following day, take the lamb out of the fridge an hour before you want to cook it.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 200degC(fan)/400degF/Gas7.
4. Remove the lamb from the marinade and reserve the marinade. Pat dry, rub with half the oil and roast for 20-30 minutes or until browned.
5. Remove the lamb and reduce the oven temperature to 140degC(fan)/325degF/Gas3.
6. Mix together the zests, remaining oil, honey, spices and garlic with plenty of seasoning.
7. Line a baking tray with foil and place a large sheet of baking parchment on top. Place the lamb into the middle and rub all over with the spice paste.
8. Pull up the sides of the foil/paper and drizzle the marinade into the parcel, before sealing by scrunching and folding the silver foil.
9. Roast for 4 hours until very tender. Rest in a warm place for 30 minutes (still wrapped).
10. Unwrap and carve to serve.