Leg of Lamb

– Part of our memories of England, Tuscany and now India –

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The dish I served at one of my first dinner parties I gave way back in England to introduce JS to some of my friends was, at his request “English Leg of Lamb with all the trimmings” and he still keeps talking about it. He absolutely loved it and I could have made this for him quite easily once a week then.
When later we went to Florence, this beautiful city, I happen to mention to some of our Italian friends the “English Leg of Lamb……” story and guess what! Yes – right, one day at a beautiful Lunch in the Tuscan Countryside they served “Tuscan Leg of Lamb with a spread of beautifully oven roasted vegetables” from their garden – both JS and I thought we had gone to heaven.

But with all this incredible deliciousness maybe secretly a few of Indian spices were missing? So, it happened that when we returned home to South India we managed to get a nice piece of Lamb from one of our meat suppliers in town and set about making for a change an “Indian Leg of Lamb….

All this happened nearly 14 years ago and over time all three variations merged somewhat and we came up with our own Lamb dish.

We managed to get this piece of meat, just around 1 kg, from our new Hypermarket and …… forgot about it for some time in our freezer, until the other day when I had some sort of clear-out.

So in order not to keep on talking about all this, here is what we did earlier this week. But be warned, the “heat” is on (to suit our own taste), but of course, as always, you can turn it down a bit – not too much, though!!

For 2 people I used:

1 x Leg of Lamb, just around 1 kg
6 x green chillies (1 x cut into very thin rings, the rest cut in half)
3 x Onions, peeled and cut into quarters
6 x Carrots, peeled and cut into little chunks (see photos)
6 x Tomatoes, skin removed and cut into quarters
6 x Potatoes, peeled and cut into halves
1 x whole garlic bulb
8 – 10 x garlic cloves, peeled
Some slices of fresh ginger
1 ½ x tsp of Fennel seeds
1 ½ x tsp of Cumin powder
2 x Tbsp Chilli powder
1 ½ Tbsp Garam Masala powder
Salt and black pepper, to your taste
Some Bay leafs
1 whole bunch of fresh Coriander, washed, roots removed
1 x small bunch of fresh Mint, washed, roots removed
1 x handful of olives (from a jar)
1 x Tbsp good Balsamic Vinegar
1 – 2 x Tbsp of Malt Vinegar (check for your taste)
1 – 2 x cups of Water (mixed with the 2 vinegars)

How to prepare your Leg of Lamb:

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On a large baking sheet (big enough to hold the whole leg) put the following: chilli powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder, some salt and black pepper; mix this well, take your Leg of Lamb and just lay it on top of all your above spices and cover the whole leg well from all sides.

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Then, with a sharp knife, cut as many gashes into the meat as you like, (I cut 10) and stuff each one with a whole peeled garlic pod (remember, our garlic is small and so I use more here in India then I would back in Europe). I also cut 4 more gashes which I stuffed each with a sliver of fresh ginger. Cover lightly with a clean cloth and keep aside.

Pre-heat your oven to 200 C.

How to prepare the “bed” for the Leg of Lamb:

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Take a baking pan (as in the photograph) – line the base loosely with a number of bay leaves, add all the green chillies, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, onions, the garlic bulb, olives.

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Sprinkle some salt over the vegetables and then lay your Leg of Lamb on top of all this.

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And now here is something we learned in Tuscany, cover the meat with all your fresh mint and coriander. This not only gives your meat a subtle flavour but also protects it from coming in direct contact with the foil.

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Mix your 2 vinegars with the water and pour all around the meat and a couple of teaspoons of olive oil (you can of course also use vegetable oil) directly over the meat.

Now cover the whole lot loosely with foil and put it in the pre-heated oven for some time.

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Some time’ I say here, because it all varies from meat to meat and from oven to oven – never the 2 are the same!! So start of as usual, but keep checking after 1 ½ hours.

I checked this time after 2 hours but the meat was not quite ready, so back in it went again for another 20 minutes, checked, done! The smell was enticing – the meat came nearly off the bone.

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I let it rest, with cover on, for 15 minutes and then we were able to sit down for our Lunch.

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N.B. We also like to add some (frozen) green peas, but unfortunately I had non in the freezer this time.

Re the spices, of course you can tone this down a bit, but remember, this is not a traditional ‘European Leg of Lamb’.

Since I do not eat much rice, but enjoy lots of vegetables, I will include more carrots, onions and tomatoes next time.

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So, that’s it! Guten Appetit.

Namaskaram
Carina

34 thoughts on “Leg of Lamb

  1. Beautiful dish with great flavours especially roasted on that bed of colourful veggies.

    I love lamb but have only prepared it a few times as it’s on the pricey side even on sale. I prefer boning out the leg of lamb, butterflying it, seasoning and then re-rolling and roasting to reduce cooking time and making serving easier. The last time I did it, I bbq’d the leg and the roasted meat was delicious.

    http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/178414.html

    Ground lamb or lamb chops are wonderful as well and I’ve made a few dishes.

    http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/tag/lamb

    • Wow – I never tried my hand on butterflying – gret job you did there. Sadly the price for lamb is on the high side everywhere. Cooking the lamb on their vegetable bed gives them an incredible flavour and I happily can eat them even all by themselfs with just a roti.

      • Thank you for the compliment. I’m a biologist. Put a scalpel or other sharp instrument in my hand and I go to town.🙂

        I enjoy roasts as well especially on root veggies like potatoes, onions and carrots. Peppers are lovely as well.

  2. I love reading about your adventures, especially how you integrate a story about dining. There were three iterations in this post, all of which had a moment where people came together to enjoy good food and even better company. Have a wonderful day.

  3. [Since I am potty about lamb, fusion food, Indian spices and the fun of your cooking, just had to pop in from work ! ] Shall copy the meat part exactly with whatever part of lamb I buy. Am not ‘big’ on roasts and hardly ever eat potatoes and brown rice is welcome 5x a week🙂 ! Love your heavyish use of coriander, mint and bay . . . just as well that Tuesday will be monthly ‘food order day’🙂 !!

    • Work? I thought you take a month rest?🙂 – I do love lamb, nicely pink and …..with all the trimmings! Maybe because I was use to this most of my life but this recipe here which is really a special (and different) treat for us, is a wonderful change and it does have of course a few lovely (international) memories attached. The idea re the ‘bay’ comes from Mom’s kitchen, ‘coriander and mint’ comes from Tuscany and JS – as you know we do use plenty of both in our cooking here. Being German, of course I love my potatoes🙂 and rice, we tried brown, but ……somehow it does not gel with us🙂🙂🙂.

  4. Fantastic post Carina. I’m lazing in bed on Sunday morning (not my usual style) catching up on my reading. This is really lovely. The spice mix must really make a very punchy lamb. I encourage you to up the heat in that curry you reviewed. My approach will disappoint you.

  5. thanks Conor – lovely! staying in bed, coffee or tea (no doubt made by Mrs C.B.:) ) and reading the bulk of Sunday papers. Yes, it is ‘punchy’ alright but we also like it the traditional way. And I doubt I will play around with your lamb recipe – the first time I always stick to the original recipe – and knowing you be now, there is absolutely nothing amiss.

  6. Your leg of lamb looks absolutely amazing! I like the spiced up idea. We don’t usually eat lamb, so I am not really used to this type of meat, but I think I am getting confident enough to try this sometime.🙂

    • welcome to my kitchen, Helene – (are you German??) of course you can not compare our ‘lamb’ here with for example NZ lamb, but …..yes, it was very tasty indeed. Even if you never have cooked lamb before, my recipe is so dead easy, even a child could do it🙂🙂 – go on, be daring and have a go.

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