Monday, July 23, 2007

Simon Hopkinson's roast lamb with garlic, rosemary and anchovies

Time for a roast, I thought, standing in front of the butcher's cabinet, gazing at the offerings. And yes, lamb is still expensive... but I did a roast chicken a few weeks ago, and I wasn't in the mood for pork or beef. Lamb it is. And lamb is such a delicious treat.
This is the lamb that Simon Hopkinson spruiks in his book Roast Chicken and Other Stories.
I've been wanting to try it for AGES... so was very excited about having a go.

Get your lamb in a baking dish. I used a serrated knife to saw off any big gobs of fat, or to trim the fat layer on the top. Stab the lamb about a dozen times all over. Into each stab-hole, poke a peeled garlic clove, half a tinned anchovy and some fresh rosemary leaves. Pour some of the anchovy oil over the lamb, or just use olive oil. Roast in a moderately hot oven (mine was set at about 190C or 200C) until done as you like it. Mine took about two and a half hours, but then again my oven is not that reliable. And my lamb leg was sort of big. And it could have been a bit rarer.
In any case, slower and longer roasting is definitely better than the alternative. Just put it in early: you can always heat it up if it's done too soon.

About 40 minutes before the end, I threw in some scrubbed halved potatoes. To go with, we made caramelised onion (sliced onion + sugar + olive oil + salt over low heat till golden and sticky) and some blanched fresh peas. The fresh peas were a lovely balance to the rich lamb flavours and added a shot of green colour.
Another great accompaniment would be Nigella's goosefat potatoes. So crispy... and roasty...

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