Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sunday Lunch

No not this for lunch,  just another River Cottage
 resident - actually I do
have a River Cottage (more stream like)
I have a favourite and easy Roast Lamb recipe.  Suffolk was one of the great sheep areas in the Middle Ages and into the 18th Century.  Sheep are no longer the great driver of the Suffolk countryside industry. The soils that could not be easily ploughed, because of the boulder clay was too heavy, have been claimed for arable through mechanisation.  

Local lamb is still to be had.  I use a local butcher in Kedington, we have no real butchers as such in Haverhill.   A leg of lamb purchased from them is  good value and is more than equal to any of the premium supermarket packaged meat.  The recipe does work well with New Zealand lamb, but I like to shop local if I can.

Serves:  5 to 6  2 to 3 kg leg of lamb 5 to 6lb  (with lots of other vegetables can go further)

Cost:   approx £2 to£3 per person      Preparation time: 10-15

Cooking time:  25 minutes per pound/  60 minutes per kg  + 25 minutes over

Food miles: Maximum single ingredient 30 miles from Suffolk
                     11 000 + if you use New Zealand lamb  (Could really do with a carbon footprint on this) 

Amount of Waste produced: Peelings approx; 100 g

Equipment needed

Large Roasting dish big enough for the leg to go in should have quite high sides
Aluminium foil  large enough and wide to go over


Code    Multiple use (will be used in other guises) , Essential , One off

2-3 kg/5 to 6 lb Leg of  Lamb

225g/1/2lb of   Smoked Back Bacon

4 to 5 sticks or one Head?/pack Celery (Good use of the celery if you made the vegetable soup from the previous Blog)
2-3 medium (pool ball sized)  White onions

Fresh Rosemary sprigs (if you have them in the garden, even better grown on poor soil have more flavour and oils)  or dried Rosemary

Apricot Jam (any Brand)

Oil, sunflower, vegetable or even a general olive oil

Method or How to?

Prepare first (15 minutes tops)

Set oven to about 190 C, 180 if fan oven but not critical.   Put enough oil to cover base of the roasting pan to about 5mm.  Put pan into the oven let oil heat up.

Clean and section  the celery in 5mm to 8mm sections   
Chop the dice onions roughly so that about 1 to 2cm pieces

Take the leg of lamb (defrosted if using frozen leg) quickly rinse, give it a shake so water is off pat dry if necessary, take hold of the bone and cut at right angles a pouch into the leg down to the bone but not through the joint   Repeat this every 2 to 3 cms along the leg.  Take a rasher of the smoked bacon and push it into the pouch, repeating for each pouch until all the bacon is used up.   Take the rosemary and push a 1/4 to half teaspoon into the pouch, if using fresh sprigs grab base of sprig and pull through hand taking off the leaves then push into the pouches.

Take the pan out the oven, put the celery and onions in the bottom of the pan, put Lamb on top of the celery and onion, Cover whole roasting pan with aluminium foil so the water from the cooking celery and onion is kept in the pan and around  the lamb.

Put in oven      

Cooking hands off:

Cook the lamb for half the total time

Cooking hands on:  

After the lamb has cooked for half its cooking time remove from the oven.  Take the aluminiumm foil off, avoiding the free facial sauna.  Take the jar of apricot jam and with the back of spoon cover the leg of lamb.  

Cooking hands off: 

Place the leg of lamb in the oven again uncovered allow to cook for the rest of the time.

This is also a good point to also put your Roast potatoes in (par boil then  shaken and or with added flour placed in a hot oil in a roasting dish).  If you have got the timing really well sorted it should be about  12.00.  If you still have a pub within 5 -10 minutes walking distance time for a pint (hopefully veg already peeled ready to peeled and waiting either to be steamed or boiled). 

Ulterior motive for going to the pub is one to stop you opening the oven door to see how it is doing and causing the oven to cool.  Also you are supporting a local institution.  Apparently everybody (yet to meet Mr Everybody) complains about the fact their village or local pub is closing, but they haven't actually used it themselves.  Post Offices also fall into this category.  Sunday lunchtime is still the time when people of the third age of man still go to the pub and have a chat.

Hopefully you make it back after one and lunch can take place without the appearance  of a pagan ritual ...... burnt offerings.

I have cooked this for 15 people in a 12 foot by 12 foot dining room.  All fifteen seated around drop leg and normal dining room table pushed together  in a  T.  It looks after itself and you don't spend time away from the table yourself, admittedly not doing the cunning stunt in the as seen on come dine with me, and it really can't go wrong.  After all the idea is to entertain and not produce Michelin starred restaurant quality food, and also enjoy it yourself! 

Give the lamb a try!


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