For the perfectly cooked roast leg of lamb, one of the best ways to cook it is with this Lamb in a Blanket Recipe. It may seem an odd way to cook any meat, but it's based on a timeworn method of cooking when the meat would have a long slow cooking wrapped in the hay.
I was first taught this method of cooking when I lived in France. Initially, I was sceptical and a little scared, but assured by my teacher that I would marvel at the results, I gave it a try. I have to say it produced the juiciest, most tender roast lamb I have ever eaten. Having now cooked it many times, I can assure you, you will not be disappointed. Serve it with a delicious gravy, a fresh mint sauce and some crunchy roast potatoes.
- 2kg/4½lb leg of lamb, on the bone
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper.
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 125ml/4½ fl oz red wine
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose/plain flour
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
The success of this recipes depends on using good quality, fresh meat and starting the recipe with the meat at room temperature. If your meat has been in the refrigerator remove it for at least one hour before cooking.
- Heat the oven to 455F/230C/Gas 8
- Lay the leg of lamb on a chopping board with skin side up. Using a sharp knife make approx 20 tiny slits into and under the skin taking care not to cut into the meat. Slide a slice of garlic into each slit pushing it well under.
- Place the lamb, skin side up into a large roasting tin and rub the olive oil all over the surface using your hand. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and black pepper and place into the hot oven, uncovered for 55 minutes. The heat of the oven will cause the fat to melt and spit, there may also be some smoke but be assured this is quite normal.
- Remove the lamb from the oven, take care as the tin and the meat will be very hot and the fat may still be spitting. Lay the rosemary sprigs on the lamb and immediately, completely wrap the tin with 3 layers of aluminum foil. Then wrap the whole package with a thick blanket or I sometimes use several large, thick bath towels. Place the package somewhere warm but not hot and leave for 6 (for rare) or up to 8 hours (for medium rare to medium lamb). The lamb continues to cook slowly in its thick wrapping using the residual heat and steam from the meat, bone and roasting tin. As it cooks really slowly the lamb softens and releases lots of juices to use later for the gravy.
- After your chosen time, unwrap the lamb and remove it from the roasting tin onto a carving board and cover again with the foil.
- Make the gravy - place the roasting tin into the stove top over a high heat, once the juices are bubbling add the red wine and stir well. Turn the heat down and leave the sauce to reduce.
- Meanwhile mix the flour and butter together to form a paste. Once the sauce has thickened slightly, turn up the heat and add the flour paste and whisk until all the flour is absorbed and the sauce has thickened. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste then strain into a warmed gravy jug.
- Carve the lamb and serve immediately onto hot plates with a little gravy and fresh seasonal vegetables.
If the lamb is undercooked for your liking - after carving place the lamb slices into a hot oven for a few minutes but no longer than 5 or the lamb will start to tighten up and become a little tougher.