Lamb is such a delicious meat. I like it not only for the flavor but also because it such an easy meat to cook. It should only have the briefest amount of cooking to render it and then left to rest. This will create soft, succulent, tasty lamb.
In this recipe of roast lamb with Madeira sauce, a boned leg is roasted very simply with a drizzle of oil and some fresh herbs. What makes the dish extra special is the sauce. Using the juices released during resting, the residue from the roasting, stock and a little sweet alcohol you will very quickly and easily have a cracking sauce. I suggest Madeira but you can use any sweet wine or sherry. In France, I remember eating this cut of lamb with a sticky sauce using Pineau de Charentes, a Sauternes, style wine.
- 1 lb./500 g. leg of lamb (boned and rolled, ask your butcher to do this for you)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
- Few sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 pint/500 g. chicken stock (dark)
- 50 ml. Madeira (or a Pineau de Charentes/ Sweet wine or Sherry)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 220°C/475°F/Gas 8
Rub the lamb all over with a generous smear of olive oil.
Place the lamb on a roasting rack, pop this into a roasting tin and lay the rosemary on top.
Place the tin in the preheated oven and roast for 45 minutes for rare, 60 minutes for medium to well done.
Leave the lamb to rest, (see note below) wrapped in foil and covered in a thick bath towel for at least 30 minutes, 60 if you can.
Pour away only the fat in the roasting tin and place on a high heat on top of the stove until smoking slightly. Pour in the chosen alcohol and reduce to a syrup scraping up the residue on the bottom of the pan.
Add the chicken stock and any juices released by the rested lamb. Reduce by two-thirds. Adjust the seasoning and whisk in 1/4 teaspoon of cold butter. Strain through a fine sieve into a gravy boat and keep warm.
Once the lamb is well rested, slice thickly and serve on hot plates surrounded by the sauce.
Resting the Lamb Note
It is very important when cooking lamb to let it rest. This allows the fibres in the meat to relax after the heat of cooking. The relaxation of the fibres makes the meat soft and tender when served.
To rest the lamb, wrap it in foil and cover with a thick hand towel to insulate it. As the fibres relax, juices are released, these should be saved and used to enrichen the sauce. Serve the lamb onto hot plates and this will give back enough heat to the slices without cooking it further.