Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb

4:07 am on 12 July 2008


  • leg of Lamb
  • 8 sprigs of rosemary
  • couple of cloves of garlic
  • 4 onions
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • equal quantities of flour and butter

I would suggest the lamb is served with creamy mashed potato and tossed silverbeet with the addition of a little finely sliced savoy cabbage.


Trim the leg of lamb of excess fat and sit on a bed of rosemary, say about 8 sprigs and a couple of crushed cloves of garlic in a roasting dish.

Try to use a dish not much larger than the size of the lamb - if you use a large roasting dish the liquid evaporates too quickly before the lamb is cooked.

Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius and roast the lamb for about 45 minutes and pour off any excess fat. This helps to start the meat juices to caramelise.
Pour round 1x 400g tin of diced peeled tomatoes. 

Place 4 onions, peeled and cut into wedges round the edge of the meat.
Add 1 to 2 cups of water depending upon the size of the meat dish used, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. I also add about 4 bay leaves and 2 sticks of cinnamon.

Turn the oven to 100oC fan bake or 120oC bake and put the lamb in the oven uncovered.

All this can happen at 11 o'clock in the morning. You can go about your business and leave the meat quietly cooking for about 7 to 8 hours. 
If you are concerned that too much liquid is evaporating simply cover the dish with a sheet of aluminium foil or add a little more water. Before serving take the lamb from the pan and leave to rest 20 minutes or so.
Remove all fat from the top of the pan juices and onions and if the juice tastes a little "thin" just boil it on the top of the stove to strengthen the flavour. - I don't thicken the juices although you could use a little kneaded butter if you wished to give the juices a more syrupy consistency. 

Kneaded butter is made by rubbing together an equal quantity of butter and flour so the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. 
It is used when you want to thicken an indeterminate amount of liquid. Sprinkle the flour butter mixture on top of the hot, but not boiling liquid. As the butter melts the flour is incorporated into the liquid. Return to the boil and simmer gently 2 to 3 minutes.
I would suggest the lamb is served with creamy mashed potato and tossed silverbeet with the addition of a little finely sliced savoy cabbage.

Blanch the cleaned silverbeet in a little boiling water. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain again, and then chop coarsely and also finely slice some savoy cabbage. Reheat in a knob of butter or a tablespoon of olive oil in which you have sautéed a clove of chopped garlic. Toss over a high heat until heated through. Season with salt, black pepper, a grinding of nutmeg and I like to add a squeeze of lemon juice. 

Have your dinner plates very hot - place a generous dollop of mashed potato on the plates - arrange the carved slices (or pieces) of lamb on the top and then spoon over the juices with the slow cooked onion wedges. I tend to ignore the bits of rosemary and the bay leaves, but remove them if you choose and then let your guests help themselves to the silverbeet and cabbage mix.

When the lamb is cooked like this the meat is tender, juicy, succulent and well cooked. Sometimes I cook potatoes around the lamb too, which I add halfway through the cooking. In this case I prefer the juice not thickened. Serve with a hot green vegetable or else a salad of mixed greens. As the plates are very hot I suggest serving the salad in individual bowls.

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan

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