After a winter that George R.R Martin would be proud of the signs are definitely there that the worst is over. The flowers will begin to bloom, bees will buzz and lambs will frollick happily in the fields well for a short time at least they will because they are very tasty, lamb not bees.
It's a fine meat is lamb, not my absolute favourite but in the top three after Beef (steeeeeak) and Venison. It can be used as a work of art with a rack of lamb in fine dining, form a hearty meal with slow cooked shanks or as part of Sunday dinner and many meals afterwards with a slow roast leg.
It is this latter I cooked a couple of weekends ago, fancying something different than the usual chicken and beef. I also wanted to have another go at slow cooking meat, Heston style such as the unbelievably amazing beef I cooked for Christmas dinner. Fortunately the bald headed genius didn't let me down with a recipe in Heston at Home for a slow roast leg of lamb with Anchovies, garlic and rosemary.
The recipe is a little bit more complicated than the beef but the extra stages in it are well worth carrying out. Blanching the garlic repeatedly in milk, takes away all the harshness and leaves a mellow little clove to do its job. The anchovies are a revelation, as it states int he book, the fishyness vanishes and leaves little salt explosions which are just superb. The meat...utterly amazing, soft, juicy, cuts like butter and practically melts in the mouth.
Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb
1 leg of lamb about 1.5 -2 kilos
6 cloves of garlic
12 anchovies in olive oil, drained and cut in half
3-4 sprigs of rosemary
Get your oven nice and hot to 80C (not a typo).
Heat the oil in a large frying pan until smoking hot. sear and brown the lamb on all sides until golden brown. Remove and place in a roasting tray
Cover the garlic in a small saucepan with 100ml of milk and bring slowly to the boil, once it boils remove from the heat, rinse and drain the garlic with cold water. repeat 3 more times with the remainder of the milk.
Cut the garlic into slivers.
Using a very sharp knife cut slits into the lamb at regular intervals and stuff with an anchovy, rosemary leaves and a garlic sliver.
Place the lamb into the oven until core temperature reaches 55 degrees Celsius, about 3 hours. We went to the pub during this time and over cooked by 10 degrees but it was still nice and pink so the choice is yours to the final temperature. Don't go much further though.
Wrap in foil for half n hour to rest then slice and serve with trimmings of your choice.