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ROAST LEG OF LAMB WITH BASIL, PECORINO, GARLIC & WINE

This came about after I cooked a Greek dish that had a stuffing made from a Greek cheese (not unlike pecorino) and ground allspice. I’d never thought about a cheese stuffing for lamb before. So this is just something that came out of my kitchen for Sunday lunch one week: Italian ingredients, Greek-inspired.

 

serves 6–8
120g (4¼oz) pecorino cheese, finely grated
6 garlic cloves, finely grated
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
leaves from a small bunch of basil, plus more to serve (optional)
1.8kg (4lb) leg of lamb
2 medium red onions, cut into wedges
600g (1lb 5oz) small waxy potatoes, scrubbed, then halved or quartered, depending on size
350g (12oz) red and yellow tomatoes, halved
or quartered 250ml (9fl oz) white wine

 

Preheat the oven to 220°C fan (450°F), Gas Mark 8.

Put the cheese, garlic and some salt into a mortar and pound to a rough purée, gradually adding the olive oil. Tear the basil leaves, add them to the mortar and pound them, too.

Place the leg of lamb in a roasting tin. Make deep incisions all over it and push the paste from the mortar down into them. You can also loosen the meat around the bone to make a pocket and push the paste into that, too. Season all
over and put into the oven.

Roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C fan (37 5°F), Gas Mark 5. Add the onions, potatoes and tomatoes to the roasting tin, toss them in the fat in the pan, adding a little more oil if it’s needed to moisten them, then season and roast for a final 45 minutes, adding the wine after 20 minutes. The lamb will be pink. If you prefer it more well done, cook it for a little longer.

Remove the lamb to a plate, cover with foil, insulate well (I use old towels or tea towels) and leave to rest for 15 minutes. If the potatoes are tender, cover them and keep warm in a low oven while the lamb rests; if they’re still a bit
firm, increase the oven temperature to 200°C fan (410°F), Gas Mark 6½, return the vegetables to the oven, uncovered, and cook until they’re ready.

Serve the lamb with the potatoes, tomatoes and onions, scattered with a few basil leaves, if you like.

 

This recipe is from From the Oven to the Table by Diana Henry.