St Patrick’s Day fell really nicely this year resulting in a long weekend with a Bank Holiday Monday. With my (big) family invited over for lunch it was important not to waste too much time in the kitchen cooking so I settled for an easy slow roast leg of lamb. Actually it was 1 and a 1/2 legs of lamb as it was a big gang and it was perfect for what turned out to be a cold and wet St. Patrick’s Day. I covered the lamb in the herb and garlic rub the previous day and slow roasted in the oven for nearly 8 hours it was meltingly tender and falling off the bone. As simple dish of minted peas and a large dish of gratin potatoes made a meal which resulted in the plates nearly licked clean! Anchovies, garlic and rosemary are a classic combination (not made up by me, I have to say, though I have no idea of where I first got this) and I raided Donna Hay for Dessert but added my own twist on a strawberry syrup with the addition of Chambord and a reduction in the amount of sugar. Both these recipes were crowd pleasers to which I definitely will return.
Slow Roast Leg of Lamb
For each leg of lamb
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced lengthways into thin slivers
Marinade made from:-
1 small 50gm can anchovies chopped finely
About 2 large sprigs of rosemary chopped finely
4 large garlic cloves peeled and mashed
75ml olive oil
1/2 bottle white wine / water if preferred
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Place a trivet of vegetables into your roasting pan (onions, carrots, unpeeled garlic a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary) and drizzle over a little oil.
With a small sharp knife, make a load of incisions in the fleshy side of the leg and Insert into each a thin slice garlic.
Combine the rest of the ingredients and rub well all over the meat.
Grind over plenty of black pepper. Place the lamb in a roasting pan and pour some water into the base and about half the wine.
Cover with foil, Put in the oven and roast for 6 hours – up to 8 hours until meltingly tender and falling off the bone.
Check from time to time and add water / wine if the bottom is dry.
Remove the meat out of the oven and leave to rest in a warm place for at about 10 minutes before shredding apart.
Keep the meat warm while you finish the gravy.
Taste the juices and see if any salt is necessary— probably not because of the anchovies.
Drain the fat off the juices, and mash all the veggies into the left over juices
Sprinkle in a little flour if it’s very thin and mix well to cook out.
Strain through a sieve mashing to extract as much as possible of the juice.
Serve a big platter of lamb with a dish of minted peas, some gratin potatoes and the gravy.
Strawberry Mascarpone Tart (Donna Hay)
2 x 300g punnets strawberries, hulled and halved
200g plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
100g cold butter, chopped
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
750g mascarpone cheese
50g icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tbsp preserved lemon syrup
125ml cream whipped to gentle peaks
1 300g punnet fresh strawberries
50g caster (superfine) sugar
1 tablespoon water
3 tbsp Chambord / Framboise
To make the Strawberry syrup, place the berries, sugar, water and chambord in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes or so until it starts to reduce. Mash the straberries a bit in order to extract maximum flavour. Strain the syrup and allow to cool.
Place the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and vanilla and process in short bursts until the pastry just comes together. Add a few tbsp of ice cold water if needed. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and work quickly with your hands to form a ball. Flatten the pastry, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C . Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until 3mm (f in) thick. Line a 24cm (9in) round fluted tart tin or 6 mini tins with the pastry, trim the edges and prick the base with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Line the pastry with baking paper, fill with baking weights and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 5-8 minutes or until golden. Bake for 10 and 3 minutes approx if using the small tin sizes. Set aside to cool.
Place the mascarpone, preserved lemon syryup and vanilla in a bowl and beat to combine and loosen the mascarpone.
Fold the cream into the mascarpone and spoon into the tart shell and smooth the top. Arrange the strawberries on the tart and drizzle with the syrup. Serves 8.