In our household, a good measure of how tasty a roast or bbq is, would be the number of green chillies in it.
This lamb roast is no different. If I’m not sure whether the meat I’ve bought is brilliant quality or too goaty for my taste, there are a few things you can do to tip things on your favour.
1. Trim the fat
Meat generally isn’t very smelly, but fat is. So I started by taking my time removing all the obvious fatty bits from my half leg of lamb. It’s annoying, yes, but it really helps.
2. Marinade the hell out of it
If plain lamb isn’t your style, mix things up by making a potent Indian style marinade for it. Mine consisted of a handful of green chillies, blended with some yoghurt, lemon juice and Indian spices (red chili powder, garam masala, cumin powder). If you have a particular flavour in mind, feel free to change the spices. But lemon juice & green chillies are generally a good base for any marinade if you like things tangy and hot.
Oh and don’t be in a hurry, I left mine to soak up the flavours for 2 days before cooking. I suggest you at least let it rest in the fridge overnight.
3. Cooking method
If you worry that the meat you’ve bought might turn out dry and tough, a good way of cooking it is in a roasting bag. I love doing chicken this way, and luckily the half leg of lamb I had was about the size of a chicken so I could use the same bags. If you don’t have roasting bags you should probably cover the roast in foil for most of the cooking time and keep basting it.This is especially important since you’ve just trimmed off the fat which would otherwise keep it moist during cooking.
Now, before I forget what all I did in my fever induced delirium on Sunday, here’s the recipe.
Indian Style Leg of Lamb
Leg of lamb (or half) – fatty bits trimmed off
2 tbsp Yoghurt, preferably the thicker, Greek style one.
Some ginger & garlic (when in doubt, use more of it)
4-5 green chillies
Juice from 1 lemon
Blend the above together until you have a smooth paste. If you want to give your lamb a red colour, add some extra concentrated tomato puree. Season with salt, pepper, garam masala, red chilli powder, cumin powder, and whatever else smells nice. Since only some of the flavours will actually get absorbed into the meat, it’s a good idea to put in more seasoning than your instincts tell you. If you open the blender and the smell makes you cough, you’re on the right track.
Cover your lamb with the toxic mixture you’ve just prepared and let it sit in the fridge for a day or two.
On the day you’re intending to eat it, make sure you start cooking early enough!
Put the meat and a bit of the marinade into a roasting bag, tie it up securely (following all the instructions of course). Cook at 180 degrees Celsius for about 2 hours, while preparing your sides. We had a proper fusion meal by serving the meat with potatoes and gravy rather than the more logical option of naan breads or similar.
If your marinade is anything like mine, don’t throw the excess away! This can be used to make an amazingly spicy gravy to go with the meat.
Splash of red wine
A few cherry tomatoes for some nice colour and fresh coriander leaves
Start by frying the onions until they’re well on their way to becoming caramelised. Pour over Red wine and add the cherry tomatoes. Then add the leftover marinade with some water to get it out of the container you put the meat into. Finally after your meat is ready, try taking it out of the roasting bag without burning yourself, and pour the juices from the bag into the pan. Despite trimming quite a bit of fat off the lamb before cooking, this made the gravy really really rich nonetheless! But who cares, the potatoes we ate were very greasy as well, this wasn’t going to be a healthy meal anyway.
If you like a thicker gravy, bind it with some cornflour.
Serve & Enjoy!