From Best Kitchen Basics, by Mark Best, one of the best cookbook writers of recent years, Mark Best will make you laugh, but will also help to apply logic and process to your cooking, as he does in this roast lamb leg recipe where he has applied the simple idea that ‘what grows together goes together’—and chamomile and herbs do make the very best companions.
SERVES 4 (WITH LEFTOVERS FOR SANDWICHES)
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook 1 hours 35 minutes (plus resting)
- 2.8kg lamb leg
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 garlic bulb, cloves separated and peeled
- 50ml olive oil
- 50g best-quality chamomile tea
- 2 onions, roots removed, cut into quarters
- Splash of white wine for deglazing
- Optional garnish, small bunch of fresh chamomile flowers
NOTES: From Best Kitchen Basics, by Mark Best (Hardie Grant, 2016).
This recipe has been adjusted to use a regular lamb leg for ease of sourcing, but if you can seek out a 1.2kg suckling lamb leg (long leg, rump on) you will have particularly spectacular results. As Best points out in his book, keeping the rump on will help to hold the shape of the whole roast: it is as the French would do it.
1. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 2 hours before preparation to allow more even cooking. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Evenly score the skin of the lamb to a depth of 5mm and rub the salt all over the meat. In a food processor, blend the garlic and olive oil into a paste, then rub this all over the lamb. Sprinkle over the chamomile tea leaves.
3. Heat a heavy roasting tin in the oven until hot.
4. Put the lamb and onion in the tin and cook for 1½–2 hours (25–30 minutes per 500 g), basting the meat with its fat from time to time. Cook the lamb to your preferred temperature. (I prefer medium 65–70°C) for the best ﬂavour and texture.) Remove the meat from the oven to rest for 20–30 minutes prior to serving.
5. Tip off some of the fat and deglaze the tin with a splash of white wine. Reduce the wine to nothing then add a little water. Bring to the boil, scraping the tin with a wooden spoon to make a jus and pour it over the sliced lamb to serve.
6. Garnish with the fresh chamomile ﬂowers and carve the lamb at the table.