Recipe: Braised leg of lamb stuffed with baby vegetables


This dish can be cooked at a leisurely pace in a lidded barbecue or pizza oven. Ask a butcher to debone the lamb, leaving the shank bone attached. Wooden satay skewers and kitchen string will also be needed to tie it up.

Words: Grant Allen Photos: Helen Bankers

INGREDIENTS
200g (approximately) mixed baby vegetables (parsnips, leeks, turnips, beetroot)
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
3 carrots, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
4 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
1 lamb leg (approximately 1.5 kg when deboned)
5 spring onions, trimmed to finger length from base
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 litres beef stock
1 bottle red wine
2 tablespoons honey
2 oranges, juice and zest
Knob of butter
Mint sprigs, to garnish

METHOD
Prepare lidded barbecue or pizza oven to a moderate heat. It is important to maintain the heat during cooking. If using a domestic oven, heat to 180°C.

Wash, peel and blanch baby vegetables in simmering water until just tender; drain and set aside. In a large roasting dish, layer the chopped onion, carrots, celery, rosemary and thyme.

Place boned leg of lamb on a board and fill the cavity with the baby vegetables and spring onions. Use wooden skewers to pin and close the cavity. Don’t worry if there are a few gaps – it will seal together when cooking. Use the kitchen string to tightly bind the leg back into shape. Place lamb on top of vegetables in a roasting dish. Season with salt and pepper and smear with butter and olive oil.

Mix together beef stock, red wine, honey, orange juice, zest, and a little salt if needed. Pour half over the lamb then place the dish in preheated barbecue or pizza oven and close the lid or door. Baste lamb with cooking juices every 15 minutes and add more of the stock mixture when needed. The lamb will take about an hour to cook, depending on size and heat. Remove it from pan when firm but tender to touch. Cover lamb with tin foil and wrap in tea towels to rest for at least 30 minutes.

To make the jus, strain juices from roasting dish and discard the vegetables. Put the roasting dish back on the heat, scrape sticky bits from the base and add strained juices. Gradually add remaining stock mixture while reducing to a sauce-like consistency. Remove any fatty liquid that rises to the top, then finish the sauce with a knob of butter.

To serve, carve the lamb in 2cm-thick slices across the leg, drizzle with jus and scatter with mint sprigs. Serve extra jus in a jug on the side. Serves 8.

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NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.

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