Roast Leg of Irish Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce, Roasted Vegetables and Champ Potatoes
Easter Sunday was always a big occasion in our house when I was growing up as Lent was finally over and we hadn't eaten a sweet thing for the last 40 days! The smell of a roasting spring lamb with garlic is one of those meals that can take your mind back to your childhood and make your mouth water at the thought of it!
The history of the Easter Sunday roast Lamb goes back to the biblical Passover of the Jewish people. A sacrificial lamb was roasted and eaten with unleavened bread and herbs in the hope that the angel of God would "pass over" their home and bring no harm. Christians often refer to Jesus as The Lamb of God and as religions merged, lamb became the traditional meat for Easter Sunday.
Roast Leg of Irish Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce, Roasted vegetables and Champ Potatoes
1 Leg of Lamb - off the bone and rolled (2kg / 4lb weight will feed around 8 people)
6 cloves of fresh Garlic
1 bunch of Rosemary
Freshly ground Pepper & Sea Salt
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Place the Leg of Lamb on a roasting tray.
Score the leg of lamb with a sharp knife making 1/2" deep incisions and push the garlic cloves and sprigs of rosemary into the cuts in the meat. Rub the butter all over the leg and sprinkle liberally with freshly ground pepper and seasalt.
Cook the lamb for about 1 hour 20 minutes and spoon the juices over the meat every half hour. 20 minutes per pound will give you a lovely pink medium-cooked meat - but adjust the timing to how you like your own meat cooked.
Transfer the lamb to another tray and cover it with a clean dish cloth, to rest for 10 minutes, before you cut it. This allows all the muscle to relax and keeps the meat really juicy and tender.
To make the gravy, place the roasting tray on top of the stove over a moderate heat, use a scraper to lift all the tasty residues off the bottom of the tray and let the juices caramelise a little for about 1 minute. Spoon off any excess fat and add a pint of cold water. Bring this to the boil and let it reduce down by half. Strain the meat juices into a small pan.
Thicken the gravy with a simple roux. This is made by pouring 2 tbls of olive oil into a cup and adding 2 tbls flour and stirring this together into a paste. Whisk a little of this roux into your hot juices. It will thicken immediately. Let it cook out for another minute. You can add a drop of Browning, if you wish.
Fresh Mint Sauce
50g finely chopped fresh Mint
2 tablespoons white Sugar
2 tablespoons Vinegar
3 tbsp freshly squeezed Lemon juice
Combine the water, sugar, vinegar & lemon juice in a small pot and bring back to the boil. Cook for 1 minute until the liquid thickens slightly and then add the chopped mint. Turn off the heat and pour it into a serving jug and refrigerate until required.
1 lb Each of carrots, parsnips & white turnip, peeled and chopped into 1" chunks
2 red onions, peeled and cut into eight
Sea Salt and freshly-ground black Pepper
Put the vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and a little Honey. Season with seasalt and pepper and toss about to coat them. Transfer them to a roasting tin and spread out into a single layer. Cook for about 30 minutes until cooked
Add some chopped scallions, salt, a little white pepper and some butter to your mashed potatoes to make Champ Potatoes to serve with your Roast Lamb.
Enjoy & Happy Easter!