Before trying this recipe for the first time please go to the eGullet Culinary Institute (www.egullet.org.) and read the lesson on cooking meats. It’s very well done and will be of great help.
This is the best way I have ever tried for cooking leg of lamb. The result is delicious and the method is very forgiving. The anchovy part is from the Southwest of France where I live. Don’t shy away from it as the flavor is mild and really adds to the result. Most guests will never guess that the anchovies are what give that wonderful flavor.
A leg of lamb
Tin of oil packed anchovies
A few sprigs of rosemary
Freshly ground pepper
Red wine for deglazing
Cream for the gravy
1) Heat oven to 230C.
2) Remove the leg bone from the lamb or have your butcher do it. This will make carving much easier.
3) Place 2-3 anchovy fillets in the cavity where the bone was then tie up the lamb so that it keeps its shape.
4) Grind some pepper over the lamb then place it in the hot oven for about 15 minutes to brown the outside.
5) Remove lamb from the oven & turn the oven off. Keep the oven door open so it cools as rapidly as possible.
6) Meanwhile cut a series of slashes about ½ inches deep across the top of the lamb. Place an anchovy fillet in each slash.
7) Bruise some of the rosemary by rubbing it between your hands & sprinkle it over the lamb. Place a large intact sprig of rosemary over the top.
8) Check oven temperature. It needs to be at no more than 65C. If it’s higher wait until it is; if already lower place lamb in a roasting pan in the center of the oven. Turn the oven on with the temperature set for 65C.
NOTE: Probably a good idea to test your oven in advance. Some will not maintain low temperatures well. We have one oven that will & one that won’t. Most modern electric ovens will. Gas is problematical.
9) Leave the lamb for the next 7 hours or so. I find that within reason timing over about 6 hours is not critical.
10)About ½ hour before when you want to serve take the lamb out to rest. Just place it on a carving board. Do not cover.
11)Put the roasting pan on your stovetop over high heat. Reduce the pan juices by half then add a generous slug of red wine. Scrape around the pan to get any bits. Reduce this by ½ again. Add cream (quantity depends upon how much gravy you want to make – 8 oz is good.) Bring to the boil & reduce just enough to get a bit of thickening.
12)Carve the Lamb & put the gravy in a boat. Serve.