We have quite a number of successful ways of cooking lamb leg. Our regular ‘go to’; Greek lamb and roast potatoes – is a particular favourite, but this Easter we wanted to try something slightly different. We had came across a recipe from the delightful Marcus Wareing – from his book ‘Marcus at Home’. He opens by saying “you really shouldn’t rush the cooking of a whole leg of lamb, and the secret to getting tender meat that’s infused with plenty of flavour is to baste frequently.” Music to my ears!!!
There is nothing revolutionary about this recipe, but it is simple, considered and perfectly balanced. The final texture and taste of the meat, and the contrast with the sherry infused meat juices is exceptional! The technique for the slow cooking is as you might expect, around 4hrs – so not ‘low and slow’ but cooked at 150C (the advice in the recipe for a conventional oven was 160C or 140C if with a fan. So we allowed a good 5 hours so that we were under no pressure when it came to serving.
The Big Green Egg was set up in indirect mode and allowed to come to temperature (150C) and stabilise. The lamb was sat on a trivet of quartered onions. It was covered in a paste made from rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon zest, paprika, sea salt and olive oil. The lamb was put into the BGE and cooked for an initial 45 minutes. After which time the lamb was gently taking on a little colour and releasing juices into the roasting dish.
We poured 250ml of sweet sherry over the meat being careful not to disturb the paste then set it back on its cooking journey for another 3 hours. Other than basting the meat with the mix of sherry and meat juices every 45 minutes it could just be left to its own devices. (If the mix of sherry and meat juices starts too dry up just add a little water too it to rehydrate it)
After 3 hours and 45 minutes the core temperature of the lamb was at 86C and we were around 90 minutes away from eating.
So the meat was fully cooked but to a core temperature less than one would use if you were cooking pulled meat. We simply closed off the vents on the Egg, and allowed the residual heat to do a little more cooking, and then as it cooled further to act as a warming drawer as the meat was allowed to rest.
When the rest of the meal was ready, the lamb was carved and plated. Some of the lamb fat/oil was poured off the cooking liquor and the jus was served in a small jug. We could have been very Chefy and passed the jus – but the little fragments of meat, herbs and onion were far too good to discard!!
I have to say the combination of flavours of the jus and the taste and textures of the lamb we’re quite exceptional…………..
………….indeed this may have been the best lamb dish I have ever eaten!
Footnote: whilst the combination of the gently soft meat and the sherry enriched jus was exceptional when served hot – the lamb, served cold the following day was every bit as good
Attributions: This recipe comes from Marcus Wareing’s “Marcus at Home” ISBN 978-0-000-818447-6. The only modifications are those undertaken to cook in a Big Green Egg rather than a conventional oven.
Slow roast leg of lamb - Marcus Wareing
A beautiful herb and lemon infused roast lamb with a sherry enriched jus
- 2 Large onions, quartered
- 1 leg of lamb approx 1.8KG
- 3 garlic cloves peeled
- 2 tbsp chopped rosemary
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- Grated zest of one lemon
- 2 tsp of sweet paprika
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 250ml sweet sherry
- Step 1 Set up the Big Green Egg in indirect mode and allowed to come to temperature (150C) and stabilise.
- Step 2 Sit the lamb on a trivet of the quartered onions in a casserole or roasting dish.
- Step 3 Make a paste initially with the garlic and salt and to this add the rosemary, thyme, lemon zest, paprika, sea salt and olive oil. Cover the lamb evenly with the paste. Place the lamb in the Big Green Egg and cook for 45 minutes
- Step 4 After 45 minutes gently pour 250ml of sweet sherry over the meat taking care not to disturb the paste. Continue cooking for another 3 hours basting the meat with the mix of sherry and meat juices every 45 minutes.
- Step 5 After a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes the core temperature should be around 86C (adjust the time accordingly until this temperature is reached). Close off the vents on the Egg, and allow the residual heat to continue cooking and to then keep the meat warm as its rests
- Step 6 Pour off some of the the lamb fat/oil serve the jus in a small jug then carve the lamb and serve with your choice of vegetables