I have always thought that large pieces of lamb -especially the leg- were better cooked for a few hours in the oven at a very low temperature, with a final joyful heat stroke so that the skin is crispy and well toasted. But one day a friend told me that, when he lived in England as a young man, the English family that welcomed him prepared one every Sunday by putting it in the oven in full chestnut for little more than an hour, and it was spectacular.
I was surprised by the information, and I left it in the mental folder where I keep all those things that I am not going to test, because why are you going to fix it if it is not damaged. But shortly after I found a recipe from The Guardian in which they also recommended a relatively short oven time at very high temperature, and I was curious enough to do some research. If the Guardian confirmed this meaty joy to me, Jamie Oliver gave it to me with this other recipe, of which I have prepared several versions since then.
Marinating the lamb for a day makes the flavors blend very well into it, and the meat is aromatic and very tasty. You can use the spices or seeds of your choice, change the vermouth for white or red wine and add the vegetables you want to the bed on which the lamb will rest: carrots, pumpkin, parsnips and many others could be invited to the party.
The one to have room in the fridge to marinate it for a day.
For 4-6 people
- 1 leg of lamb, about 1.5 kg, whole or scored (bone cut)
- 3 medium new potatoes
- 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 2 onions
- Aromatic herbs to taste (I used thyme, rosemary, and sage)
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of paprika to taste (I used smoked de la Vera, with a little spice)
- 6 tablespoons mild olive oil
- 100 ml dry white vermouth
- Crush five of the peeled garlic cloves with the paprika, two tablespoons of the oil, half of the vermouth and salt until you get a fine paste. Spread the leg of lamb with it all over, cover it with kitchen film -or put it in a zip bag- and leave it to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
- Take the leg of lamb out of the refrigerator well in advance so that it is at room temperature when cooked. Heat the oven to 200 degrees with heat up and down (if you have one).
- While it is heating up, peel the sweet potatoes and onions and, if you like, the potatoes – if not, just wash them well – and cut everything into slices about half a centimeter thick. Take to a baking tray and season with salt, pepper, the rest of the oil, the rest of the peeled and sliced garlic and the rest of the vermouth. Add aromatic herbs to taste, stir everything well and put the piece of lamb on top.
- When the oven is hot, insert the tray in the lower-central part and cook for approximately one hour and five minutes, up to an hour and a quarter if you prefer more done. Remove from the oven, let it rest for 15 minutes and serve.
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