Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Easter Roast - New Zealand Lamb


New Zealand Lamb, Roast Lamb Recipe, Easter Roast Idea
Wholegrain Mustard and White Wine not used in the recipe
Are you planning to do a roast for this Easter Sunday? I normally wouldn't think of roasting a leg of lamb (we've only ever grilled some lamb chops) but I've changed my mind now! We always knew that chicken legs are the softest part of the chicken and it's our favourite cut, but we had no idea that it applies to lambs as well! 

We were given the opportunity by New Zealand Lamb to review their lamb meat using their Leg of Lamb Roast recipe, and it was sooo tender and succulent that hubby thought that the meat was uncooked (it was actually medium/well)! Although I struggled a bit with browning such a big leg (2kg!), it was well worth the effort! Lamb and anchovies, who would have thought!

While researching on Waitrose's website for the ingredients (they sell New Zealand Lamb's produce, look out for the yellow and red rosette trademark on the packaging), I came across Heston's Leg of Lamb Roast recipe, which is very similar to the one I was given. I decided to combine the 2 recipes, together with a gravy that was originally Heston's recipe but I changed it completely with some "interesting" ingredients that worked bizarrely well with the roast (it's the gravy that got the kids eating their vegetables!). The dinner was amazing, and I'll be looking forward to cooking this again next time we meet up with our family!


Leg of Lamb Roast with Roast Potatoes and Vegetables, and a Bizzare Gravy
(Serves 8)

Ingredients:

8-10 big Potatoes for Baking (jacket potato size), peeled, washed and chopped into big chunks (I didn't peel mine but it would have been better)

Mixed Vegetables for Roasting (we used topped carrots, brocolli spears, baby corns and beans), cleaned
1 large or 2 small onions, peeled, washed and sectioned
2-4 big Tomatoes, washed (I've marked the tomatoes with a X out of habit)
Olive Oil
Sea salt and Pepper

6 cloves of Garlic, peeled, sliced into halves, germs removed (the tiny green shoot which gives you the bad breath), then cut them into halves again
15-20g Fresh Rosemary Sprigs, with 48 of the bigger leaves removed and set aside
12 Anchovies in Olive Oil (Jar), halved lengthwise (top to tail)
Approx 2kg Whole Leg of New Zealand Lamb
Sea Salt

500g Chicken Stock
2-3Tbsp Demarera Sugar
1 Tbsp Beef Gravy Granules
1/2 can Root Beer
1 Tbsp Butter

Very large roasting tin (there might be a chance that the potatoes won't fit in the tin, prepare a separate smaller one for it in that case)
Largest possible Frying Pan you have
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celcius/ 160 degree Celcius fan assisted/ Gas Mark 4


Method:

1. Boil the potatoes in a pot with a touch of salt, then simmer for 8-10 minutes. Drain the liquid, drizzle a bit of olive oil and season with salt, then give them a good shake in the pot to fluff up the outside a bit. Set aside.
  

New Zealand Lamb, Roast Lamb Recipe, Easter Roast Idea

2. Place all the vegetables in a big bowl, drizzle olive oil around and season with sea salt and pepper (I didn't use pepper). Toss until they are evenly coated. Set aside

- I forgot to add the onions before so they were left uncoated with oil. They didn't cook so well in the roasting tin, so make sure you coat them all evenly.


New Zealand Lamb, Roast Lamb Recipe, Easter Roast Idea
They look almost good enough to eat!
3. Wrap each sliver of garlic and 2 Rosemary leaves with a piece of anchovy (24 bundles) Set aside.

- It's not as tedious as it looks, just try to avoid flicking olive oil everywhere


4. Heat the frying pan with 3 tbsp of cooking oil until smoking hot. In the meantime, rub the leg of lamb all over with salt. Sear the leg of lamb all around until golden brown to seal the juice inside.

- I couldn't brown the lower leg as it's curved but it wasn't a big issue.


5. Place the leg of lamb on a board, then use a sharp knife to cut slits (24) on the surface of the lamb at regular intervals. Stuff these with the anchovy bundles deep enough so that they touch the meat

- I didn't quite understand this bit so I ended up scoring through the skin in long lines. Small slits would have been easier and look neater too (like a pineapple!).


6. Place the remaining sprigs of Rosemary on the large roasting tin, then the prepared lamb on top. Pour 150ml of water into the bottom of the pan, season the lamb again with more salt and roast in the oven according to the package instruction, leaving the last 40-45 minutes to add the vegetables and potatoes. For New Zealand Leg of Lamb, it's 30 minutes per 500g plus 15 minutes for medium/ rare, or 30 minutes for just done. 

- I did plus 20 minutes to get medium/ done, so my cooking time for the 2kg leg of lamb is 2 hours and 20 minutes. I reserved the last 40 minutes for adding my vegetables, so I cooked the lamb for 1 hour 30 minutes first.
- The thicker carrots were still slightly crunchy, but the greens has started to wilt. If you can be bothered, add the carrots, baby corns and potatoes in the last 45 minutes, then the greens in the last 15-20 minutes.


New Zealand Lamb, Roast Lamb Recipe, Easter Roast Idea

7. Add the vegetables around the lamb when the first round of baking is done. I had to bake the potatoes separately 


New Zealand Lamb, Roast Lamb Recipe, Easter Roast Idea

8. Once cooked, remove the lamb on a chopping board and cover with foil to rest for at least 30 minutes.

- As it was already quite late, we only managed to rest the lamb for about 5 to 10 minutes. The meat was still very succulent though!


9. Remove all the vegetables and cover them until they are ready to serve. Heat the roasting tin with the remaining liquid on medium to hot fire until it has reduced to half. During this time, scrape off any sticky bits off the pan.

10. Stir in chicken stock, butter, sugar and beef gravy granules and keep on boiling it until all granules has dissolved. If you taste test it now, it should be fairly salty with a hint of sugar. Add 1/2 can of root beer in the gravy and boil until the gravy has thickened up.

- To taste the gravy properly, slice a small piece of roasted lamb, dip it in the sauce and taste it. The gravy is a bit weird on it's own but for some reason it tasted amazing with the succulent lamb! I've definitely done something right there!


New Zealand Lamb, Roast Lamb Recipe, Easter Roast Idea

Voila! Our week day roast dinner is done! I forgot to take a picture of it with the gravy and wish I did as it looked really good (so glossy) and tasted soo yummy! Abby never liked carrots but she couldn't stop eating them because of the gravy! She doesn't even eat them in stews!

It's amazing how soft the lamb meat can be. Hubby kept saying that it's not cooked when it's hardly pink, because it's just so soft! The anchovies did wonders to the lamb. The flavour and smell made our mouth water while it was cooking!

Overall, we are very impressed with the quality of the lamb meat, and we would definitely buy again. The above recipe is amazing as well and I don't think I'll roast lamb in any other way! Thank you again New Zealand Lamb for the lovely dinner!