This is the sort of cooking I absolutely adore.
It feels as though you’re restoring a direct link between the present day and that almost mystical point in our ancient past, when our species first harnessed fire.
Strip away the modern magic, and you’re back to square one, the bare essentials so to speak, letting the elemental forces of heat and time transform the crude and near inedible into the utterly delicious and ethereal.
- a 1.25 kg boned leg of lamb joint
- 2 shallots, peeled and minced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 6 anchovy fillets, very finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Take the meat out of the fridge to come up to room temperature.
- Prepare the rub. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a non-stick frying pan. Stir fry the shallots for 1 minute. Add the garlic, lemon zest, rosemary, the anchovies, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Continue to stir fry until the shallots and garlic are soft, and have lost their raw bite, about 4-5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Massage approximately half of the rub onto the inside of the lamb joint, i.e. in the cavity where the bone was. Rub the remainder evenly on the outside of the meat.
- Truss up the joint with butcher’s twine, ensuring that the cavity is now totally closed. Insert a meat thermometer into the joint, so that the sensor tip will give you a reading from the thickest part of the joint.
- Place the meat on a roasting rack over a roasting tray. This will allow all those tasty meat juices to accumulate underneath the meat and form a delicious gravy.
- We like our lamb medium done, which translates to about 62°C inner temperature. Seeing as the meat will continue to cook while resting, with the temperature rising by about 5°C during that time, we therefore set the meat temperature to 57°C. If you prefer your meat rare, aim for a final temperature of about 58°C, i.e. bring the meat out of the oven to rest once the inner temperature reaches about 53°C.
- Place the meat in the middle of the pre-heated oven until the thermometer shows the inside of the meat has reached the correct temperature for your preferred level of doneness.
- Remove the meat from the oven, and rest for 20 minutes. We enjoyed our roast with nothing more fancy than Brussels sprouts, Swedish rotmos, and the gravy that formed in the roasting pan.