Sunday, July 19, 2009

Leg of lamb stuffed with garlic, feta and herbs

Serves 6-8

The Sunday roast... love it, can never tire of it, always has been a treat to look forward to in my house. The only thing to do now and again is to dress up this winning formula to keep it interesting. Lamb has so many natural flavour partners, and the contents of this stuffing also marry together wonderfully. The salty sourness of the feta blended with some peppery spinach and sweet tomatoes all complement the succulent fatty lamb. It is worth asking your butcher fully bone out your leg of lamb. By having it 'tunnel boned' the cavity naturally becomes the perfect shape to hold the stuffing.

2-2.5kg boned leg of lamb
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g feta cheese, chopped into cubes
Zest of 1 lemon
4 semi-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
50g pitted Kalamata olives
Large handful of spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 large handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 large handful mint, chopped
4 slices of pancetta
Olive oil, to drizzle
Generous splash of red wine

Preheat the oven to 220c/gas mark 7. Place the lamb on a chopping board and lightly score the fat in a criss-cross pattern. Rub salt and pepper all over and inside the cavity.

Mix together the feta, lemon zest, tomatoes, olives, spinach, garlic and herbs. Spoon the mixture into the cavity of the lamb and press with the back of the spoon to pack in as much as possible.
Wrap both ends of the lamb with the pancetta to secure the filling, then tie with kitchen string at intervals. Place the lamb on a lightly oiled tray and drizzle over with some olive oil. Season the fat again with a little more salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 190c/gas mark 5 and roast for 20 minutes per 500g for medium-cooked meat. Half an hour before the lamb is done, pour a generous splash of wine into the pan and continue roasting. Check the lamb 15 minutes before it is ready by piercing the centre with a metal skewer. It should feel warm against your hand.

Remove the lamb from the oven and rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with the pan juices.