How to prepare the perfect lamb roast

Learn how to cook a delicious lamb roast with this fool proof recipe. Great for Easter Sunday, or any Sunday for that matter.

Choosing your meat

Lamb is a tender meat with a distinctive flavour and aroma. Mutton, the term for meat from older sheep, has a stronger flavour and is tougher than lamb. It is rarely available today as people generally prefer lamb forits tenderness and lighter taste.

Welsh lamb is a particular speciality, valued for its sweet fresh flavour which comes out well when it is roasted.

Lamb is light red in colour. It should look fresh and moist with creamy-white, firm fat. Joints should have a plump layer of meat under a thin, pliable skin with a light sheen.

This recipe uses a saddle of lamb. A large prime joint made up of both loins and cut from the best end to the legs, with the tail left on is ideal.

Butchers require a few days’ notice to dress a saddle. The meat is skinned and the cleaned kidneys are skewered and tied to the end of the loins, with the slit tail wrapped round them.

A saddle weighs about 3.62 kg/8 lb and makes an ideal, if expensive, large roast. Perfect for special occasions, like Easter. 

 

lamb
Image via Food and Wine

 

The recipe: Saddle of lamb with wine sauce

Serves 8
Preparation: 20 minutes
Marinating: 12 hours
Cooking time: 3 hours
Oven: 180°C/350°F/gas 4

 

Ingredients:

  • 2.8 kg/6 lb saddle of lamb
  • 12 sprigs rosemary
  • 50 g/2 oz dripping or lard
  • 25 g/1 oz flour
  • 75 ml/5 tablespoons
  • Redcurrant jelly
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 onions
  • 150ml water
  • 3 parsley sprigs
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 blade mace
  • 60 ml / 4 tablespoons malt vinegar
  • 900 ml / 1pt red wine
  • 60 ml / 4 tablespoons medium sherry
  • 60 ml / 4 tablespoons brandy

 

Method:

  1. Chop the carrot and onions finely and place them in a pan with the water. Add the herbs, spices and vinegar. Boil for 30 minutes, then leave to cool. Stir the red wine, sherry and brandy into the marinade.
  2. Pour into a dish large enough to hold the lamb. Add the lamb, spoon the marinade over, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
  3. Drain the lamb, reserving the marinade.
  4. Make small incisions in the lamb and add the rosemary sprigs. Heat the dripping or lard in a roasting tin in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Add the lamb and roast.
  5. Baste the lamb every now and then with the cooking fat and juices.
  6. Transfer the lamb to a heated serving platter, cover with foil and keep warm. Pour off any excess fat from the roasting tin, leaving a thin covering in the bottom.
  7. Stir in the flour, then cook for 2 minutes, scraping the residue off the tin. Gradually pour in the reserved marinade, stirring continuously, and bring to the boil.
  8. Reduce the heat and stir in the redcurrant jelly, then simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, stirring often. Taste the sauce for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as necessary.
  9. Bring to a full boil, cook for 1 minute, then strain the sauce into a heated sauceboat and serve it with the lamb.

 

Try more lamb recipes:

Roast leg of lamb with rosemary
Oriental lamb medallions