Day 14 – Greek-style roast lamb
It always really surprises me how some people think that cooking a roast is a bit of a difficult, time-consuming task.
The truth is, roasting meat is the simplest and most satisfying thing – with a few minutes dedicated to seasoning the raw meat – you just bung it in the oven and out pops a yummy and succulent dish.
However, there is one very important thing to remember when roasting – you MUST rest the meat after you take it out of the oven. It doesn’t matter if it’s, pork, chicken, beef – rest it for 10 to 15 minutes covered in some foil to keep it warm. This allows all the juices to settle within the meat, so that it doesn’t ooze out when you calve it and end up all over your chopping board, leaving the meat dry and flavourless. It’s a simple tip, but an absolutely vital step in cooking the perfect roast.
Lamb is my favourite roasting meat – and I have been cooking it since I was about 11 or 12. I always used to watch mum do it as a child. So, here is my roast lamb recipe, with a greek, lemony twist.
- 1 leg of lamb
- 3 lemons
- Fresh rosemary sprigs
- 2 onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- Olive oil
– Preheat oven at 180 degrees (Celsius).
– With a sharp knife, stab the lamb (about 5cm deep) about 7 to 10 times evenly all over the top of the roast.
– Drizzle olive oil over the top, season it generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, as well as the dried oregano and rub it, with your hands, all over the lamb.
– Peel and dice 2 large garlic cloves and stuff the garlic into the holes that you have made. Best to use your fingers to do this.
– Put a sprig of fresh rosemary in each hole too. It looks really pretty sticking out of the holes :).
– Peel two large onions and cut them into large pieces and lay then on the bottom of a roasting tray.
– Cut three lemons into wedges and lay them in the bottom of the tray also. This makes a nice bed for the lamb to rest on and ensures the bottom doesn’t burn (don’t serve the onion and lemon, they are just there for flavour, so you discard them after the lamb is cooked)
– Place the lamb on top of the onion and lemons. Drizzle the juice of half a lemon on top of the roast.
– Cook for 30-35 minutes per 500gm of meat. So for a 3 kilo leg, it will take about 3 hours. To check if it’s done, poke it with a skewer and if the juices run out clear (with no blood) it’s cooked through. If you want it medium (so a bit pink), reduce the cooking time to about 2.5 hours.
Helpful tip: If you think the lamb is getting a bit too brown as the cooking time goes along, just cover it with some tin foil to stop it from burning.
Make sure you rest the lamb after it’s cooked, as mentioned above. So take it out of the oven, leave it in the tray and cover it with foil (which keeps it warm) for about 10 to 15 minutes before you calve it.
You can serve this with some roast veg – or, seeing at it’s getting warmer – why not service the meat drizzled with yesterday’s tzatziki recipe – and perhaps a greek side salad of rocket, olives, fetta, cherry tomatoes and a light olive oil and lemon dressing?
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