A perfect springtime roast, crowd-pleasing and so very English at heart. We like ours with a bit of garlic around and a freshly-made mint sauce, which is plenty easy to make and only takes a few minutes. You'll want to set aside a couple of hours to get this done, but the wait is well worth it - providing you can find yourself a good bit of lamb first!
You will need:
4-5lb leg of lamb or hogget
1 bulb of garlic
½ a bunch of fresh rosemary
7-8 medium-sized potatoes
For the Mint Sauce:
1 bunch of fresh mint
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
Remove the lamb from the fridge 1 hour before you want to cook it, to let it come up to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place a roasting dish for the potatoes on the bottom. Break the garlic bulb up into cloves, then peel 3, leaving the rest whole. Pick and roughly chop half the rosemary leaves. Peel and halve the potatoes. Crush the peeled garlic into a bowl, add the chopped rosemary, finely grate in the lemon zest and drizzle in a good lug of oil, then mix together.
Season the lamb with sea salt and black pepper, drizzle with the marinade and, as Ainsley would say, give it all a nice good rub. Place on the hot bars of the oven shelf above the tray.
Parboil the potatoes in a pan of boiling salted water for 10 minutes, then drain and allow to steam dry, then tip back into the pan. Add the remaining rosemary sprigs and whole garlic cloves to the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, then drizzle over a good lug of oil. Tip the potatoes into the hot tray and place back under the lamb to catch all the lovely juices.
Cook the lamb for 1 hour 15 minutes if you want it pink, or 1 hour 30 minutes if you like it more well done.
Meanwhile, time to make the mint sauce. Finely chop the mint leaves, then place in a small bowl. Mix in the sugar, a good pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon of hot water and the vinegar. Give it all a good thorough stir.
When the lamb is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes or so. Carve and serve with the roast potatoes, mint sauce and some seasonal greens.