Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Roast Leg of Lamb

Tonight's meal was based on what I could buy and put together easily. It's a surprisingly impressive meal, considering how simple it is. (I think it's the French name that makes it sound a lot fancier).

175. Gigot Boulangère

This recipe, for roast lamb, comes from the Weekend Lunch chapter. Nigella includes it in a menu with a Red Slump for dessert, but I got distracted with some fabulous Buttercup Bake Shop white cupcakes with chocolate chips and peanut butter icing, so decided to forgo the dessert for the time being.

I walked to Rendinas in the morning to buy the lamb. To my delight, David Bowie (sex god AND rock god extraordinaire) was playing on the radio in the butchers - definitely a sign that tonight's dinner was going to rock.

Ok, so Nigella's gigot boulangère is a boned lamb leg (boned by the butcher, not me; he's a much better boner than I am), which is roasted on top of thinly sliced potatoes.

To start, you peel and thinly slice some potatoes, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes, let them dry, and then layer them in a buttered roasting tin with more butter, salt, pepper, and an onion-thyme-bayleaf mixture.

Potato layers

Then you pour water or lamb stock over, and bake them for half an hour. I didn't have any lamb stock, but luckily the butcher had given me his bones, so I simply put them on top of the potatoes, with some water. I wasn't sure if this would be effective in giving flavour to the dish, but after 5 minutes in the oven, the aroma wafting out told me that, indeed, the bones would be very flavour enhancing.

Potatoes and bones

Ok, now the lamb! Nigella instructs you to cut slits all over the meat and slide slivers of garlic cloves into the slits. Doing this reminded me of watching Ainsley Harriot's Barbecue Bible one Sunday morning, terribly hungover, during which the lovely and energetic Ainsley was lovingly and energetically shoving a herb paste into slits on a huge piece of meat with his enormous fingers, with the camera repeatedly going in for some disturbingly close-up close-ups.

But I digress. Once the potatoes have had their first 30 minutes, you sit the lamb on top of the potatoes, and cook it for another 1 and a half hours.


Then cover the leg in thyme and butter...

Buttered up

... and roast it!

Lamb roast

Sadly, the top layer of potatoes had blackened in the oven! Whoops, I really should have been checking that, but I was taking a power nap on the couch whilst the lamb was in the oven. But if you're cooking the lamb and potatoes together, and the potatoes go in first, then if they start blackening halfway through, you can't very well take out the potatoes from under the lamb and let the lamb continue cooking. I think that the next time I make this, I'll just chuck the lamb and potatoes all in at the same time.

The carnage - looks less tasty than it is. It's fantastic. So much better than the roast shoulder of lamb! The general response from the family was "chomp chomp chomp this is fantastic chomp chomp is there any more?"


julie said...

wow Sarah, that Gigot sure looks impressive! I love a good leg of lamb, roasted to a perfetc crispy outside but still slightly pink (rosé) on the inside...well done to you and enjoy your time out!

julie (M girl)xx

Anonymous said...

Lamb looks delicious....I couldn't help giggling when I read your comments on Ainsley's fingers....naughty girl, you! LOL