Lamb is got to be one of my favourite roasts; particularly at this time of year. It goes so well with so many different herbs (a fact you may be forgiven for not noticing as it is so hard to break most people away from the ubiquitous delicious but dull rosemary and garlic combination) and the leftovers work really hard to see you through at least one more meal mid week. Moussaka, hotpot or the perennially popular curry are all options, two of which should possible with some judicious bone boiling. And, of course, there is no getting away from the fact that lamb is also the perfect back drop for garlicky and herby beans paired with perfectly cooked seasonal veggies. Now I know I don’t have to recap about my love affair with all things leguminous but (and correct if I’m wrong here) I don’t think as yet I’ve mentioned my appreciation of the common turnip. Although still a little early, gorgeously sweet little baby turnips start making their way into our veg boxes and gardens soon and these are the ones I like best. Often overlooked for trendier and more exotic veggies, turnips are full of great health benefits; their high vitamin C content not least of them. A relative of cabbage, turnips are full of fibre and a rich source of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and copper. So don’t forget about them next time you catch a glimpse of them on the supermarket shelves; slice them up thinly and serve them raw in a salad or sauté them in a little butter and toss with freshly squeezed lemon juice if you are having them on their own. But if your heart is set on meat they are an ideal partner to roast lamb and prepped like this will even help cut done your washing up- surely always a plus? In fact this roast lamb recipe should take only two pots, (if you stick to my leek and broad/fava bean side) which considering the carnage a roast usually leaves in the kitchen has to be a good thing and reason enough alone to give it a go.
Roast Lamb Recipe with Roasted Turnips and Potatoes.
One leg of lamb (approx 2 kg)
Large bunch of coriander (to give around 2 tbsps when chopped)
Large bunch of parsley (to give around 2 tbsps when chopped)
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp paprika
1-2 tbsps olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
Fresh pepper to taste
Approx one baby turnip and one medium potato per person, peeled and sliced thinly using a mandolin or food processor
150ml dry white wine
100ml beef (or lamb if you can get it) stock
For the bean side:
One clove of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans
1 kg of broad (fava) beans (podded, blanched in boiling water for two minutes and with the outer skin slipped off)
Start first thing in the morning (well whenever you get up, don’t set the alarm or anything) by pounding the garlic, chopped herbs, paprika, sea salt, pepper and olive oil together in a pestle and mortar until you get a smoothish paste.
Next you have to attack the meat. Using a skewer, or something similar, stab the joint all over, making incisions into the flesh so that the lovely flavours of the herbs can permeate the meat. Now massage the paste into the lamb as thoroughly as possible then leave it until you are ready to start thinking about eating it.
When you are ready, preheat your oven to 200 deg. C and find a suitable roasting dish. Peel your potatoes and wash, top and tail the turnips (baby ones shouldn’t need peeling) hen slice them up thinly. Throw them into the roasting dish and place the lamb on top. Pour over the wine and stock then bung the whole lot in the oven and forget about it for an hour and a half or slightly longer if you prefer yours more well done. If you have a different sized joint, work on the basis of around 20 mins per 450g and you should be fine (with an extra 20 for those who prefer their meat well done).
Whilst the meat is roasting, wash and slice the leeks and let them soften in a good splash of olive or rapeseed oil. When they look nice and soft add the crushed garlic and carry on softening for a minute or two.When the meat is carved you can stir through both lots of beans and you’ll be ready to go.
When the meat is cooked to your liking, take it out of the oven, tent it with foil and let it rest for twenty minutes or so. Meanwhile, turn up the oven and let the potatoes crisp up a bit. When they are done, put them on a warmed platter and keep warm. Pour any juices that have come off the meat into the roasting dish along with any juices left in there and bring to the boil with a good splash of white wine. If you like your jus lighter, add a bit more stock. Serve the sliced meat on top of the potatoes and turnips with the jus on the side with the beans.