I cooked this last week for Sunday Lunch and it must rate as one of the best lamb dishes I have ever made, extremely rich and bursting with the most amazing flavours.
I de-boned and butterflied the leg of lamb myself which is not a difficult job, if you have never done it before there are plenty of videos on YouTube with detailed instructions. The little shank piece at the end (minus bone) can either be tucked in or removed and added to the pan.
You will need a thin, sharp knife and just a little confidence. If you feel you would rather leave it to the expertise of the butcher, remember to ask for the bones back. These are added these to the cooking pot for even more flavour.
After trying in vain to find a recipe for an apricot stuffed leg of lamb my mother used to make years ago, I plumped for this juicy combination of dried fruit, all of which I had in the storecupboard. I am a great fan of prunes with lamb (and pork) and they didn’t disappoint, helping to make a dark, rich gravy.
I served it with small cubed roasted potatoes and parsnips, but mashed potatoes would have worked well too to soak up the incredible juices.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the photographs do the finished dish justice. The meat was so tender it fell apart as I tried to cut it in neat slices for the camera. Perhaps they should add ‘food’ to the old W.C. Fields adage “Never work with children or animals.”
There was quite a chunk left over which I re-heated for Monday evening’s dinner and it was still delicious, moist and tender.
It might look a bit daunting when you read the recipe as the ingredients list is quite long, but all I can say it is well worth effort and it is certainly a recipe I will keeping and be making again, definitely one for the next guests.
Although at first glance it may seem a lot of messing about, once it is in the oven it more or less looks after itself apart from the occasional turn so it’s a good dish to cook for visitors, leaving you time to enjoy yourself.
- Approx 2k Leg of Lamb, deboned
- Oil for Frying
- 1 Whole Head of Garlic, cut in half across the middle
- 200ml White Wine
- 500ml Water or Chicken Stock
- A slither of Orange Peel
- For the Stuffing
- 70g Dried Soft Prunes, roughly chopped
- 70g Dried Apricots, roughly chopped
- 50g Dried Cranberries
- 40g Pine Nuts
- 1 Shallot, chopped
- 60g Fresh Spinach, chopped
- Handful of Fresh Parsley, chopped
- ½ tsp Dried Mint
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 150c
- Cover the dried fruit with boiling water and leave for about 30 minutes. Drain.
- Mix the fruit with the rest of the stuffing ingredients and season well.
- Lay out the de-boned leg of lamb, skin side down.
- Cover with the stuffing mix and roll up from the short end.
- Tie with butcher's string.
- Don't worry if some of the stuffing escapes, just add this to the pan when adding the other ingredients.
- Season the rolled meat all over with salt and black pepper.
- Heat a splash of oil in a large oven-proof casserole (preferably with a close fitting lid).
- Fry the lamb on all sides until brown all over.
- Add the wine and leave to bubble for a couple of minutes.
- Add the water or stock, orange peel, cinnamon and garlic.
- Cover and cook for 3 - 3½ hours, turning every 45 minutes or so.
- Remove the bones before serving.