This is a guide to creating the foundations of a perfect roast, all hints and tips can be adapted to any future roast dinner. By the end you will have achieved a tender, succulent, pink lamb leg, crispy roast potatoes, puffy, fluffy Yorkshire puddings and a gravy packed full of punch! I have split the entire cooking process into three stages and 17 steps, this is to make for easy following. Any questions do leave a comment below.
Lost your place? Quickly jump to each stage using the links below.
- 1 Lamb leg (or a cut of a lamb leg as i will be using)
- Sunflower Oil
- 1 Large Sprig of Rosemary
- 1 Glass Red Wine
- 2 Onions
- Parsnips (can be replaced with any root veg)
- Salt and Pepper (ideally coarsely ground)
- Potatoes (for roasting)
- Gravy granules or a gravy starter (approx 800ml)
- 1 tbsp honey
For the Yorkshires:
- 140g Plain Flour
- 4 Free Range Eggs
- 200ml Milk
- 1 tsp Chilli Flakes
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 2 tsp white pepper
- 4 tbsp Sun flower Oil
Stage 1: The Lamb
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 220c. Place your baking tray onto the hob and turn one ring on to a medium heat. This should result in one end of your baking tray being hotter than the other. To the hot end add 3 tbsp oil and a 1/4 of your rosemary. Fry until the aromas are released (and your entire kitchen smells of rosemary). Then push the rosemary to the cooler end of the tray and pour in the wine. Cook out some of the alcohol this will take a couple of minutes, add coarsely ground black pepper and salt, lower the heat and allow all ingredients to infuse.
Step 2: Cut parsnips and onions in half an arrange a bed for your lamb to rest on. This is to keep the lamb from touching the bottom of the roasting tray and becoming dry or overcooked. It will also allow for heat to be circulated underneath the lamb and the meat will be more evenly cooked.
Step 3: Score your lamb fat to allow the flavours to permeate through the meat. Then using a few sprigs of rosemary dipped in oil, brush the lamb fat all over with oil.
Step 4: Place the lamb into the tray and arrange the parsnips and onions underneath so the lamb will not topple over. Cover with yet more rosemary, salt and pepper.
Step 5: Cover the lamb in a foil dome. This will allow heat to circulate throughout the cooking process. If you are concerned that your dome is not stable enough simply place two wooden skewers into your parsnips ensuring they are taller than the lamb, this will keep the foil from sinking when in the oven.
Finally cover the lamb entirely, any leftover rosemary scraps can either be added to the roasting tray or left to infuse in oil for potatoes later on. Place the lamb into the oven and as soon as the door is closed reduce the heat to 120c.
Step 6: After 45 minutes baste the lamb in its cooking juices. If there is not much moisture add some boiling water or thin gravy to create a steam and loosen the cooking liquids. Regulate the temperature between 120 and 130 degrees depending on how you feel the lamb is cooking. Baste every 30 minutes or as you see fit.
Stage 2 – Component Preparation
Next stage is for the veg, Yorkshires and roast potatoes!
Step 7 Roast potatoes: To prepare peel and chop the potatoes into sizable chunks, place into a saucepan of salted cold water and leave on the hob until needed. (do not turn the heat on yet)
Step 8 Veg: In a separate pan of cold salted water peel and chop any remaining veg that will be accompanying your roast i.e. carrots, parsnips, spring greens, peas. Yet again do not turn the heat on until you are ready to cook.
Step 9 Yorkshire batter: For a bit of a twist i have added chilli flakes and cayenne pepper to this batter, if you are offended the recipe works just as well without these two ingredients! In a bowl add flour and beat in eggs until smooth, gradually add the milk. Add cayenne and chilli flakes – mix until lump free. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until needed. By keeping the mixture cold, you have a better chance of maintaining a puffier Yorkshires as the cold batter has a shock reaction to the piping hot oil when cooked.
Now it is time to relax, occasionally basting your lamb and regulating the cooking temperature.
Stage 3: It all comes together – Timing is key!
Step 10: 30 minutes before the lamb’s time cooking is over, turn your potatoes on to boil. Cook until they are soft enough to put a fork through with a little pressure. Drain the potatoes and return to the dry pan. Season with salt and pepper and shake to break up the outside of the potatoes. Do not worry if you break one or two completely, the little crispy parts prove popular in my family!
Step 11: Turn the oven up to 200c and remove the lamb from the oven immediately. Place the entire cooking tray onto a wooden chopping board and cover with extra foil and tea towels to keep heat from escaping. Allow the meat to rest.
Step 12: Pour sunflower oil into another roasting tray, enough to cover the entire surface of the tray so you know each potato will touch oil. Then place in the oven for 5 minutes maximum to heat up the oil, for safety reasons do not leave the oven alone or the kitchen at this time. Once the oil is piping hot remove from the oven and spread the potatoes evenly across. Quickly return the tray to the oven, middle shelf for 45 minutes, turning once or twice.
Step 13: 25 minutes before the potatoes are ready it is time for the Yorkshires, again just as you did with the potatoes, fill a muffin tray 1/8th way up with oil and heat in the oven. Then take your batter from the fridge, pour into each cup and place on the top shelf of the oven. They will cook in approximately 20 minutes but keep an eye on them, remove once puffy and golden brown.
Stage 3 The final sprint – Once the Yorkshires are in you want to move fast to ensure all components stay warm!
Step 14: Boil the kettle, make a gravy starter approx 800ml – I used a simple Bisto gravy.
Step 15: Turn on any prepared veg currently sitting in cold water on the hob.
Step 16: Uncover your lamb and remove it from the roasting tray. Place directly onto the chopping board and cover again with the foil and tea towels to keep warm. Remove excess rosemary from the roasting tray – all we need is the cooking liquids. Put the roasting tray onto the hob and whisk in 500ml of the gravy or stock of your choosing. Then whisk in plain flour and a squeeze of honey. Season to taste. Stir until your ideal thickness is maintained and set aside in a gravy boat. (cover to keep warm).
Step 17: Now you are in a great position your Yorkshires and potatoes should be just about ready, your lamb has rested, veg is on and gravy is done. Warm up your plates either in the oven or in the microwave. Uncover your lamb and calve. It should be wonderfully pink and tender to touch.
Step 18: Plate up, Lamb first then potatoes, Yorkshires, drained veg and hot gravy.
Eat and enjoy.
Not a bad day’s work if i do say so myself!