On a day like today when the rain is pelting down outside, all I can think of is popping the oven on and cooking something hearty and absolutely delicious for a few hours… the original recipes calls for roasting potatoes on high in the lamb fat once the meat is done – so of course that is what we did – but I also made some pitta to roll around the juicy lamb, along with some tzatziki, some crunchy rocket, and also a fresh tomato, cucumber and onion salad to squash in too. Sounds like a lot of work but not really… and so worth it! Do it, do it!
So here follows the recipe for the lamb, the potatoes, the tomato salad and the tzatziki. The pitta bread recipe has been posted separately!
Recipe source: kalofagas.ca (many thanks for this recipe, it was truly scrumptious)
Serves: 8-10 (or 4 with loads left over for the next day!)
1 leg of lamb (bone in) 2½ kg to 3½ kg
1 head of garlic
fine sea salt
fresh black pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 medium onions, peeled & quartered
1 cup dry white wine
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
10 sprigs of fresh thyme
2-3 teaspoons dried Greek oregano
2-3 bay leaves
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
hot water or stock
salt and pepper to taste
- Peel the skins off the garlic clove and slice them into slivers. Stick a paring knife into the lamb and make a hole, then slip a sliver of garlic. Repeat and insert as many slivers of garlic as you can.
- Pre-heat your oven to the highest possible temperature and place the rack in the middle position. Drizzle your lamb with some olive oil and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Place the leg of lamb in a roasting pan that just fits the leg. Place in your pre-heated oven and roast uncovered for about 10-15 minutes or until browned, then flip the leg and roast for another 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the lamb from the oven and reduce the heat to 180C. Place the quartered onions around the lamb, add any remaining slivers of garlic, add the herbs (thyme, bay, rosemary, oregano) and squeeze in the lemon juice and pour the wine into the pan. Add the olive oil and enough hot water or stock to cover a third of the lamb.
- Cover and place the lamb back in the oven for 2 hours (add more hot water or stock if needed), baste the lamb once an hour. After two hours, flip the leg of lamb (add more water if necessary and adjust seasoning of liquid with salt and pepper).
- After 3 hours, the leg of lamb should be a deep brown and the bones will be exposed and the meat will be falling off the bone.
- Remove the lamb from the oven, baste with liquid and allow to rest. Serve with roast potatoes tossed in lamb drippings* & with pita bread & tomato salad!
Roast potatoes: Have some peeled & quartered potatoes to roast in another roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pour enough pan juices from the lamb leg to come up a third of the way on the potatoes and toss to coat. Taste, adjust seasoning and crank your oven up to 220C and place the potatoes in the oven to roast for 35-40 minutes or until fork-tender (the lamb will stay warm covered in the roasting pan on the stove-top).
Tomato, cucumber and onion salad: Chunky-chop 2 or 3 vine-ripe tomatoes into a bowl and add a similar amount of chopped cucumber (peeled if you like or not!). Add half a finely chopped red onion, a bunch of washed and finely chopped coriander stalks and stems, a squeeze of fresh lime, a sprinkle of flaked salt, grind of pepper and half a teaspoon of chilli flakes (if you like some heat). Toss and serve.
Tzatziki: Peel and finely chop half a cucumber and add to a bowl with a small tub of Greek-style yoghurt. Add a clove of garlic, very finely chopped, and a sprinkle of flaked salt and stir well. This can keep for a few days so make beforehand if you need.