Lamb is my favorite meat, I love the feeling of rich deep juicy goodness as you munch into a quality piece of lamb. When I travel to Portugal I nearly always have the lamb cutlets when dining in restaurants. These are just cooked so simply by placing on a hot grill and basted with olive oil as they cook. There is one tiny restaurant in Alvor (Algarve Portugal) that serves lamb cutlets when you order them the waitress nips across the road to the butcher and picks up your food, something that amuses me greatly. Cooked this way the lamb is utterly delicious.
Lamb is obtained from a sheep that is less than a year old, although usually, the sheep (or lamb) will be around about 6 months of age at slaughter. British lamb is generally considered to be at its best around September as lambs are naturally born around March/April, so will have been raised on grass pastures. Spring Lamb which is available at Easter time is produced from lambs born in November and December. The spring lamb, because it will have been raised during the winter and early spring months, will out of necessity have been fed on a grain based diet and kept inside.
New Zealand lamb is available all year round, this used to just be found in the freezer compartment but can also be found fresh these days. I have found frozen lamb to be perfectly acceptable if fresh British lamb is overly expensive from the butcher.
How to Cook Lamb – Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary and Thyme.
Large leg of lamb – with bone in.
Handful of fresh rosemary
Handful of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Take the leg of lamb and place in a roasting dish pan.
Place the leg of lamb in a roasting tray
Season with salt and pepper.
Take the Rosemary and Thyme place in a pestle and mortar and give the herbs a light pounding. Just enough to bruise the leaves.
Crush the rosemary and thyme lightly
Place the herbs over the lamb and add the olive oil, using your hands massage the herbs and oil into the skin of the lamb.
Place the herbs over the leg of lamb
Place in an oven pre-heated to gas mark 5, 190C or 375F for 30 minutes per pound or 450 grams.
This will produce well done lamb. If you like your lamb on the pink side then just cook for 30 minutes less.
A couple of times during the cooking period take the joint out of the oven and baste with the juices.
Once you have cooked the joint, remove the rosemary and thyme which will be somewhat burnt but that’s ok.
Allow the lamb joint to rest covered in foil for about 20 – 30 minutes before carving. This recipe gives a subtle hint of rosemary, which I feel really brings out the taste of the lamb.