What is your favorite Sunday dinner, especially when it’s wintery out? I think many South Africans would vote for roast leg of lamb. I have always loved oven cooking, as these are the easiest meals to prepare. Pop the meat into the oven and forget about it for the next couple of hours while the oven does its job. Mmmmm, the smell of roasting lamb takes me right back to the traditional Sunday dinners of my childhood!
Most of the lamb we get here in the US is either imported from New Zealand or produced locally. I’ve been told that the very best lamb one can buy here is Icelandic Spring lamb. It’s available during the fall and early winter. These lambs evidently spend an idyllic summer in the mountains, eating pure, sweet grass close to 24 hours a day, as the sun hardly sets. They grow quickly in the clean, clear mountain air and their meat is very tasty and tender.
Roasts can be done open or covered, but this is the method that works for me!
When choosing the lamb, buy the whole leg – do not have a piece cut off, as the meat then pulls up along the bone while cooking. If the shank is still attached, have it partially cut through at the joint, so that it can be bent over to fit into the pot.
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 3-4 pound leg of lamb, bone in
- 2-3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- dash of tomato ketchup, optional
- salt and pepper
- Put a little oil into a large, cast iron pot or Dutch oven.
- Sprinkle a little flour over the lamb, on all sides. (This is where a flour dredger is perfect!)
- Place in the pot with the onion and put the rosemary sprigs on the meat. Cover with a lid.
- Place in a pre-heated oven at 350˚F, for about 3 hours.
- Carefully remove the leg from the pot and place it on a heated platter.
- Remove any excess oil from the pot and place it on the stove.
- Add about half a cup of water and scrape all the brown bits from the base and sides of the pot as the water comes to the boil. Remove the rosemary sprigs.
- Mix the cornstarch, soy sauce and water together in a cup and add this to the pot as needed, to thicken the gravy. Simmer for a few minutes, while stirring. Adjust the consistency of the gravy by adding more water (or cornstarch).
- Check flavoring and add salt and pepper to taste.