Roasting And Braising

 

The leg, shoulder and best end of neck are ideal joints for plain roasting, while the best end of neck and shoulder are good braised with simple vegetables, but they all gain additional flavour and moisture with a stuffing or crust. These techniques are demonstrated here, together with instructions on how to carve lamb on the bone.

STUFFING AND ROASTING

Here a tunnel-boned leg of lamb is stuffed and tied, then roasted with a meat thermometer. The same roasting technique can be applied to a leg on the bone, but take care not to let the thermometer touch the bone.

1. Spoon stuffing into the pocket left by the removal of the bone, then push it in with your fingers.

2. Tie the joint with string to neaten its shape. Place the joint on a rack in a roasting tin.

3. Insert the thermometer in the leg, rub the leg with olive oil and seasonings, then roast.

ROASTING TIMES

In France, lamb is generally served rare or medium-rare. Roast at 230°C for 10 minutes, then at 180°C for 18 minutes per 450 g. Internal temperature should be 60°C.

ROAST in a preheated oven at 230°C for 10 minutes, reduce to 180°C and follow times below:

MEDIUM Internal temp 70°C 25 minutes per 450 g plus an extra 25 minutes

WELL-DONE Internal temp 80°C 30 minutes per 450 g plus an extra 30 minutes

FLAVOURING JOINTS

Impart flavour and good looks to a seared joint of meat by spreading the outside with a paste of strong-tasting ingredients such as herbs, spices, mustard, garlic and anchovies. Or, for a homestyle presentation, stud the fat and flesh of raw meat with garlic and/or herbs.

1. Sear the lamb in hot oil and leave to cool, then spread the fat side evenly with 1 tbsp Dijon or other French mustard.

2. Press a mixture of chopped fresh herbs and dried breadcrumbs into the mustard with your fingers.

INSERTING GARLIC

Before roasting a leg or shoulder of lamb, cut deep slits in the meat and insert chunks of peeled garlic.

WRAPPING A JOINT

In France, a boned leg of lamb is sometimes cooked in pastry to produce both a succulent joint and an attractive presentation. Brioche pastry is traditional, but you can use bought puff or filo pastry if you prefer. First roast the lamb, with or without stuffing, at 200°C for 40 minutes, then let the meat cool and remove the string. Wrap the pastry around the meat and place, seam-side down, on a buttered baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and bake for about 45 minutes until the pastry is golden. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

CARVING A  LEG ON THE BONE

After removing the joint from the oven, lift it out of the tin and let it rest, covered loosely with foil, for 10-15 minutes. Use a fork to steady the meat, not pierce it, during carving.

1. Insert a chef's knife into the knuckle end of the joint. Make two deep cuts, one vertical and one horizontal, to form a wedge.

2. Carve neat slices from either side of the wedge. Turn the leg over; with the knife at a shallow angle, slice off the meat.

CARVING A RACK

Place the rack, ribs facing down, on a cutting board. Hold the rack steady and cut between the ribs with a chef's knife, using a sawing action.

STUFFING AND BRAISING A SHOULDER OF LAMB

This method produces very tender, flavoursome meat for a boned shoulder and has the added bonus of a moist stuffing that makes the meat go further. After rolling the meat around the stuffing, tie it with string so that it keeps a compact shape and is easy to slice.

1. Open out the meat and spread the stuffing evenly, leaving the edges bare.

2. Brown the rolled joint of lamb thoroughly over a moderate to high heat before adding the onions. This helps give a good, rich colour and flavour to the finished dish.