"The leg, in my opinion, is the best part of the lamb," says Nick Stanton of Leonardo's Pizza Palace in Melbourne. "You've got part of the shin, which is gelatinous, the fatty parts and the lean parts, and so you get a variety of flavours and textures throughout. A simple marinade is good here. I prefer marinades on the dry side because the salt draws out the moisture to tighten the muscle and permeate the meat." Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the lamb.
- 2 lemons, thickly sliced, plus extra wedges (optional) to serve
- 5 garlic cloves, bruised
- 1.8 kg butterflied lamb leg
- 2 tsp fine salt
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tsp smoked paprika
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- 25 gm unsalted butter
- 2½ tbsp plain flour
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock, preferably from a butcher or homemade
- 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 1Scatter half the lemon and garlic in the base of a non-reactive container and top with lamb. Season lamb all over with salt, then combine cumin and paprika, and rub all over lamb. Drizzle with oil and gently rub over lamb to coat, without rubbing off spices. Top with remaining lemon and garlic, pressing into surface. Cover and refrigerate to marinate (overnight).
- 2Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat a flameproof roasting pan or large frying pan over medium heat. Add lamb fat-side down (remove lemon and garlic) and cook until golden brown and fat is rendered (4-5 minutes; be careful not to burn spices). Turn lamb fat-side up, transfer to oven in roasting pan and roast, checking internal temperature every 15 minutes until lamb is cooked rare and internal temperature reaches 48°C (15-30 minutes). Remove lamb from oven and rest for 20 minutes (it will come to medium-rare). Reserve pan juices and fat for gravy.
- 3For pan gravy, add butter and reserved fat to a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, then stir until sandy-coloured (2-3 minutes). Gradually whisk in stock, bring to the boil, then stir in mustard and pan juices and season to taste. Simmer until flavours have combined (10 minutes).
- 4Meanwhile, reheat lamb briefly in oven, then carve. Serve with gravy and lemon wedges.
Wine suggestion Cortese such as 2016 La Morella Il Monte from Piedmont, Italy, or a red blend such as 2018 Travis Tausend Agori (with pinot noir, shiraz and merlot) from the Adelaide Hills. Drink suggestion by Guy Bentley