Serves 4-6

A few months ago I went up to Scotland with Ben Weatherall who supplies our restaurants with game. He also sells Scottish Blackface lamb, one of the oldest breeds of sheep in the hills. They lead a privileged life, eating nothing but moorland vegetation and mosses.

A few months ago I went up to Scotland with Ben Weatherall who supplies our restaurants with game. He also sells Scottish Blackface lamb, one of the oldest breeds of sheep in the hills. They lead a privileged life, eating nothing but moorland vegetation and mosses.

You can buy all sorts of fresh, butchered meat from Ben by mail order (01387 730326/ www.blackface.co.uk).

1 leg of lamb, boned and rolled, or on the bone weighing about 1.5kg
A few sprigs of rosemary
1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 4
A few extra lamb bones from your butcher; get him to chop them for you
1tbsp flour
1 glass of white wine
1 litre lamb or beef stock (a couple of good quality cubes dissolved in that amount of water will do)

To cook the lamb, pre-heat the oven to 220ºC/ gas mark 7. With a small, sharp knife, make 8 to 10 incisions in the fat on the lamb, about 1cm deep. Put a small sprig of rosemary and a slice of garlic in each slit and season the lamb with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pre-heat a roasting tray with the vegetable oil in the oven for about 5 minutes. Put the lamb on the pre-heated tray, fat side down, and roast for 15 minutes, then put the onion and carrots in the pan and put the lamb on top of them, fat side up. You can finish cooking the lamb on top of the potatoes. Cook for another 40 minutes for pink, or leave it for another 15 minutes for medium.

Remove the lamb and place it on a large plate to catch any juices and set it aside in a warm place while you make the gravy.

Transfer the roasting tray to a low heat on top of the stove, stir the flour into the vegetables until mixed well, then gradually add the wine and hot stock, stirring well to avoid lumps forming. Bring to the boil and simmer on a medium heat until the gravy has reduced to about half the volume and thickened. Simmer a little longer if it's not thick enough.

Strain the gravy through a fine meshed sieve, add any juices from the lamb and return to a low heat. Skim any fat off with a small ladle, check seasoning and keep warm. Carve the lamb and serve immediately with the hot gravy.

Welsh onion cake (Teisen Nionod)

This is a bit like the famous French pommes boulanger where the potatoes are cooked in meat stock. If you are roasting a joint I would strongly recommend you finish cooking it on the onion cake so the juices are absorbed into the potatoes and onions.

800g large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
500g onions, peeled and sliced
100g butter, melted, plus extra for brushing

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6. Wash the potatoes briefly in water and dry on a tea towel or kitchen paper. Put them a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix with the 100g of melted butter. Butter a shallow oven-proof serving dish and layer the potatoes and onions alternately, beginning with the potatoes and finishing with a neat layer of overlapped potatoes on top. Cover with foil or a lid and bake for 1 hour, then remove the foil, brush with a little more butter and cook for another 15-20 minutes to allow them to brown.

Comments