Roast Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary

Greetings from the country! I'm writing to you today from the sunny, sweet spot that is my Dad's front verandah. A pretty ace spot to spend a few days away from the city, the house is on the family cereal farm in north western Victoria. Here, Dad and my brother grow wheat, barley, peas, oats, canola and chickpeas. A lot of chickpeas. Taking a walk around the farm during the week, I discovered an 80 tonne pile of them, just lying around.
 I love coming here. This past week I've made my childhood favourite biscuits(recipe soon!), driven Dad's enormous ute to Swan Hill for some good Japanese(surprise!) and taken a ridiculous amount of photos. How could I not? The colours at sunrise and set are pretty insane.

It's been pretty hard to tear myself away from the sweet spot on the verandah to cook much but on Wednesday morning Dad pulled a hulking leg of his own lamb from the freezer to cook up for a family dinner. Dad doesn't have a great deal of stuff in the cupboard and the nearest shop is a ten minute drive away, so I made use of the tough old rosemary bush in the garden and a few lonely cloves of garlic to make a version of Karen Martini's Greek style roast lamb.

I always roast a lamb when I drop by Dad's and I have to say, this is the first lamb we've ever both agreed was good. Usually when I cook roast lamb, Dad complains that it's underdone. When I cook it the way he likes, I reckon it's tough. So this week, I did a long slow roast, 3 hours at 160C under foil and then a further hour uncovered. Best roast lamb ever and so easy. The meat is really tender and juicy and finishing the meat uncovered leaves the skin lovely and crisp. I know the recipe looks long but it really is as simple as I described above, don't be fooled by my lengthy instructions. Have a an awesome week everyone!

Roast Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary

A few things about cooking a lamb roast, I think it must be at room temperature when it goes into the oven. As I've noted through the recipe also, if your oven cooks unevenly, it's worth rotating the roast as it's cooking. That way it cooks through evenly and crisps up evenly on top.  

1 leg of lamb(mine was 2.5kg)
6 cloves of garlic, crushed to a paste
2 large sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
1/3 a cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups of dry white wine
2 cups of water

Mix the garlic and rosemary together. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and stir well. Season the lamb all over and make 8-10 incisions in the flesh. Rub the garlic and rosemary all over, pushing inside the incisions. Leave to marinate for at least two hours, but preferably overnight. Before you're ready to cook, take the lamb out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 160C. Prepare the roasting dish by placing a rack in the bottom(if you don't have a rack, slice up an onion and place it under the lamb.) Place the lamb in the dish pour the wine and water in the bottom and cover tightly with foil. Put the roast in the oven, after an hour and a half, baste the lamb, adding more wine or water if necessary, and turn it if your oven cooks unevenly(mine does.) Roast for another hour and a half. Take the lamb out, season again with salt(you're getting ready to create a crisp top and salt aids carmelisation). Roast for another hour.(Again if your oven cooks unevenly, rotate it half way through.) When the top is lovely and crisp, remove from the oven and rest for 20 minutes. This gives you time to steam the vegetables and make the gravy. Carve and serve with roasted potatoes and steamed vegetables.

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