FIVE-HOUR LAMB WITH POTATO GRATIN

A slow-roasted leg of lamb will always earn you a few gasps of surprise from whoever witnesses its unveiling – let’s face it, we cooks just long to impress! The flavour here not only comes from that slow-cooking process but also the gutsy marinade of anchovies, garlic and mint; every single flake of lamb is gorgeous. The potatoes, sitting snuggly under the lamb, catch all of the meat’s juices as it roasts and so become incredibly tender. 

Helen Cathcart

Ingredients - serves 4-6

  • 100g jar anchovies in olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon mint sauce
  • 2kg leg of lamb
  • 6 medium Maris Piper potatoes 

The essentials 

  • Sea salt flakes 
  • Coarse black pepper 

Method

Make a marinade for the lamb by blitzing the anchovies and the oil they came in, with the peeled garlic cloves and
the mint sauce to a smooth paste in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor you could make the paste using a sharp knife and bold ambition. Stir in 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

With a sharp knife, stab the lamb leg repeatedly all over – you need as many deep cuts as possible, without completely massacring the meat. Spread the paste over the entire surface of the meat, working it well into the cuts. Refrigerate for an hour, or until required.

Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 3 and remove the lamb from the fridge 1 hour before it goes into the oven to bring it up to room temperature.

Slice the unpeeled potatoes as nely as possible – I use a mandolin – and arrange them in layers in a deep-sided roasting dish, seasoning with a very small pinch of salt and pepper every couple of layers. Place the lamb on top of the potato slices. Cover with a couple of sheets of foil, ensuring you seal it extremely well. Roast in the oven for 4 1⁄2 hours.

Remove the tray from the oven and increase the heat to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Remove the foil and baste the lamb with some of the juices from the roasting tin. Put everything back into the oven for a further 30 minutes. Remove the lamb from the oven, transfer it to a plate, cover it with foil and leave to rest. Return the potatoes to the oven for a nal 25–30 minutes, until slightly crispy around the edges. 

Recipe taken from John's book, Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients. Buy here.