A few weeks ago, CB and I had one of those Sundays. You know the ones – an elaborate brunch is made which uses 75% of all the pots and pans you have in the house, the dishes are summarily dismissed to the back of your mind, your errands and chores get pushed all the way down the priority list but you somehow have time to create an entirely new Pinterest board focused entirely on cute interior decorating ideas while powering through half a season of Pretty Little Liars… Or is that just me? Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feasts suddenly came on and with it came this gem – a lamb curry roast.
Did you hear that? A lamb curry roast. Slow cooked to tender, juicy, encrusted perfection, this hit spots I didn’t even know I had. We quickly dispatched a text to our partners in culinary crime: “We have plans to do things to a leg of lamb we ought not to next weekend. Will you help us bury the body?”
Affirmative, soldier came the reply.
We’re of course quite familiar with throwing unlikely spices at a lamb leg as per our dishy Lamb Shawarma but this imperial beauty called for something altogether different – for something familiar yet new, the commonwealth flavour to our metropolitan norms, the jewel, as it were, in the crown of this lovely fat lamb leg. Of course – spicy roast potatoes.
- The original recipe called for a lamb shoulder. We opted for a lamb leg as it’s generally a less fatty cut of meat. Given how much of this food we imbibed, it was critical that we did what we could to stay a visit to our local cardiovascular unit. This substitution meant that the lamb wasn’t quite at the ‘pull apart with your fork’ stage but I honestly this doesn’t detract from the dish at all. Go for the shoulder if you prefer.
- The original recipe called for all almonds for the marinade but an 11th hour hunt through out cupboards presented half the amount required – we decided to top up with pistachios. This was delicious and I would recommend using this mix all the time or even a pure pistachio blend.
- If, like us, you are struggling for oven space, do the lamb first and then set aside, wrapped in foil before moving onto the potatoes which should take 60-90 minutes, oven strength and potato crispiness preferences depending.
- Under absolutely no circumstances should you skip the gravy.
Even thinking about this has got my tummy rumbling. I’ve added some calorie information below but it’ll both encourage and scare you. We had a 2kg leg which was supposed to feed 9 and so you’ll be as appalled as I was to learn that we absolutely obliterated it between four of us.
Tread carefully, your mortality will probably be at the bottom of your roasting dish.
Serves 4-9, depending on how greedy you’re being
1 x 2-2.5kg leg of lamb
Salt and pepper
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1 bulb of garlic, cloves peeled
30-40g ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 green birds eye chillies
50g ground nuts – almonds, pistachio or a mix of the two
2 tbsp fat free natural yoghurt
1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 bunch of fresh curry leaves (check out your local Asian grocer)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large bunch of fresh coriander
1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
30g ginger, finely diced
1 red onion, finely diced
Small bunch of fresh curry leaves
1 green birds eye chilli, finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tin of low fat coconut milk
4 large tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Season the lamb leg generously. Score the lamb deeply in half a dozen places and stuff the curry leaves in the holes. Blend all of the marinade ingredients from the red onion to the white wine vinegar, with more seasoning. Cover the lamb leg with the paste formed (it’ll already smell amazing) and let the excess sit under the lamb in the tray. Leave to marinade for as long as you have but at least 2 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 220 degrees/200 degrees fan assisted. Add a cup of water in the bottom of the tray and drizzle some olive oil over the lamb. Roast the lamb for 30 minutes then turn the temperature down to 130 for the remaining 3 hours. Check the roast every 40-60 minutes to see if you need to add another splash of water to stop the marinade from burning at the bottom.
- When the time is up, the lamb will have a deep sticky crust and your mouth will be watering. Set it aside under some foil to sit for a least 15 mins while you do the gravy. Drain any excess oil out of the roasting tray and put onto a medium heated stove. There will be some yummy roasted/burnt bits at the bottom which will be the consistency of a thick chutney. Add all the ingredients from mustard seeds to the garlic to the tray and stir in. Let this cook for 5-7 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes and coconut milk and cook for a further 5 minutes until thickened and slightly reduced. Add the white wine vinegar and season to taste.
- Place the lamb leg on top of the gravy straight in the baking tray and decorate with fresh coriander from a height. Cut thick, tender, juicy slices straight off the leg and smother with the gravy. Serve with as many spicy potatoes as your dining companions will let you get away with.
Spicy Potatoes (serves 5-6)
800g maris piper or similar potatoes
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp chilli flakes
4 tbsp ground nut oil
5 banana shallots, sliced lengthways into quarters
Greek Yoghurt/Greek style yoghurt to serve
1 small bunch fresh coriander
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Chop the potatoes roughly, skin on, until about golf ball sized. Simmer in salted water for 15 minutes. Drain and put in a large, non-reactive bowl.
- Add the spices, the garlic, the shallots and the oil and give everything a good stir. Tip everything into a non-stick baking tray and put into an oven which has been pre-heated to 200 degrees until crispy. This should take an hour but keep a close eye and be prepared to turn them over if necessary to ensure even crisping.
- Five minutes before they come out, wilt the spinach in a pot with 1 tsp of oil. Add this onto the baking tray in random blobs. Do something similar with the yoghurt. Be as artistic as you fancy. Top with the coriander and serve with lamb and gravy as above.