Monday was Queen's Birthday, and we decided to cook up a Roast of Lamb that we had found at the Supermarket for $12.00. I don't think it was on our menu, but when you spot a bargain like that, you give yourself a little bit of breathing room. After prepping the meat and doing a bunch of stuff around the place, friends called and offered to come help with getting the house ready for a valuation that we're having done shortly, and they brought with them another small Lamb Roast, about half the size but still a little frozen in the middle, which pretty much balanced out the cooking times.
Since I had the first lamb slowly marinating in herbs and garlic, I needed to launch a quick but yummy assault on the second one, which we achieved with a quick run to the lemon tree and the trusty assistance of the Grinders.
If you don't have a mortar and pestle, I reckon its the best $30-40.00 you might ever spend in an Asian Grocery. We've had ours for about 8 years, and it has never had time to gather dust. It doesn't rust, it can't go (any) blunt(er), and it even works in a power failure. Unlike knives and blenders, you can use a mortar and pestle to crush and bruise and smash, and are an effective weapon against such things as coriander seeds, cloves and cardamon. Next to my knives and my cast iron frypan, its the one thing in the kitchen I wouldn't do without.
Garlic Herbed Roast Lamb
Start this first thing in the morning. With the joint defrosted, gather some fresh herbs and a few cloves of garlic. I used mint, oregano and rosemary, because they seem to be weathering the winter cold better than the other herbs. Strip the leaves from the herbs, peel and slice the garlic (just crush the clove with the flat of a big knife and slice off the hard bit at the end), and put it all in the pestle. Crush up to a paste, adding 2T of olive oil, salt, pepper, and a T of balsamic vinegar.
Pierce the lamb every 2-3cm, to about 3/4 deep, on both sides. With a teaspoon and your fingers, force the garlic-herb mixture into the holes, and rub the excess over the entire joint.
Put lamb in the fridge and allow to stand for about 8 hours.
See below for cooking details.
Lemon-Tossed Lamb Roast
This can be prepped pretty much right before the meat needs to go in the oven. Put the lamb in a bowl, add 2T of Olive Oil, grind in some salt and pepper, and grate in the zest of a lemon. Toss the meat vigorously. That's it. Really.
Cooking the Lamb Double Shot
Preheat the oven to 230c, placing one rack low and one higher up. Place both joints of lamb onto a roasting tray, preferably on a raised grill, and put into the oven on the lower rack. Cook at this heat for 25 mins, then turn the heat down to 180c. Turn every 40 mins or so until cooked, probably about 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 hrs (this allows for the cooking of the roast veges in the same oven on the lower shelf).
Pull the meat from the oven and allow to stand for 10 mins before carving. In this time, scrape the good stuff from the roasting pan and mix with water and cornflour over a gentle-moderate heat, to make the gravy. Season to taste.
Scrub or peel a load of veges that will fit nicely in a tray big enough to cover the bottom rack in your oven. Chop up into good roast size pieces and toss in a bowl with salt, pepper and Olive Oil. You can also add garam masala, dried mixed herbs, paprika, ground coriander, chopped fresh herbs, a sprinkle of flour, brown sugar, or whatever takes your fancy. My veges tend to be flavoured based on how much energy I have on the day. This time around I grated the rest of my lemon rind on the pumpkin, and it was good.
Lay the roasting tray with baking paper, and spread the roast veges over it. I tend to keep the pumpkin in a separate dish on the same tray as it can sometimes bleed a lot of moisture onto the other veges. Place the tray of veges in the oven on the lower shelf and tweak the heat up to 190c to compensate for the extra volume. Turn after 40 mins, then every 25-30. When the meat comes out to stand, move the veges up a rack and put the grill on - but don't forget them as you make the gravy!
I didn't make the pudding - its not my strong point - but Aunty A's Self-Saucing Butterscotch Pudding deserves a spot too. Warm from the oven and dished up with cookies & cream ice-cream, it was a dessert to make your teeth hurt. It was much enjoyed.
And finally, there has to be soup
As with previous roasts, I boiled up a stock with the two lamb bones, and the vege scraps and peelings, chopped up the leftover veges and made a roast vege soup. I got two servings out of it, one of which I just had for lunch. Nice stuff.
On top of that, those two little roasts (worth $18.00 all up) fed 4 adults for dinner, made 2 lots of vege soup, and tomorrow will have made sandwiches for three days. That's value, I reckon.