Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Roast lamb and vegetables with gravy

Posted on: Sunday 08 May 2011

Beef, chicken and salmon are the core proteins of our diet. Lamb cutlets on the BBQ make an easy weeknight dinner but we haven’t had a lamb roast for a couple of years as we had problems with the oven thermostat at our home in Sydney – it was either hot or off. Instead of getting it fixed, we persevered with it and it meant that we limited our oven to garlic bread which we watched over vigilantly, second by second, for fear of carbonising it. When we moved in, we did a happy dance in our new kitchen in Seattle which has a self-cleaning oven large enough for me to curl up in (A noted it’s sized for a thanksgiving turkey).

There hasn’t been too much homesickness – Mr S found Vegemite at QFC, Tim Tam can be bought at DeLaurenti for nearly the hourly minimum wage in Australia and Bundeberg ginger beer is affordable at World Market. There’s McVitie’s digestive biscuits, Walkers shortbread and oatcakes, Carr’s crackers and various other Australian and British expat brands and products available here. I can also easily spend hours at Uwijamaya going from aisle to aisle, reading the labels on the bottles, packets, boxes and cans.

But back to lamb, we haven’t had any since we’ve been here, except for a tasty burger at Barolo happy hour. We were roaming Whole Foods yesterday and discussing what to cook for dinner when we were greeted by a broad Kiwi (New Zealand) accent. ‘Would you like to try some lamb?’ The toothpick sample triggered a moment of homesickness. The common joke is that there are more sheep in New Zealand than people but we do love our neighbours across the Tasman Sea, especially Atkins Ranch lamb.

We bought a 1.75 kg (3.85 lb) boneless lamb leg and we cooked it based on this recipe. The simple rub of rosemary, garlic, olive oil, black pepper and salt are traditional flavours for lamb and the aroma wafts through the home invitingly. There was a hint of food mile guilt – lamb from New Zealand and Murray River flaked salt from Australia, but we’ve had two satisfying meals and with plenty left for a third. The Australian meat industry has an active campaign in encouraging us to include local red meat in our diet, my favourite being Lâmb: Fragrance for Women.

Recipe – roast lamb and vegetables with gravy 

(Adapted from Super Food Ideas)

Ingredients

2 kg leg of lamb, fat trimmed

1/4 cup olive oil

2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves separated

6 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced

Pinch of salt

Cracked pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

Vegetables

1.5 cups beef stock

3/4 cup red wine

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 390°F. Lightly grease roasting pan. Place lamb on rack. Combine olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a bowl. Rub half the mixture over the lamb. Add 1/2 cup of water to roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes.

2. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Roast lamb, basting with remaining mixture every 20 minutes. Roast for 1.5 hours for medium in the middle. Turn halfway through cooking.

3. Add tray of vegetables for last 45 minutes. We roasted fingerling potatoes, eschalots, bell pepper (capsicum), baby carrots, asparagus, beets (beetroot) and button mushrooms and served them with crumbled feta.

4. Remove lamb from oven. Cover loosely with foil. Rest for 15 minutes. Carve and serve with vegetables and gravy.

5. For gravy, remove roasting rack and skim fat from roasting pan. Place pan over high heat. Add half the stock, wine and flour. Cook, stirring with wooden spoon until gravy bubbles. Reduce heat to medium heat, add remaining flour and stock. Cook, scraping pan, for 10 minutes until gravy thickened. Adjust consistency by adding extra flour or stock. Makes approximately 2 cups of gravy.

Notes

* For vegetables, vary the time needed for roasting depending on the type of vegetable. We only added the asparagus in the last 15 minutes.

* We used Syrah (Shiraz) as the wine for the stock which was overpowering. We added more stock to dilute it. A Cabernet Sauvignon would have been more suitable.

* We didn’t have any beef stock in our pantry and substituted with vegetable stock.

* The quantity of rosemary and garlic in the rub is strong. Reduce to your taste if you prefer a lighter flavour.

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