This roast leg of lamb is so melt-in-the-mouth tender, you'll be hard-pressed to hold out until a special occasion - but it's well worth the wait. Once you've made skordalia - a Greek-style potato-and-garlic puree - it will become a regular on your menus.
2 - 3 kg leg of lamb, shank on
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper
1 small bunch of thyme
5 whole garlic cloves, roasted with the lamb
2 pink eye potatoes
2 tbsp ground almonds
1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper
juice of 1 lemon
60ml extra virgin olive oil
Remove lamb from the fridge 2 hours before cooking and season with salt. Allow the meat to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Rub the lamb leg with extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper, spread the thyme over the lamb then place in a large roasting tin. Add the 5 cloves of garlic for the skordalia to the lamb to be roasted.
Roast for 20 minutes, then turn the lamb over and turn the oven down to 160°C. Turn the lamb every 20 minutes. After 1 hour, check the meat's core temperature. The final resting temperature should be 60°C, so aim for 55-56°C to factor in the residual heat. Once that temperature has been reached, remove roasting tin from the oven and get the oven temperature down to 60°C for resting, holding the door ajar if necessary. Once 60°C has been reached, remove the thyme and garlic and return the lamb to the oven for 30 minutes.
To make the skordalia, cook potatoes in simmering salted water until tender, peel and pass through a ricer or a sieve into a bowl. Squeeze out the flesh of the roasted garlic, discarding the skin, and add to the potatoes, mixing thoroughly. Add the almonds, salt, pepper and lemon juice and mix. Add the oil in a thin stream, whisking all the time. Check the seasoning.
Remove lamb from the oven and place on a chopping board. Holding the shank with a tea towel, take a sharp knife and cut down the bone, removing a large cut of meat. Turn the lamb and cut down each side of the bone, removing the remainder of the meat. You should have two large pieces of meat on the board. Slice each piece across the grain, creating semi-circular slices. This gives the most tender result.
Divide the lamb between plates, add a dollop of skordalia, season and drizzle with cooking juices.
* To ensure a perfect roast every time, invest in a thermometer - it will be worth its weight in gold. Remember, the higher the heat in the oven the longer the meat will keep cooking.
* Skordalia is awesome with roasted or pan-fried chicken, as well as fish (and lamb).