Karen Martini's roast leg of lamb on root vegetables

The lamb perfumes the vegetables as they roast.
The lamb perfumes the vegetables as they roast. Photo: William Meppem
Difficulty
Easy
Dietary
Gluten-free

This is a very rustic way to cook a roast, but it gets the job done beautifully and all you need is the one tray. The paste at the end is what really elevates this dish, adding freshness and depth of flavour. Garlic and herbs introduced to the roasting tray also impart bags of flavour, but I like to add another vibrant burst, scented with lemon, at the end. The residual heat of the meat brings out the fragrance of the paste while it mingles with the resting juices. Delicious.

Ingredients

2.5kg leg of lamb, brought to room temperature

1 garlic bulb

extra virgin olive oil

salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

3 parsnips, split lengthways

3 King Edward potatoes (or a similar roasting potato), quartered

3 beetroots, cut into large chunks or wedges

2 swedes, cut into large chunks or wedges

2 large carrots, split lengthways

1 celeriac, peeled and sliced thickly

½ bunch oregano, leaves picked

250ml chicken stock (or white wine or water)

Oregano and lemon paste

1 garlic clove

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp salt flakes

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ bunch oregano (or marjoram or mint), leaves picked and chopped

5 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, leaves picked and chopped

zest and juice of ½ lemon

80ml extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 230C fan-forced (250C conventional).

2. Score the lamb in a criss-cross fashion. Slice four cloves of garlic, then make incisions in the lamb and push the garlic into them. Rub all over with oil, then season with salt and pepper.

3. Place the vegetables, oregano and remaining garlic in a large roasting tray. Drizzle with oil and season. Top with the lamb and pour the stock into the tray. Roast for about 80 minutes (15-20 minutes per 500g, depending on your oven) for a medium-sized joint or until a probe thermometer registers 60-65C. If you like the lamb a little pinker, cook until the internal temperature is 56C.

4. Meanwhile, make the paste by grinding the garlic, pepper, salt and cinnamon in a mortar until smooth. Add the oregano, parsley and lemon zest, then grind to a paste. Finish by mixing in the lemon juice and oil.

5. Once cooked, smear the meat with the paste and cover with foil. Rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving with the vegetables and any juices.