It's hard to think of a nicer partner for lamb than creamed spinach. Add a little mint jelly and potato gratin and you've got an awesome Sunday lunch roast. Another nice way to cook the lamb leg is split off the bone, butterflied and barbecued.
2-3kg leg of lamb, shank on
freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch rosemary
For the creamed spinach
2 bunches English spinach, stems removed, washed
50g unsalted butter
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1½ tsp sea salt and freshly ground pepper
250ml pouring cream
½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 2 hours before cooking. Place lamb in a roasting tray, season with sea salt, pepper and olive oil, then place rosemary under the lamb. Preheat oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional).
2. Cook for 20 minutes, then turn the lamb over and turn down the oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional). Keep turning the lamb every 20 minutes, spooning over the juices to keep it moist.
3. After 1 hour, start checking the meat's core temperature, remembering that the final resting temperature should be 60C and that we need to factor in residual heat: 55C-56C should be fine. Once that temperature has been reached, remove the tray from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 60C (80C conventional) for resting, holding the door ajar if necessary. Once reached, return the lamb to the oven to rest for 30 minutes.
4. In the meantime, add the spinach in batches to a hot frying pan and stir constantly for about 2 minutes, or until the spinach is just wilted. As each batch wilts, remove from the pan, squeezing out excess water.
5. Melt the butter in a pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over low heat for about 8 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the spinach, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Add the cream, bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice.
6. In a food processor or using a stick blender, process spinach mixture until finely chopped and well combined. Check the seasoning, keep warm.
7. Place the lamb leg on a chopping board, positioning it on one of its sides. Holding the shank with a tea towel, take a sharp knife and, starting from the ball at the end of the bone, cut down the bone, removing one of the large muscles. Now turn the lamb around and remove the rest of the meat from the bone by cutting down each side of the bone and removing the large piece of muscle that's left. You should have two large pieces of meat on the board that you can now cut into slices. Place the piece from near the bone on the board and slice straight down, as if you were going down the length of the leg bone. This will give you semi-circular slices cut across the grain, making the lamb more tender. You can cut the shank off now and fight over who gets to eat it.
8. Spoon the creamed spinach onto each of the 4 plates, then place 3-5 slices of lamb on top. Spoon over some of the fat and juices from the roasting tray. Grind on some fresh pepper and serve immediately.
Serving suggestion: with my potato gratin.
Find more of Neil Perry's recipes in the Good Food New Classics cookbook.