This recipe uses a simple but highly effective roasting method called reverse-searing to achieve edge-to-edge blushing pink lamb. The meat is slow-cooked first then the surface is browned quickly at the end, the reverse of what's usually done. If you are not confident with your knife skills, ask your butcher to debone and "butterfly" the lamb leg for you so it lies flat, ready for you to add a spiral of mushroomy-nutty-herby goodness.
2kg deboned and butterflied leg of lamb
2¼ tsp cooking salt
1½ tsp black pepper
3½ tbsp olive oil
30g unsalted butter
150g (⅓ cup) finely sliced eschalots (about 2)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g white mushrooms, roughly chopped
30g (¼ cup) hazelnuts
30g (¼ cup) pistachios, roughly chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tbsp lemon zest
½ tsp cooking salt
¼ tsp black pepper
150g (3 tightly packed cups) baby spinach, roughly chopped
30g (3 tbsp) plain flour
310ml (1¼ cups) low-sodium beef stock
¼ tsp dark soy sauce* (optional, for colour)
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional).
2. Cover the butterflied lamb with a sheet of baking paper then use a rolling pin to pound the meat (hard!) so it's about 2cm thick all over. Trim into a 40cm x 22cm rectangle and set aside.
3. Place mushroom in a food processor and blitz 5 or 6 times, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mushrooms are chopped into 3-4mm pieces.
4. Spread the hazelnuts on a small oven tray and roast for 8 minutes. Cool then roughly chop.
5. Turn oven temperature down to 130C fan-forced (150C conventional).
6. To make the stuffing, melt the butter in a large nonstick frypan over medium high heat. Add eschalots, garlic and mushrooms and cook, stirring regularly, for 12 minutes, until the mushrooms are brown. Remove to a bowl and cool for 20 minutes before stirring in the nuts, herbs, zest, salt and pepper.
7. Sprinkle the inside of the lamb with 1¼ tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Spread the mushroom stuffing over the lamb, then evenly cover with spinach and roll up firmly, finishing with the seam side down. Secure with kitchen twine tied every 2.5cm. Rub the surface with 1½ tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.
8. Place the lamb on a rack set in a roasting dish. Roast for 2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 56C when measured with a meat thermometer.
9. Remove lamb to a clean tray and rest for 30 minutes.
10. To make the gravy, place the roasting dish with the dripping on the stovetop over medium-low heat. If there is more than 3 tablespoons of fat, scoop off and discard some. If you're short of fat, add a little butter. Once the dripping is hot, add flour and stir for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the stock, whisking to remove any lumps if necessary. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring regularly, until it takes on a thin gravy consistency. Stir in soy sauce, if using, and add more salt and pepper if desired. Pour into a jug.
11. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-based frypan on the stove over high heat. Brown the lamb all over, about 1 minute on each side.
12. Place lamb onto a carving board and slice into 2cm thick slices. No need to rest – we've already done that! Serve with gravy.
Butterflied lamb leg is a lamb leg with the bone removed so it can lie flat. Explain to your butcher what you're making and they'll know what to do.
*Soy sauce? Yes! It's my secret trick to darken the gravy and add extra umami.
This recipe features in Nagi's four days of Easter feasting menu