Delia

Leg of Lamb Baked in Foil with Butter and Herbs with Redcurrant, Orange and Mint Sauce

This is a very old but well-loved recipe – baking lamb in foil keeps it very moist and juicy and allows the flavours of the herbs to really permeate the meat. I've included a sauce recipe, too – the quickest but most beautiful sauce for lamb ever.


Serves 6-8

This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury’s Magazine (May 2000).

Leg of Lamb Baked in Foil with Butter and Herbs with Redcurrant, Orange and Mint Sauce
Ingredients
 1 leg of lamb, weighing about 4 lb 8 oz (2 kg)
 1½ oz (40 g) butter, at room temperature
 2 level tablespoons chopped fresh mint
 2 level tablespoons chopped fresh curly parsley
 1 level teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
 1 clove garlic, crushed
 1 level teaspoon salt
 freshly milled black pepper
For the gravy
 1 level dessertspoon plain flour
 3 fl oz (75 ml) dry white or red wine
 10 fl oz (275 ml) vegetable stock
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the sauce:
 4 tablespoons authentic redcurrant jelly (one with a high fruit content), eg Tiptree
 zest 1 orange (use a zester)
 1½ level tablespoons chopped fresh mint
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C)

Method

Begin by chopping all the herbs as per the instructions given in the ingredients list, then mix the butter, herbs and garlic together, adding a level teaspoon of salt and some freshly milled black pepper.

Now stab the joint in several places with a skewer, and rub the herb butter all over the upper side – this will allow the butter to run into the joint during cooking. Next, wrap the joint loosely in foil, allowing a bit of space to let air circulate, then fold the edges and seal well. Now place it in a large roasting tin and cook for 2 hours on the centre shelf of the pre-heated oven, then open out the foil and cook it for a further 30 minutes, so that it browns nicely. With these cooking times the lamb will be slightly pink. If you like it well done, give it a little extra time in the foil before opening it out.

When it is ready, remove the joint to a warm serving dish and keep in a warm place while you make the gravy. Empty the juices from the foil into the roasting tin, then tilt the tin slightly. You will see that the meat juices and fat will separate, so spoon off most of the fat into a bowl and discard, and leave the juices in the tin.

Now place the tin over a medium heat, and when the juices start to bubble, sprinkle in the flour and work it to a smooth paste, using a wooden spoon, then cook for a minute or so, to brown. Now pour in the wine and let it bubble, then gradually add the stock by degrees, to make a thin gravy. Taste and add seasoning, if it needs it, then pour into a jug. Place the redcurrant jelly in a small basin, break it up with a fork, then mix in the orange zest and mint – and that's it. This must be one of the quickest sauces in the world, and it's absolutely delicious. Pour it in a jug and serve with the lamb and the gravy.

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