Roast leg of lamb with artichokes, fennel and red potatoes

  • Preparation Time30 mins
  • Cooking Time100 mins
  • Serves8
  • DifficultyMedium

For the lamb

1 (4 to 5kg) leg of lamb, boned, reserving bones
Salt
8 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil

For the vegetables

1 lemon, cut in half
12 baby artichokes
2 bulbs fennel, cut into 1/2cm slices
1kg red salad or rooster potatoes, about 20, quartered
10 whole garlic cloves
1/2 tsp crushed chilli flakes
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
750ml dry white wine
1 bundle thyme, about 10 sprigs tied together with string
5 bay leaves
1) Preheat the oven to 220°C / gas mark 7.

2) Cut the lamb into two equal halves and butterfly each half. Remove any huge areas of fat – don't try to get it all as fat tastes good and adds lots of moisture.

3) Sprinkle each piece of lamb generously with the salt, chopped rosemary and sliced garlic. Drizzle with olive oil. Massage the salt, rosemary, garlic and oil into the lamb. Be sure to try and get the cracks and crevices filled with the yummy-tasting stuff. Roll each piece of lamb and tie with butcher's string. Sprinkle generously with salt. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables.

4) Fill a bowl with water, squeeze the lemon juice into the water and add the lemon halves as well. Remove the tough outer leaves of the artichokes; stop when you get to the healthy, fresh, light green leaves. Trim off any dark green or brown on the stem as well. Cut the artichokes in half and add to bowl of lemon water.

5) Remove the artichokes from the water and add to a large roasting tray, with the fennel, potatoes, garlic and crushed chilli flakes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt. Add the wine, thyme and bay leaves.

6) Nestle the lamb bones in the vegetable mixture and place the two lamb roasts on the bones. Drizzle with olive oil and place in the preheated oven.

7) Roast the lamb for about 20 minutes, or until brown. Baste with the juices, turn the lamb over and brown on the other side for about 20 minutes. Turn the lamb back over and baste again with the juices. Rearrange the vegetables if they begin to burn.

8) Reduce the heat to 180°C / gas mark 4 and roast for another 60 minutes. Baste the lamb occasionally during the cooking process and add water to the pan if the liquid reduces too much. When done, remove the lamb from the oven and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

9) Carve the lamb as desired and serve with the vegetables and pan juices.

Cook's note: You might not feel comfortable buying a big piece of meat and then boning it yourself. That's okay. Have your butcher do it but keep the bone. You paid for it. Have the butcher separate the bones at the joints.

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