“Roasting large slabs of meat is still my arch nemesis in the kitchen but I do relish the challenge. This was my first attempt at cooking a roast with real fire, and I have to say it was very enjoyable and delicious! You can always roast this in a regular oven, and a meat thermometer is useful to test when the lamb is ready.” Poh Ling Yeow
3 kg leg of lamb on-the-bone
5 sprigs rosemary
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
Salsa verde marinade
½ tsp salt
½ cup mint leaves
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 sprigs sage
10 fillets anchovy
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
dried chilli flakes, to taste
olive oil, for cooking
salt and black pepper
10 kipfler potatoes, halved lengthways
2 bunches baby carrots, tops trimmed and discarded
¼ pumpkin, skin on, cut into 4 cm chunks
2 large zucchinis, thickly sliced
1 large red onion
1 head garlic, halved widthways
2 tbsp vino cotto (see Note)
250 ml (1 cup) red wine
water, as needed
1 tsp sugar (optional)
20 g butter, softened
2 tsp plain flour
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat a wood-fired oven to 180–200˚C (or use a conventional oven set at 180°C); if using a wood-fried oven, the temperature will vary, depending on its efficiency.
Carefully cut along the underside of the skin of the lamb to separate it from the flesh, taking care not to pierce it. Stuff the pocket between the flesh and skin evenly with the rosemary and the garlic. Pat the skin to make the surface as flat as possible.
To make the salsa verde marinade, using a mortar and pestle, pound the salt, mint, parsley and sage until smooth. Add the anchovies and pound until broken down, then add the lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil and pepper and chilli to taste, stirring and pounding until combined to form a paste. (Alternatively, blend all the marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.) Massage the marinade all over the lamb.
Place the lamb in a roasting pan, cover with foil and roast for 1½ hours or until the internal temperature of the lamb registers 65–70˚C for medium. Leave to rest for 30 minutes before carving.
To roast the vegetables, place the potato, pumpkin, carrots, zucchini and onion on a large baking tray and toss with a good drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Wrap the garlic in foil and place among the vegetables. Add the vegetables to the oven after the lamb has been cooking for 30 minutes, then roast for 1 hour.
To make the gravy, transfer the lamb cooking juices to a saucepan, add the wine and bring to the boil over high heat; if it tastes salty, add some water and the sugar, if desired. Mix the butter with the flour and stir into the gravy until smooth.
When the vegetables are cooked, transfer the garlic to a plate, remove the foil, squeeze the segments onto a plate and mash with a fork. Mix with the vino cotto and toss through the vegetables.
Carve the lamb and serve with the roast vegetables and gravy.
• Vino cotto is a cooked wine syrup used to add a slightly sweet–sour flavor to savoury and sweet dishes. It is available from delicatessens and specialty food stores.