My Christmas present to Yi was a cartoon calender of dogs (I gave the whole family dog calenders except Hub, who got a penguin one. Why calenders? Because they were light and cheap. (We decided the year before to forgo Christmas presents because the whole presents thing got too burdensome and materialistic, and they were getting too many presents.). And oh, I also gave her the thick, heavy hardcover Australian Women's Weekly Cookbook from Borders that sold for A$19.98/RM60 from the original price of A$79/RM240. She decided to try out the roasted leg of lamb recipe for our New Year's Eve dinner. Said it only needed 45 minutes to roast so we took off for the Gold Coast for some sight-seeing and shopping (Pacific Fair is better than anywhere in Brisbane for shopping. Anywhere is better than Brisbane, come to think of it. Except maybe Perth.). We got back at 6, realised that the 45 minutes roasting time was for a small de-boned joint while ours was a 3 kg, on the bone. Panic. We had told CL dinner was at 7:30 pm. Looked like we won't get to eat until 9 pm.
Mom to the rescue. CL's oven is very hot, probably 30 degrees hotter than that on the temperature dial. I set it at 200 C (which is probably 230 C in most ovens) and baked it 30 minutes, then lowered it to 170 C (200 C for not so hot ovens) for an hour. The result was the best leg of lamb we have ever eaten, better than the the family's vote of the previous best (Ronnie C's). I could never get my roasted lamb as flavorful, with a crusty seared outer layer and moist meat as Ronnie's. Ha, but now we've mastered it! It was the moistest (juiciest more describes it), tenderest, sweetest and flavorfulest roasted lamb we have ever had! And we ate at 8 pm! So sometimes good things come out of dire situations.
Besides the roasting temperature (high temp, shorter time, bake-steam), fresh choice lamb is also a key to the best roasted lamb. And oh, Yi also had the priviledge of using newly planted rosemary from CL's garden. It really was a yummy, memorable New Year's Eve dinner.
Roasted Leg of Lamb
3 kg leg of lamb, on the bone
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
garlic cloves, sliced into half lengthwise
2 t salt & 1/3 t black pepper
1. Switch oven on to 200 C (or 230 C if oven is not so hot. Each oven is different. Know yours!).
2. Brutally stab the leg all over with a sharp paring knife. Stuff a piece of garlic and rosemary into each slit. Rub salt and pepper all over and lay the roast on a wire rack over a baking pan.
3. Pour enough water into pan upto 2"/5 cm high and place pan onto middle rack of the oven. This will keep the oven from smoking, keep the roast moist and prevent the dripping from burning. Top up with more water if necessary. Roast uncovered 30 minutes (if it is browning too quickly, turn down after 20 minutes). Turn temp down to 170 C and roast for another hour for a medium to rare roast, give another 20 to 30 minutes for a well-done roast.
4. Remove the roast onto a serving plate. Meanwhile, do the gravy:
1. Pour the pan juices (about 2 cups) from the pan into a bowl, skim off the oil and return the sauce to the pan.
2. Set the pan over the stove at medium fire. Add 1 cup chicken stock (she used Real Stock's chicken stock), salt and pepper and 3 T white wine (we used rose, the only wine we had). Dissolve 2 T cornflour with 2 T water, add to the sauce and stir well until thickened.
Note: roasting time for lamb (bone on) is 1 hour per kg for well-done. If a slightly medium well is preferred, reduce overall roasting time by 30 minutes. If there's lack of time, roast at 200 C all through, put fan on for the last 30 minutes, and overall time can be reduced by about 45 minutes for well done but lamb will not be as moist.
For boneless leg, I reckon you can reduce roasting time to 45 minutes per kg medium and 1 hour per kg for well done.