a roasting lesson, for dom


basic five hour roast leg of lamb

It never ceases to amaze me how much most blokes love their meat and my gorgeous brother, Dom, is definitely no exception to the rule. Give him a lamb shank or a thick juicy steak, and he’s a happy man.

Recently Dom moved into a new share house and being keen to pull his weight with the kitchen duties, asked me to provide a recipe or two. Now as far as I can tell, my brother isn’t exactly a slouch in the kitchen. While I haven’t been lucky enough to sample any of his creations, I have heard that he makes a mean risotto and has even dabbled in the dark art of home jerky making.

Given this and the fact that he is in the process of building himself a house out of steel (from scratch, with his own two hands), I wasn’t so sure that such a creative and talented lad would really need any culinary help from his big sister. But the other day, when I decided to do a five hour roast leg of lamb, it was just the type of thing that seemed perfect for my bro.

So my friends, I give you what I hope will one day become legendary: Dom’s classic roast lamb dinner. The salad is optional, of course and to finish there’s Dom’s second favourite dessert (after Mum’s lemon meringue pie), a big bowl of commercial vanilla ice cream totally unadorned. all good things.

dom’s classic roast lamb dinner
basic five hour roast leg of lamb
easy potato bake
green salad, optional
vanilla icecream, straight up

basic five hour roast leg of lamb
Serves 8
Inspired by Jeremy Strode’s five-hour shoulder of mutton in the July 07 Australian Gourmet Traveller.

If you’ve never roasted a leg of lamb before this is a great place to start. No worrying about getting the right amount of pinkness. Just wrap it up, pop it in the oven and go out and play with some steel for five hours or so and then come back to meltingly soft meat with a ready made sauce. Perfect.

Jeremy uses white wine instead of beer but knowing my brother, there wouldn’t be even a drop of wine at his place (I know….sometimes I can’t believe we’re related either). Carlton Draught worked well but feel free to use your beverage of choice. I wouldn’t mind trying it with a nice spicy shiraz.

The critical thing with this is to make sure you’ve got your lamb really well wrapped, otherwise you run the risk of the delicious juices escaping over the five hours leaving you with a dry, fossilized hunk of meat.

It may seem like a lot of garlic, but after all that time in the oven, trust me, it will be magically transformed into a lovely soft nutty paste that is just perfect with lamb. The other veg take on another character too but they don’t look all the best so it’s up to you whether you serve them with the lamb or go for another accompaniment.

1 large leg lamb, bone in
4 onions, peeled & halved crosswise
2 carrots quartered lengthwise and halved cross wise to give 8 pieces
2 ribs celery, quartered crosswise
2 heads garlic, halved crosswise
6 sprigs thyme (pinch some from mum’s garden)
375mL stubbie (that’s a bottle for our non Oz friends) Carlton Draught or your favourite beer

Preheat oven to 220C. Place veg in the bottom of a roasting pan then top with lamb. Rub one teaspoon salt onto the surface of the lamb and crack a generous amount of pepper over the top. Roast uncovered for 30mins or until meat is starting to brown.

Add thyme and pour over beer. Cover with at least 2 layers of foil making sure the edges are well sealed. Reduce oven to 180C and return lamb. Cook for another 4 ½ hours or until the meat is super tender.

Pour cooking juices into a tall jug or jar and allow the fat to settle to the top. Scoop off the fat and keep the remaining juices warm. Carve lamb and serve with the cooked veg, if using and the warmed juices


easy potato bake
Serves 6
Also inspired by Jeremy Strode.

This is my take on pommes (potatoes) Anna. It may seem like a lot of faffing around at the beginning when you could just toss some spuds in oil and pop them in the oven to roast but if you’re in the mood for something a little different these work a treat.

You could bake these separately to the lamb but I find it easiest to cook them on the shelf below the lamb for longer and then while you’re carving the lamb, crank up the oven and give them a go on the top shelf so they are crispy topped and still sizzling when you serve.

1kg, approx 6 desiree potatoes or other red skinned spuds
100g butter, diced
pinch smoky paprika, optional

Wash potatoes well and dry with paper towel or a clean tea towel. Slice into rounds as thinly as you can using either a mandoline, v-slicer or a sharp knife and a steady hand. Place a few chunks of butter in a medium sized ceramic baking dish and top with a layer of potatoes. Continue to layer butter and potatoes, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. Sprinkle over paprika if using and cover with foil. Bake in the oven on a shelf below the lamb for 40mins. Remove foil and continue to bake uncovered for another 30-40mins or until the potatoes are well cooked and golden.

If the potatoes cook before the lamb is done, no worries. Just keep them aside and return to the oven as per my note above to heat through while you’re carving the lamb.

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  • Jules, this sounds good as I’ve never done a lamb leg roast…there’s just one problem – I cannot stand the taste of beer. I can taste the smallest trace amounts in any dish and it makes me nauseous (sp?) :( I do want to make a roast before the end of winter though – could you think of a replacement? Could I, perhaps, use sparkling apple cider?

  • Roasts are always a winner. Legs are generally too big for my small household. Will definitely try this with lamb shoulder.

  • hey ellie
    you really just need the beer for moisture and flavouring. white wine would work and apple cider would be a great idea as long as it wasn’t too sweet. or you could go non alcoholic and just use some chicken stock. roasts are great when you have a crowd to feed and you can always make awesome sandwiches with the leftovers. good luck with it.

    thanks patricia

    lamb shoulder would probably be even better than a leg for this cooking method and much better size for a smaller household

  • B. would probably kill me turning the oven on right now, but I definitely keep this in my list to have this winter. There is nothing I love more than a house smelling of roast, potatoes and good old comfort. Gorgeous!

  • Just wanted to let you know that I used this recipe to cook a special meal for ten friends last night, and it was wonderful! Thank you.

    PS – I used white wine instead of beer

  • Hey Jules. Just wanted to let you know that this recipie is now the inspiration for a long weekend long lunch. Well let you know how it turns out. x K

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