Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Olives, Bread, Pinenuts & Herbs
- 1 x Whole bulb of garlic, broken into cloves, unpeeled
- 3 x Good handfuls of mixed fresh herbs (mint, parsley, oregano, thyme), leaves picked
- 6 x Slices of pancetta
- 3 x Anchovy fillets
- 100g x Rustic bread, torn into 2.5cm pieces (don’t use pre-packaged sliced bread)
- 1 x Good handful of pinenuts
- 1 x Handful of green olives, stones removed
- 1 x 2kg Leg of Lamb, prepared as above
- 1 x Bunch of fresh rosemary
- 2kg x Good roasting potatoes, peeled and halved
- 1 x Sprig of bay leaves
- 1 x Bottle of red wine
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (for seasoning)
- olive oil
Peel a couple of garlic cloves and pop them into a food processor – as it’s whizzing add your mixed herbs, the pancetta and anchovies and whiz again. Scrape the mixture into a bowl.
Put the bread in the processor. Whiz to coarse breadcrumbs, and add to the bowl with the pinenuts and olives. Add salt and pepper and scrunch everything together with your hands to make the stuffing. If it looks too dry, add a drop of boiled water.
Push the stuffing into the cavity in the Lamb. You can roast it stuffed like this, or you can tie it up with string, pushing some rosemary underneath. Pat it with olive oil on the outside and season with salt and pepper.
Toss the potatoes and remaining garlic with the bay leaves, the rest of the rosemary and some olive oil, salt and pepper and put them into a roasting tray with the Lamb in the middle. It’s unusual to see rare or pink roasted meats in Italy, so we’re going to cook our Lamb like they do. Roast it for about an hour and a half at 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Trust me – it will be juicy and delicious! After half an hour, start basting the Lamb with a good swig of wine over the meat and potatoes every 15 minutes or so until the meat is cooked. Remove the potatoes to a dish when cooked to keep them warm.
When the Lamb is cooked, let it rest for 15 minutes. It’s nice served with some simply cooked greens. The Italians prefer the goodness from the meat juices to be cooked into the vegetables in the tray rather than make gravy.
You can also cook vegetables around the Lamb as well as the potatoes, turnips, Jerusalem artichokes, celeriac, fennel and parsnips are all good.