Roast Mutton

Mutton. Mutton. Mutton. It’s meat that tastes like meat.

I roasted a leg of it on the weekend and cooked it the traditional way with a few tweaks.

Take 1 leg of mutton and trim off any papery “skin” and excess fat. Use the knife to make about 8 holes the size of a quater of a clove of garlic in the meat.

Into each hole insert: a quarter of a clove of garlic; a sprig of rosemary;a sprig of thyme; and spoon in a bit of black olive tapenade if you’ve got it.

Then rub the leg with olive oil and season with pepper and sea salt.

Place in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes and then up it to 200C. This took me about 60 minutes all up, but there was a fair bit of messing about with the oven door open while I tried to squeeze in the potato gratin. After 40 minutes give it a poke with a skewer and as soon as the juices turn clear, yank it out. Cover it with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes. This is important. The juices run in terror from the heat to the middle and then, when the heat has gone they creep back to the outer bits. It’s also important to make sure the leg has defrosted properly. This really means letting it defrost in the fridge but you can hurry the process by leaving it in the oven with the heat off but the fan on. The more constant the temperature through it, the more even the cooking. Also, while I’m on the hints, put the roast on a rack or rest it on some 15mm potato slices (what I did) if it sits on the pan, it’ll stew, rather than roast.

I made my usual jus/gravy – some spring onion whites chopped and sauteed in butter, followed by some chopped mushrooms. When cooked, add a cup of beef stock, and a cup of wine, bring to the boil. Drain the fat off the roasting pan and add the stock etc. to the pan, deglazing. Reduce the stock over a high heat and thicken with cornflour mixed in a little water.You can whisk in a bit of butter at the end.

The dinner was served with roast potato and sweet potato along with brussel sprouts. The womens weekly cookbook told me to cut a cross in the stem and then boil in lightly salted water for 8 minutes. Making sure to peel the darker leaves off the outside. I also made a potato gratin. Can’t be arsed typing it up but I didn’t have enough milk so I substituted some buttermilk and it wasn’t too bad.Think potatoes and sour cream.