Slow Roasted Lamb with Salsa Verde

I love slow roasted lamb, and my preference is always the shoulder because of it’s marbling throughout which gives you a beautiful tender result. A leg of lamb, on the other hand, has a layer of fat on the outside so can dry out if you are not careful.

But a leg of lamb looks a lot more spectacular than a shoulder, so I recommend using Matt Moran’s trick of brining the meat (seen in The Recipe by Josh Emett).

Serve it with a fresh salsa verde and beautiful spring vegetables and you have a gorgeous meal!

2 cups salt
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp black peppercorns
8 juniper berries
1 bay leaf
4 litres (16 cups) water

1 leg or shoulder of lamb
2 cloves garlic
sprig of rosemary
2 cups beef or chicken stock
Place the salt, sugar, peppercorns, juniper berries and bay in a large pot. Add 2 litres of water and bring to a simmer. When the sugar and salt have dissolved, take off the heat and pour into a container large enough to hold your lamb. Add the remaining water and allow to cool completely before submerging the lamb. Place in the fridge for 3–4 hours.

Take the lamb out of the brine and pat dry. Place the lamb in a deep oven tray along with the garlic, rosemary and stock. Smear half the salsa verde all over the lamb then cover with foil and bake at 150°C for three hours.

After the initial cooking period, remove the foil and pour off the juices. Turn up the heat to 200°C and return the lamb to the oven for 30–45 minutes to form a beautiful crust.

Take out of the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before tucking in—the meat should just fall off the bone.

Salsa Verde
Often outvoted, I’m not a big fan of the mint and lamb combination. This fresh salsa verde is a delicious addition to the lamb, creating a wonderful crust as well as a fresh dressing to the salad accompaniment. If you are like me and have an aversion to mint, you can minimise this and replace with more parsley or coriander. If you are one of those people who think coriander tastes like soap, tweak the coriander to your taste. Basil is a great substitute for both the mint and coriander. In essence, tweak this versatile sauce to your taste.

4 cloves garlic
2 cups parsley
2 cups mint
2 cups coriander
1 tbsp capers
3–4 anchovies
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a blender or pestle and mortar and blend/pound into a paste. Slowly add the olive oil until you have a smooth, pesto-like consistency.

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