To anyone who has ever wanted to de-bone and stuff a leg of lamb but has been to afraid to tackle it; don’t be! This was my first time and it wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought. I’m sure professionals might look at my technique and laugh but I don’t care. It looked beautiful when it came out of the oven and it tasted divine so that’s good enough for me.
I stuffed my leg of lamb with baby spinach and roast garlic. There was quite a lot of the stuffing and a) I got it all in, and b) none of it came out during cooking so that’s a success in my book. My method may be somewhat unorthodox (I sewed it in with extra strong thread) but it worked.
To make this recipe you will need a leg of lamb (obviously), a bag of baby spinach, 5 bulbs garlic, salt, oil, a bunch of mint, a spash of cider vinegar and some honey. Oh and some string plus a large needle threaded with strong thread.
To de-bone the leg of lamb, simply lay it down and feel around the bone with a very sharp knife making small incisions and easing the bone out bit by bit. Don’t worry about it being too neat. If you’re worried about how to begin or which way to go in look up a couple of how-to videos on the web.
You will need to roast off your garlic beforehand. To do this, simply cut the very tips off each garlic bulb (see photo above), put them face down in an oven-proof dish and roast for a couple of hours in a low to medium oven. When they are cooked and cooled squeeze out the sweet flesh and mash with a fork.
The prepare the baby spinach just pop the whole bag in a large pan with a small knob of butter and cook on a high heat for a few minutes until it wilts. To get rid of the excess liquid it gives out put it in a sieve and press down with the back of a wooden spoon. Mix the cooked strained spinach with the mashed roast garlic and checking for seasoning before spreading on your meat.
Now to roll your leg of lamb and secure the filling inside. First, spread the filling over the laid out meat but leave about a 1 inch gap from the edges. Next, secure it roughly with some string – sort of fold it over and make a parcel. At this stage some of the filling will undoubtedly try and escape. Don’t worry, on the next stage – the sewing – you can pop it back in and stitch the meat together to hold it in. You will need to turn it over, tug at the flesh, stretch it over and generally manipulate the meat. Don’t be afraid of pulling the meat into a shape you can join together. Show it whose boss!
The good thing about re-shaping the meat in this way is that it will cook more evenly in the oven than a leg with one thin end and one fat end. In stuffing it and sewing it up you will have made it into something more approaching a square. To cook the meat, cover it with foil or make a foil pouch for it and put it in the oven at gas mark 6 for one hour and fifteen minutes. This will give you nicely pink lamb. When there is only twenty minutes to go uncover the meat and put the glaze on it which you make by simply boiling together a bunch of chopped mint, a couple of tablespoons of runny honey, a couple of tablepoons cider vinegar and a good pinch of salt. Only use half the glaze and then glaze it again with ten minutes to go.
Always allow the meat to rest before carving. Serves 6 – 8 people.