½ leg of lamb, about (1.5 kg) 3-3 ½ lb
2 garlic cloves, cut lengthways into thin slivers
7 tbsp (105 ml) olive oil
Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
About 8 fl oz (250 ml) 1 cup lamb or vegetable stock
1 ½ lb (675 g) potatoes, cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) cubes
A few fresh sage leaves, chopped salt and ground black pepper lightly cooked baby carrots, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (250 C). Using the point of a sharp knife, make deep incisions in the lamb, especially near the bone, and insert the slivers of garlic into the holes.
2. Put the lamb in a roasting tin and rub it all over with 3 tbsp (45 ml) of the oil. Sprinkle over about half the chopped rosemary, patting it on firmly, and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once.
3. Lower the oven temperature to 375 F (190 C). Turn the lamb over again and add 4 fl oz (120 ml) cup of the stock to the tin.
4. Roast for a further 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours until the lamb is tender, turning the joint two or three times more and adding the rest of the stock in two or three more batches. Baste the lamb each time it is turned, to prevent the meat from drying out.
5. Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a separate roasting tin and toss with the remaining oil and rosemary and the sage. Roast, on the same shelf as the lamb if possible, for 45 minutes, turning them several times until golden and tender.
6. Transfer the lamb to a carving board, cover with a foil “tent” and leave to stand in a warm place for 10 minutes. Serve whole or carved into thin slices, surrounded by the potatoes and accompanied by carrots, or your choice of vegetable.
From 50 Italian Classics