½ bunch fresh rosemary , leaves picked, a few sprigs left whole
4 anchovy fillets
100 g ciabatta torn into chunks
1 large handful pine nuts
1 large handful green olives , stones removed and roughly chopped
1 lemon , zest and juice of
freshly ground black pepper
2 onions , peeled and roughly chopped
2 carrots , roughly chopped
2 sticks celery , roughly chopped
1 bottle of red wine
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
1 litre organic chicken or vegetable stock
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Stuffing a leg of lamb is a great way to transform a regular cut into something a bit special for Easter, and this recipe ensures it’ll be bursting with flavour. If you’ve never made homemade gravy before, give it a go – you can’t beat it!
Preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Turn the leg of lamb upside down on a chopping board and very gently cut halfway down into the leg along the bone so the meat opens out, creating a pocket.
Make your stuffing by peeling a couple of garlic cloves and popping them into a food processor. As it’s whizzing away, add the parsley and rosemary leaves, then the anchovies. Scrape this mixture into a bowl, then add the ciabatta and pine nuts to the processor. You want it to be quite coarse so just pulse it a few times, then tip it into your bowl of herbs along with the chopped olives and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, then get your clean hands in the bowl and scrunch everything together. If it looks too dry, add a little lemon juice.
Pack this stuffing into the pocket of the lamb, then wrap the meat back over and tie it tightly with string, pushing the remaining rosemary sprigs underneath the string. Drizzle over a little olive oil, pat this into the lamb and season with salt and pepper.
Place your roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery in a roasting tray with any remaining unpeeled garlic cloves and lay your lamb on top. Roast for about an hour and a half. In Italy, they’ll start basting the lamb after 30 minutes by pouring a swig of wine over the meat and veg every 15 minutes or so until the meat is cooked. Trust me – it is well worth doing and makes it juicy and delicious! When cooked, transfer the lamb to a board or platter to rest while you make your gravy.
Spoon off most of the fat from your tray, then put it on the hob over a low heat. Add the flour and mash everything together with a potato masher. Add a glass of red wine and bring to the boil, to cook off the alcohol. Pour in the stock and bring back to the boil, scraping all the goodness from the bottom of the pan as you go. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Sieve your gravy into a jug or pan, using a ladle to really push all the goodness through. Discard any veg or meat left behind. At this point, your lamb will have been resting for around 15 minutes and will be perfect for serving. Dish it up and tuck in!