Beer-roast lamb with a parsnip gratin

Living Etc - - ENTERTAINING / ETC -

For the lamb

*2.5kg (large) leg of lamb, part-boned and tied with string *500ml pale or golden ale

*300ml chicken or lamb stock

*8 cloves gar­lic, skin on, bruised

*2 tbsp chopped rose­mary

*2 tbsp olive oil

*1 bunch baby or young car­rots, scrubbed with any tops trimmed *2 red onions, thickly sliced

*3 rose­mary sprigs

For the gratin

*400g crème fraîche

*200ml milk

*but­ter for greas­ing *1kg parsnips, trimmed, peeled and finely sliced into rounds

(prefer­ably with a man­dolin) *100g gruyère cheese, grated *1 tbsp chopped rose­mary *a good grat­ing of nut­meg

Put the lamb in a large, sturdy food bag or non-me­tal­lic dish and cover with the ale and stock. Add the gar­lic and rose­mary and leave to mar­i­nate for 8-48 hours. Once ready to cook the lamb, pre­heat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.

To make the gratin, com­bine the crème fraîche and milk in a bowl and sea­son lightly with salt and pep­per. But­ter a medium bak­ing dish and cover the base with one third of the sliced parsnips and one third of the cheese. Sea­son with salt, pep­per, a lit­tle rose­mary and a lit­tle nut­meg. Spoon one third of the crème fraîche mix­ture over and cover with an­other layer of parsnips and cheese. Re­peat the lay­er­ing, re­serv­ing the last third of cheese to scat­ter over the top of the gratin. Cover tightly with foil and slide into the oven for 40 min­utes.

Lift the lamb leg from the mari­nade and pat dry. Rub the olive oil over the leg, sea­son gen­er­ously with salt and pep­per and lay it in a large bak­ing dish or sturdy roast­ing tin large enough to con­tain the beer and stock. Roast (with­out the mari­nade), for 30 min­utes, un­til be­gin­ning to brown. Spoon any ex­cess fat from the lamb dish and dis­card, then add the mari­nade, car­rots, onions and rose­mary sprigs to the dish, along with 150ml wa­ter. Cover tightly with two lay­ers of foil and turn the heat down to 120°C/gas mark 1.

At this point, re­move the gratin and set aside. Cook the lamb for 6-6½ hours, un­til the meat is in­cred­i­bly ten­der. Check after 4 hours and add a lit­tle more wa­ter if the liq­uid has re­duced to al­most noth­ing. Re­move the lamb from the oven and cloak with a cou­ple of tea tow­els. Rest for 40 min­utes.

Turn the oven up to 190°C/gas mark 5 and slide the parsnip gratin back in. Bake, cov­ered, for 30 min­utes, then un­cover and cook for a fi­nal 5-10 min­utes, un­til golden on top and bub­bling. Serve with the lamb and plenty of steamed, but­tered greens.

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