Born in Ferryhill in County Durham, Shaun Rankin became known for championing the incredible produce of Jersey. Now based at Grantley Hall in Yorkshire, his food displays a passion for his environment – wherever that may be – and working with the best ingredients to create simple dishes with stunning flavour.
Lamb is a very popular meat in the UK. For many, the ultimate roast is a leg of lamb with mint sauce or redcurrant jelly. A leg of lamb has a strong taste and can take robust spices, herbs and sauces. And for any leftovers, it’s perfectly fantastic in curries, tagines and pies.
What to look for when buying lamb:
- Always buy lamb from a decent butcher and opt for British and organic if you can. Keep in mind that the meat of grass-fed animals contains more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed ones. If choosing a rare breed of lamb it may be darker and taste more gamey
- When choosing lamb, look for a deep pink colour with dry, white fat.
- Lamb should be stored covered in the fridge for 2–3 days or frozen on the day of purchase.
How to cook a leg of lamb
- Leg of lamb is traditionally roasted in a hot oven (190˚C–220˚C) though it can also be slow cooked at lower temperatures for much longer. Lamb leg steaks are widely available for pan-frying and grilling and diced leg can be used for stews, tagines and pies.
- When cooking a leg of lamb whole, don’t remove any excess fat – it adds flavour and helps keep the meat tender. The fat will render down during cooking; drain it from the roasting tray and whisk it into your gravy for an extra boost of lamb flavour
- It is important to let the meat come to room temperature before beginning to ensure it will cook through evenly. It is also imperative to let the meat rest after cooking, 20 minutes is sufficient. Wrap the leg in tin foil to prevent it from getting too cold
- Use a meat thermometer to test whether your meat is cooked or not; it’s not essential but will help determine to what stage the lamb is cooked, from rare (48–54˚C) to medium-rare (55–59 °C) to medium (60–66˚C) to well done (67–74˚C) and give a more consistent result. Roast lamb should be served pink in the middle
Roast Leg of Lamb With Minted Jersey Royals
Number of people: 4
3 sprigs of rosemary
3 sprigs of thyme
4 garlic cloves, roughly sliced
2kg leg of lamb
Salt & pepper
450g Jersey Royal potatoes
5 sprigs of mint
500g frozen garden peas
This roast lamb recipe from Shaun Rankin is the perfect meal for a family with simple accompaniments — potatoes, mint, peas — making preparation and clearing up a breeze
- Preheat the oven to 250°C/Gas mark 9
- Snip the rosemary and thyme into small sprigs. Using a small knife, pierce six or seven holes in the lamb and stud with the rosemary, thyme and garlic
- Season the lamb with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for approximately 1 hour or until cooked to your liking
- Towards the end of the cooking time, cook the Jersey Royals in boiling salted water with three of the mint stalks, for 10 – 15 minutes or until tender
- Place the frozen peas in boiling water and bring the water quickly back to the boil. Cook for approximately 2 – 5 minutes or until just tender
- Chop the remaining mint and mix together with the warm Jersey Royals and butter
- Carve the lamb and serve with the potatoes, peas and a scattering of fresh honeycomb