Roast leg of lamb stuffed with ricotta, oregano and lemon recipe
Herbs and ricotta – green and white – are so right for Easter as they make you think of spring. This lamb is really easy to slice so it’s a good choice for a celebratory meal when you have family around.
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus chilling
Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Four to six
1.8kg boneless leg of lamb (or semi-boned, with the shank bone left in – handy for carving)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ tsp chilli flakes
leaves from 2 sprigs of oregano
2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
200ml dry white vermouth
300ml lamb stock
For the stuffing
1 tbsp olive oil
½ small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, grated to a purée
250g ricotta, drained if there is liquid sitting on top of it
grated zest of ¼ lemon
35g Parmesan, grated
leaves from 3 sprigs of oregano, chopped
¼ tsp chilli flakes
1 small egg, lightly beaten
1. Open out the leg of lamb and make long and deep incisions all over the fleshy side (but don’t cut right through).
2. Pound the garlic, chilli, oregano, parsley and some salt and pepper together while adding a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. You should have a rough paste. Spread this all over the fleshy side of the lamb, stuffing it down into the incisions.
3. Cover loosely and keep in the fridge for a couple of hours (or overnight). Bring it out of the fridge a couple of hours before you want to cook it.
4. Heat the oven to 230C/220C fan/gas mark 8.
5. For the stuffing, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion till it’s soft but not coloured, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Scrape into a bowl and, when cool, add the other stuffing ingredients, then season.
6. Spread the stuffing over the fleshy side of the lamb, pushing it down into the incisions where you can. Close the lamb up by pulling the sides into the middle, overlapping them. Tie at intervals with kitchen string.
7. Put the lamb in a tin where it will fit snugly. Brush with olive oil and season. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 190C/180C fan/gas mark 5 and roast for another 45-50 minutes. Remove from the oven and make a double layer of foil into a tent that will go over the top. Scrunch it in under the sides of the tin and let the lamb rest for 15 minutes.
8. Move the lamb, and any ricotta that has fallen out, on to a warm plate and push any stuffing under the lamb. Pour the juices into a clear jug and remove the fat. Put the juices back into the tin and add the vermouth. Bring this to the boil, scraping to loosen any bits stuck to the base.
9. When you have just 100ml left, add the stock. Bring to the boil and reduce until you think it tastes good. Don’t go by thickness – you’re not making gravy. Pour into a jug. Serve the lamb with this.