I agree with her that shoulder meat is sweeter, but I like to use the denser, leaner leg for this, from a more mature beast, packed with the extra flavour of longer grazing, or an extra-hardy mountain breed. Cumbrian Herdwick is perfect. This serves four to six people, but if you are cooking for two or three, a half-leg takes 2½ hours.
- 1 leg mature lamb or hogget, on the bone, about 2.5kg
- 3 tbsp rosemary leaves finely chopped
- 2-3 tbsp oil (I use local rapeseed but plain olive oil is fine)
- 1 tsp paprika (unsmoked)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 English onions, sliced thickly
- a bulb of fennel, cut into quarters or eighths
- a head of garlic, halved
- 1.2 litres lamb or vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 heaped teaspoon spiced grape jelly
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7 (200°C Fan).
- Combine the rosemary and paprika with the oil and season well with salt and pepper. Rub all over the lamb.
- Place the sliced onions and fennel, along with the garlic in the base of a small roasting tin with a trivet for the lamb to sit on. Add the stock and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until well browned, then reduce the temperature to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3 (140°C Fan).
- Cover the lamb with aluminium foil and continue to roast for 3 - 4 hours, basting regularly with the juices, until it is so tender that it comes away from the bone.
- Remove the lamb from the tin and keep warm on a serving plate. The skin should be crisp and dark. Rest it while you make the gravy.
- Skim the surface fat from the pan, saving two tablespoons of it in a saucepan. Strain the juices into a measuring jug and add enough boiling water to make 570ml of liquid.
- Heat the fat in the saucepan until hot. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Still over the heat, add the roasting juices and whisk until thickened and smooth.
- Check the seasoning and stir in the jelly.
- Serve in thick slices with roast potatoes or a vegetable gratin.