The boned leg of lamb was kindly supplied by the online company Paganum, in it's own eco-friendly box, swathed in sheep's wool to insulate it and keep it cool. This started off in the marinade, but as it was a snow day and there was absolutely nothing to do, I started pacing around it like a hungry wolf. The recipe I based this loosely around was one of Jamie Oliver's, and he suggests marinading it from 1 hour - 24 hours. 24 hours! How was I going to hold off? I nibbled on crackers, vainly ate some fruit, even made myself some toast but in the end, 3 hours was as much as I could muster and I banged it in the oven.
It was worth the wait - other food bloggers, such as Helen and Niamh, have recommended Paganum and I wanted to give them a go myself. They're based in the Yorkshire Dales and they're an 'online farmers market', supplying meat from family and artisan farms. So, perfect for people like me who can't be arsed to drag my lazy backside to the local farmer's market on a Sunday morning, which more often than not turns out to be a dodgem of Ferrari pushchairs and yummy mummies with their Starbucks. The meat in this alternative roast dinner was delicious; slightly gamey as lamb is, but beautifully tender too. You could almost tell it had a happy life. The chickpea marinade made a flavoursome and slightly crunchy crust.
Chickpea & Mint Leg of Lamb
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
A large handful of mint, leaves picked
1 tbsp sumac
1 tsp ground cumin
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
400mls natural yoghurt
1 tsp cinnamon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp ground coriander
2 onions, or 4 large shallots
1 head of garlic
Slash the lamb to allow the marinade to really get inside the meat. In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas with the garlic, sumac, lemon juice, cumin, mint, cinnamon and some salt. You don't want it pureed, but still with some texture. Add the yoghurt and mix thoroughly. Add half this marinade to the lamb, ensuring it's all covered, and reserve the rest. Marinade for at least 3 hours, if not overnight.
To cook, bring the lamb to room temperature. Peel 4 carrots and slice into thick batons and lay on the roasting tray with large peeled quartered shallots or onions, and a whole bulb of garlic. Roast on the highest setting for 20 minutes, then turn th oven down to 160 and roast until it's how you like it (and that's medium rare - mine took a total of an hour). Rest for at least 30 minutes. Any juices left in the tray should be used to cook the cous cous. Cook some cous cous with slices of lemon and steam some green beans. Serve with the reserved yoghurt as a sauce.