I personally think lamb is one of the most tasty meats you can eat, as long as you know how to cook it properly. This recipe is indeed proof that you can turn a dish many wouldn’t dare to try into a delicacy they can’t stop eating.
It has vegetables, it has cheese, it has acidity and it has meat, the perfect combination for a perfect Sunday dinner with friends and family.
For the roast
- 1 boneless leg of lamb (approximately 2 kgs)
- 2 medium sized tomatoes in slices
- 3-4 large carrots cut in medium-thick sticks
- 1 large red pepper in slices
- 6-7 cheddar cheese sticks (or, any cheese you like)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano (or, 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
- salt & pepper
- 20-25 blanched vine leaves
- aluminium foil (or, baking sheet)
For the marinade
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- freshly squeezed juice from 2 lemons
- 2-3 teaspoons mustard
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh spearmint (or, 1-2 teaspoons dried)
For the sauce
- ⅓ glass of dry white wine
- 4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- salt & pepper for seasoning
The night before
- Remove any plastic netting or twine that may be around the leg of lamb and open it up on a cutting board, skin facing down.
- With a sharp paring knife, cut away any excess fatty areas and make slits in the meat about 5 cm apart, to help the meat lie flat.
- Cover the meat with a piece of cling film and pound the meat with a mallet or the base of a plastic glass, until the roast is about 3cm thick everywhere.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine well the “marinade” ingredients and add the flatten roast in it, making sure it covers it from all sides.
- Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight.
On the day
- Preheat oven at 200°C.
- Cut a big piece of aluminium foil, twice the size of the meat when spread out, (you can also use baking sheets), grease it slightly with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and spread the vine leaves (smooth side down) to fully cover the aluminium foil.
- Remove the meat from the marinade, pat dry slightly with kitchen paper and place in the centre of the aluminium foil-covered-in-vine-leaves.
- Season with salt and pepper and the oregano.
- In the middle of the meat, within 3 cms of the edges,starting from the top and going all the way down, add the tomato slices, then follow with the carrot sticks, the red pepper slices and on top of them all the cheese sticks.
- Carefully, using both hands, slightly detach the edges of the vine leaves from the aluminium foil that are on your side and start rolling them, rolling the meat up at the same time (the vine leaves will get rolled up inside the roast while rolling the meat). When it is fully rolled, the whole piece of meat should be covered in vine leaves.
- Use the aluminium foil to cover the rolled meat (like a small cave), sealing it on the sides, place on a baking tray and cook for approximately 2 hours. .
- After approximately 2 hours, carefully remove from the oven and cut open the aluminium foil to reveal the roast.
- Place back in the oven for an extra 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before you serve.
- While the roast is resting, you can start preparing the sauce.
- When you open the baking sheets, you will see that the roast had released many juices. Carefully transfer all these juices onto a small saucepan and add the white wine and the lemon juice.
- Shimmer for 5 minutes for the alcohol to evaporate and then add the cornflour while whisking continuously until the sauce thickens.
- Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Cut the roast in 1-1½ cm slices, pour over the sauce and serve with crispy potatoes and a fresh salad.