While the vegetarian chili in the previous post is undoubtedly very tasty, sometimes you want red meat. Specifically, the red meat that comes from those cute little fluffy lambs. Sorry, I know it's terrible, but it's so much nicer than mutton or beef. (Or vegetarian chili? shhhhh...I didn't say that!)
A few weeks ago I caught a UK food show featuring the ubiquitous Mr. Jamie Oliver and though I didn't write down the exact recipe it gave me an idea for a new twist on roast lamb. The original recipe was for a roast beef wrapped in proscuitto with wild mushrooms. In my version, I substituted lamb and all my favourite flavours to accompany it but I am grateful to Jamie for the idea of using ham to wrap the meat and enclose the mushrooms. It was a fantastic combination, a kind of inverted method of stuffing your meat.
Lamb wrapped in Mushrooms and Ham
1 boneless lamb roast of about 1 kilo (2.2 pounds)
2-300 grams mushrooms
4-5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 plump garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tin (about 10) anchovies
8 slices of French or Italian raw ham (I used Jambon de Savoie)
Preheat oven to 200c/375f. Clean and slice the mushrooms and saute until soft in a bit of butter. Do not add salt as the ham and the anchovies in the recipe will most likely add enough salt for all. Lay long trussing strings on a flexible chopping mat or on a large piece of plastic wrap: four across the long end of where you intend to place the roast and one horizontally along the middle of the long end. Lay out the 8 strips of ham, overlapping, in two columns. (You may notice a lack of strings in the photo: this was a good idea that occurred to me after I laid out the roast!) Spread the mushrooms in the center of the ham wrapping. If your roast is already trussed, remove the strings. Chop the rosemary roughly and put on a plate; roll the roast over the rosemary so that it sticks to the meat. Place the meat on the mushrooms and sprinkle the garlic, sliced, over the meat. (If there is any rosemary left, throw it over the meat and mushrooms too!) Lay anchovies over the top of the roast. It will look something like this when you are done.
Now use the edge of the flexible mat or the plastic wrap to pull one side of the ham up over the roast. Carefully roll the roast over until it is completely wrapped in ham. Now take the strings you thoughtfully prepared in advance and tie up the meat. If you did not have the foresight to prepare the strings in advance you'll just have to do your best to make it look professional and neat.
Roast until the internal temperature is where you like it - ours took a little over an hour as I am obliged to cook all of my meat until well done at the moment.
While the meat is resting, brown the pan juices over a medium flame, add flour and red wine and reduce to make a savoury gravy. You probably won't need to add any salt but some freshly ground pepper and a bit of fresh thyme would not go amiss.
This is an extremely flavourful way to prepare lamb. All of these elements usually figure in my roast lamb (slits in the meat stuffed with garlic and rosemary for example, and anchovies in the gravy) but this was much less fiddly to prepare and concentrated the flavours throughout the roast instead of just in a few pockets. A great success and I am again grateful to Jamie for inspiring me!