I came across this particular recipe in the first cook book I bought since being in Australia ‘What Katie Ate’ and this is what inspired me to create my own food blog.
Katie Quinn Davies only really got into cooking in her early thirties, spending most of her twenties as a graphic designer where she met her Aussie husband and moved to Melbourne. Due to family circumstances, Katie was given the chance to focus on her passion for food and link this into her creative background to eventually become a food stylist and photographer. Her photography is what captured me, very rustic and reflective upon her Irish heritage. Take a look at her blog and book – it has some great recipes but most of all, it’s like a book of inspiring artwork – great surfaces and styling ideas too, if this interests you.
I have cooked this frequently for the last few years – I’ve made this is Lakes Entrance at my boyfriend’s fathers house, getting up at 5am (when they went off to go fishing) to sort out the lamb ready for lunch – where it was sat happily next to the huge ‘catch of the day’ and still went down a treat. I’ve made this for BBQ’s, one for some Argentinian friends in souvlaki style with homemade flatbreads and tzatziki, once for my mum when she came to stay (which typically didn’t work so well) as I think the lamb was more like mutton and hard to shred – but still delicious she said. Basically, it’s a great dish to feed a crowd or bring along to a BBQ and I’m sure the anticipation created from having this in the oven all day results in greater ecstasy when you finally get to eat it.
The yoghurt flatbreads are definitely worth making with this (recipe on my blog), so quick to make, absolutely no kneading and homemade tzatziki is also a great enhancer to the dish. The herby sauce is like a modern take on mint sauce and really ‘sparks it up’ keeping in tradition with the Greek theme. Black olives and even a fresh tomato sauce can also be great additions…..
Ingredients Serves 2 VERY hungry people or 4 as a main or crowd for BBQ addition!
- 2 brown onions, quartered
- 2 bunches of rosemary
- 1.5kg leg of lamb
- 4 tbsp olive oil for rubbing and drizzling
- 3 garlic bulbs (2 cut in half through the middles) and one divided into cloves
- 1 handful of Greek feta or soft goats cheese
- 1 – 2 lemons quartered, to serve
- 1 large handful each of basil, flat-leaf parsley and mint
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed
- 2-3 anchovy fillets, drained
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
- 125ml olive oil, plus more – if needed
Heat oven to 140°C.
Place the onion quarters in the middle of a roasting tray with one rosemary bunch on top.
Pour about 1 tbsp olive oil into your hands and rub this over the lamb leg.
Make 12 incisions (about 2.5 cm deep and 2 cm wide) in the lamb leg and insert 1 garlic clove into each slit (you may need to cut some in half to get them in). Stuff 1-2 rosemary stems in each slit after folding them in half or quarters, so they don’t poke out too much.
Season the lamb generously, place on top of the onions and rosemary, in the roasting tray and pour over a drizzle of oil (about 2 tbsp).
Cover loosely with tinfoil, tucking it loosely around the inside of the tray and place in the oven for 8 hours. Check occasionally, I normally check it after about 4 hours, adding a little white wine or splash of water if looking slightly dry.
When cooked, remove from oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before shredding it whilst you make the dressing.
For the dressing, simply add all ingredients to a blender (hand or food processor) and blend until you have a paste. Add more oil if it looks a bit thick. You want it ‘looser’ than a pesto so it can be easily drizzled over the meat. Crumble your feta so it’s ready to scatter on the lamb.
Shred the lamb (I use 2 large forks), it should fall easily off the bone and have a beautiful, silky texture. Serve on a large plate, drizzle with the dressing, scatter over feta and place lemon wedges on the side.