Roast Leg of Lamb with Walnut & Oregano Stuffing

This is a roast lunch with a Greek twist – I just love the way fresh oregano works with the rich flavours of lamb, so when Welsh Lamb got in touch and asked me if I fancied creating a recipe with their boned, rolled leg cut, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try out a stuffing mix that would combine those lovely flavours. For a bit of a change, I served it with buttery mash instead of roast potatoes, and a rich red wine reduction.

Boned rolled leg of lamb (the one I used was about 1.1 kg)
3 thick slices of white bread
A handful of fresh oregano
A handful of walnuts
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp coarse sea salt
A splash of olive oil
For the mash:
3 large potatoes
Double cream
A pinch of salt
For the red wine reduction:
1 small onion
A large glass of red wine
1 tbsp Bisto gravy powder
1 garlic clove

You’ll also need butcher’s twine or other suitable string, to truss the lamb for cooking

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan).

Start by making the stuffing for the lamb. First, use a pestle and mortar to combine the oregano, peeled and chopped garlic, sea salt, walnuts and a splash of olive oil, to make a thick pesto. Then, cut the crusts off the bread and dip it briefly into a bowl of cold water, before squeezing out the excess. Mix well with the pesto to make a thick, fluffy stuffing.

To prepare the lamb, snip off the string holding it in a roll and open it out flat. Imagine a dividing line running between the two long sides at the halfway point, and on one side of it, pile the stuffing, making sure it doesn't go all the way up to the edge. Fold the meat back over and truss firmly in both directions so that it will keep its shape as it cooks. Place on a roasting tray and pop in the oven. It needs to cook for 20 minutes per 450g, plus an extra 20 minutes, and you need to allow it 15 minutes of resting at the end, so for this 1.1kg piece of lamb, I allowed 1 hour and 25 minutes for cooking and resting.

When you have about 30 minutes left to go, you need to start thinking about the mash and the gravy. Peel the potatoes, cut into chunks, and place in a pan of cold water so that they’re ready to go. Peel the onion and chop as finely as you can, and get it frying gently in some melted butter, with the garlic clove (crushed). Once the onions have softened up, add the red wine with a generous hand and reduce until it’s thick and syrupy.

This is probably the right point to get the potatoes boiling (drain away the cold water and top up with hot, or it’ll take forever) and take the lamb out to rest – cover it with tinfoil and then a tea towel so it stays warm.

When the red wine has reduced by at least half, use the gravy powder to make up 300ml of gravy and then add it to the pan. Keep the heat high and reduce the sauce again until it reaches ‘coating consistency’ – this is the point where it’ll coat the back of a spoon without dripping straight off again. Strain to remove the onions and then pop back on a low heat.

The potatoes should need about 15 minutes – when they’re really nice and soft, drain the water and then mash with plenty of butter and cream, and a good pinch of salt. Serve with slices of just-pink on top and a drizzle of red wine gravy to finish it all off.

Welsh Lamb has a PGI, or Protected Geographical Indication, a designation awarded by the European Commission which means that only lambs born and raised in Wales and slaughtered in HCC-approved abattoirs can be legally described as Welsh Lamb. That means you’re getting only the very best meat, raised on beautiful Welsh grazing for the very best taste.