This slow cooked leg of lamb recipe requires very little effort and cooking skills. The method we use to prepare it will ensure a succulent fall-off-the-bone result every single time.
The best type of lamb to use
Lamb differs wildly depending on where it comes from. The main advice here is to choose meat that comes from a reputable supplier and looks fresh.
Because of the long cooking time you could also use older lamb called hogget or grown sheep known as mutton.
Lamb will have the mildest flavour. Hogget will be more gamey and mutton will be a bit of an acquired taste for some as not everyone likes the strong flavour.
My preferred breed is Dorper, coming from the Karoo region in South Africa.
We are lucky to have family and friends farming there.
This means we have access to top-quality fresh organic meat straight from the farm.
Lamb that comes from there is truly amazing and has a totally unique herby flavour.
The region is extremely dry and the wild vegetation growing there is very hard.
The sheep graze on these woody fragrant bushes and in return gives the meat it's characteristic flavour.
Why brine meat?
Brining meat requires you to submerge it into a salted water solution. For large cuts like this 2% salt to the weight of water is the standard.
The meat needs at least 12 hours in the brine so that the salt can penetrate it.
This process assures that the meat is perfectly seasoned throughout and keeps it's juiciness when cooking.
The technical term for why this happen is called osmosis. Something most of us probably remember from our school days biology lessons.
Here's osmosis explained in great detail for you to understand the method behind the tecnique and if you are interested in the science of it.
Useful equipment for this recipe
Electronic Kitchen Scales
- Once finished in the brine, remove and make deep small slits with the tip of a knife. Big enough to fit a few small garlic cloves.
- Stuff it with fresh garlic cloves, smoked bacon pieces and fresh rosemary. You can see how the Karoo lamb flavour lends itself perfectly here. Earthy rosemary, pungent garlic and smoky bacon create a lovely aroma and flavour within the meat.
- Transfer the lamb leg to a heavy-bottomed baking dish with a lid. Cast iron Is my personal favourite because it really holds the heat and moisture well.
- Chop four onions and two large carrots into large chunks.
- Place the lamb on top and add enough water or stock to just cover the vegetables. Now, the main thing is the temperature. 90 degrees Celsius or 194 degrees Fahrenheit or, as close to it as you can get. You really want to cook this low and slow.
- Put the meat in the oven at least 6 hours before you want to serve it. Let it cook slowly and when you're ready to serve remove the lid, turn the oven grill on, glaze with some apricot jam and grill until the jam has caramalised. The jam glaze is optional but if you want a nice crust then finish it under the grill either way.
How to make the gravy
- Strain the cooking liquid into a small saucepan once the lamb is cooked.
- Mix a tablespoon of flour with two tablespoons of cold water until homogenous. You can also use corn flour for a gluten free option.
- Simmer and whisk the sauce while adding the flour and water mix slowly until it thickens to your liking. You might not need all of the flour mix depending on how to thick you want it and also how much cooking juices you have.
- Season with salt and pepper if necessary and serve hot.
Because it's such a flavourful showstopper of a dish, lamb leg goes well with simple sides like the following.
- Creamy mashed potatoes
- Creamed spinach
- Baked baby potatoes
- Roasted pumpkin
- Honey roasted carrots
- Salt baked beetroot
- Moroccan couscous
- Fluffy rice
You might want to use another sauce apart from the pan juice gravy. My favourites are the following.
Other recipes you might like
If you would like to know how to cook meat properly then you will find the following recipes extremely useful.
- How to cook ribeye steak
- Crispy pork belly on the fire
- Pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon
- Juicy oven baked chicken breast
- Bavette steak
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