12:00am Monday 25th March 2013
ENDLESS chocolate eggs, slabs of simnel cake and heavenly hot cross buns might be tempting, but there's only one treat that turns MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace's head at Easter, and that's roast lamb.
"Roast lamb is my favourite, favourite roast meat," says Wallace, who has just released a new book, MasterChef Cookery Course, with fellow TV host John Torode.
"I just love the succulent pink flesh with crispy fat on top. I would walk bare foot over hot coals for a bit of well-roasted pink lamb!" he enthuses.
The famous foodie, who is back on BBC One with the new series of MasterChef, says the spring lunchtime classic is what he will be serving up for his family on Easter Sunday.
"I'll be having my mum, my brothers Biffo and Adam, and their children over for a big Easter lunch this year. We'll be having lamb!" he says. And while roast lamb is very traditional British fare, Wallace has picked up a number of tips from his travels around the world to make the dish extra tasty.
"My top tip is to put anchovies over the lamb before you cook it - as the heat rises in the oven the anchovies melt, and leave the lamb tasting amazing," he says. "I picked that up in Italy."
"For wonderful Easter roast potatoes, score the skin of the flesh quite deep on both sides of your leg of lamb, then start cooking it," suggests Torode. "When you're ready to cook your potatoes, take the lamb out of the tray, lay your pre-boiled potatoes in the roasting tray and put the leg of lamb on a cake rack over the top of the potatoes. Let the lamb roast over the potatoes."
Of course, even top chefs like Wallace and Torode will be indulging in some chocolate eggs this Easter. "I'll be having a big family lunch by the sea this year," says Torode. "There will be lots of children - so lots of eggs!"
Here's a roast recipe from the duo's new book.
Roasted leg of lamb (Serves 6-8)
1.8kg (4lb) leg of lamb
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 whole bulbs of garlic, washed
6-8 whole echalion shallots, washed
For the gravy:
150ml red wine
450ml vegetable stock
1tbsp redcurrant jelly
Preheat the oven to 190C (375F/gas mark 5). Place the lamb on a board and stud with rosemary. Place the lamb in a roasting tin, drizzle over the oil, and season well.
Scatter the whole garlic and shallots around the leg of lamb. Roast for one hour 40 minutes for pink, and two hours for cooked through.
Check the meat after one hour and baste. If the garlic and shallots look like they are tender and ready, then set aside. They can be added back to the roasting tin for the final 10 minutes to warm through.
When ready, remove the lamb to a carving board, cover with foil, and rest for 10 minutes.
Spoon off any excess fat from the juices in the roasting tin. Place the roasting tin on the heat and add the wine, stock, and redcurrant jelly. Stir well to scrape all the sediment from the base of the pan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour in the meat juices from the rested lamb. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Pour, through a sieve if necessary, into a gravy boat. Serve the lamb with the roasted garlic, whole roasted shallots, and the gravy.
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