Cooking this Easter? Here are some tips for the perfect roast lamb

THERE is no better way to get together with family and friends this Easter than over the ultimate centrepiece - a lamb roast. Be it lunch with the whole family or a special dinner for two, the diversity of lamb cuts that can be roasted means there's an option for any style of Easter dining.

This roasting guide shows you just how simple it is to master a lamb roast and impress your friends and family this Easter.

The first step to roasting success is to pick the right cut for the occasion:

Hosting the big family Easter Sunday lunch? When entertaining a big group try a bone-in leg or easy-carve leg, which can usually serve about six people. For best results, sear in a hot pan then transfer to the oven and finish cooking. This simple leg of lamb with olive sauce and radicchio salad recipe takes only 10 minutes to prepare and 75 minutes in the oven. So prepare, sit back and let the magic happen!

Leg of lamb with olive sauce and radicchio salad

SERVES: 6

Ingredients

1½ kg lamb leg, bone-in, trimmed

3 cloves garlic, sliced

½ cup rosemary sprigs

2 tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper to season

Olive sauce

1 cup mixed pitted olives

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbs anchovy fillets, chopped

1 tbs capers, rinsed

100 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs each fresh mint and flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 lemon, juiced

Radicchio tossed with pine nuts, olive oil and red wine vinegar, to serve

Method

Preheat oven to 200C.

Make around 20 small 1cm slices (3mm depth) into the lamb, insert slice of garlic and sprig of rosemary into each opening. Rub lamb with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place on a roasting rack in a baking dish and cook for 20 minutes at 200C, reduce heat to 170C for a further 40 minutes for rare, 55 minutes for medium or 70 minutes for well done.

Olive dressing: Gently fry olives in oil for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add garlic, anchovy and capers and fry for further 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add chopped herbs and lemon juice.

Toss torn radicchio with oil, vinegar and pine nuts. Carve lamb against the grain and serve with salad and olive sauce.

Intimate lunch for 2? A lamb mini roast or rump provides all the benefits of a larger leg roast however they are ideal when smaller portions are required. With its quicker cooking time, these lean cuts are best roasted to no more than medium.

Short on time but still want to impress? When family calls and tells you they are coming over for dinner on short notice, don't worry. Try a butterflied leg of lamb as the wider surface area and thin cut means it cooks quickly.

Plenty of time on your hands? Treat your guests to a slow-cooked lamb shoulder. This cut benefits from low and slow cooking methods, but with patience you will be rewarded with a tender, flavoursome and pull-apart result.

Entertaining outdoors? A boned and rolled lamb loin is perfect for roasting on the barbecue. Pre-heat the barbecue to the same temperature you would with an oven - and cook for the same amount of time too. Don't forget to keep the lid closed!

Perfecting the cooking

Once you've picked your cut and recipe, here are some helpful suggestions to keep you on the path to roasting success:

Use an app: If you're still unsure in the kitchen then try using the RoastMate app, which allows you to cook the perfect roast by taking the guesswork out. Simply enter the lamb cut you are cooking, its weight and your desired level of doneness, and RoastMate will guide you to the end.

Meat thermometer: When you poke or cut your roast, it drains it of its juices and can lead to a drier result. Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the meat instead. As a guide, internal temperatures should be:

Rare 60C

Medium rare 60-65C

Medium 65C

Medium well done 70C

Well done 75C

Resting: Give your roasts some time to rest and relax (10-20 minutes is best), so that the juices are able to redistribute throughout the meat, allowing a moist, tender and juicy result.

Carving: After all of your hard work, it's important that you get the carving right.

Make sure to place your roast on a carving board

Slice rather than saw as too much pressure may bruise the meat

Carve against the grain.

Recipe and tips from www.beefandlamb.com.au



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