Lamb appears consistently throughout the first year of my goal to serve up as many different homemade meals across 2018/2019. I suspect it will also form the basis of many of the meals prepared during this 2020 challenge. Perhaps a contributing factor is that we live in the Scottish Borders, renowned for its Borders Lamb.
Covering 4,732 km² of Scotland’s lowlands, the Borders is home to a population of just 115,020. Compare this to the London Borough of Lambeth where I grew up which has 181% more people (Lambeth’s population is 324,048) in a fraction of the footprint (26.82 km²) there’s a liberating sense of space in the Borders. We humans share the region’s fells, laws, lochs, knows, moors and often rugged landscape with somewhere close to 1.16 million sheep (17% of Scotland’s total).
With easy access to farms, it’s not difficult to buy a whole grass-fed organic lamb, butchered and vacuum packed, raised by farmers we either know well, or have got to know over time. Taking up a sizable portion of the trusty chest freezer it provides a good supply of meat for a range of occasions. The organic credentials and traceability ensure it’s absolutely delicious.
I’m always bemused when I stumble across someone who doesn’t like lamb. The sweet succulent smell, the heady combination of rosemary and mint combined with my husband’s excellent gravy are simply unbeatable.
In recent years we have been influenced by some great Middle Eastern cookbooks which often favour lamb in their recipes and have allowed us to extend our range of lamb based dishes.
Today I’ve opted for a traditional roast leg of lamb. British lamb comes into season mid-June through to September, so choosing a family favourite over seasonality, we’re raiding the freezer. We’re serving our lamb with roast potatoes, spring greens and balsamic mushrooms. But it wouldn’t be complete without a rich lamb gravy.
Alan’s Luscious Lamb Gravy
Juices from the roasting pan
500ml of best stock (lamb, chicken or beef)
1 flat tsp Ras El Hanout
1 flat tsp dried Thyme
¼ cup of Calvados
1 tbsp cornflour (dissolved in a little water)
You can make your gravy while your lamb is resting. Once the lamb is removed from the roasting tin, place the tin over a medium heat on the hob and add the stock, herbs and spice.
Stir well scrapping any juicy pieces of meat stuck to the pan into the gravy. Bring to a simmer.
At this stage we transfer to a saucepan, but you can continue in the roasting pan if your prefer. Add the Calvados. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Strain the gravy and replace in the pan. Add the cornflour and whisk while simmering until the gravy has thickened to your preferred consistency. Add more cornflour if needed. Serve immediately.