I don’t usually follow recipes from magazines, because they usually need zillions of ingredients and take ages to prep. But I had six people around for dinner, and a whole leg of lamb, so Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Six-hour spiced lamb with 40 cloves of garlic seemed a good choice. (All of us like garlic, but it’s not actually death-by-alium, as you don’t crush the garlic, just add it to the juices.)
It took about 10 minutes longer to prepare than any other roast, and that was toasting the spices and pulversising them in a pestle and mortar, but it was time well spent as it was absolutely delicious.
It did list some ingredients I didn’t have, so I adapted it thus:
- For the sauce, I didn’t have paprika, caraway or fennel. So I added a couple of cloves, and some chilli flakes (about a teaspoon).
- After the first 30 minutes, when you’re supposed to add a cup of water, I added a mug of water and a cup of red wine. (I knew my guests would want lots of gravy.)
- An hour before the end, when you add all the garlic, I also added a couple of sprigs of rosemary from the garden, a couple of handfulls of black olives, and another cup of wine.
The gravy was really intense, even before I squished some cloves of garlic and a few olives into it and sieved it. The remaining olives tasted great for people to munch while the meat was resting. I served it with carrots that I cooked around the lamb for the last hour, potatoes roasted in goose-fat, Yorkshire puddings, roast butternut squash and boiled broccoli and cauli.
Best lamb ever, my friends said.