Easter feast: Roast leg of lamb and pumpkin seed salsa verde recipe

Leg of lamb is an Easter lunch classic, and here it is pepped up with a punchy rosemary, garlic, lemon and anchovy paste. Roasting it on a bed of vegetables helps with even cooking and creates a lovely gravy too.

roast leg of lamb
Louise Hagger

SERVES 6-8

2.5kg leg of lamb
2 bushy rosemary sprigs, leaves finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, halved
1 celery stalk
2 onions, unpeeled and halved
250ml chicken stock
1-2 tbsp redcurrant jelly

  1. Take the lamb out of the fridge and all its packaging at least 1 hour before you want to cook it.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Make deep incisions all over the lamb with a small, sharp knife. In a mortar and pestle, bash the rosemary, garlic, lemon zest and anchovies to a rough paste, then stir in the olive oil. Push this into the incisions and rub any excess paste all over the lamb.
  3. In a large roasting tin, place the carrot, celery and onions cut-side down (these will act as a trivet for the lamb and help to flavour the gravy too). Sit the lamb on top, season with some flaky sea salt and black pepper then roast for 20 minutes. Lower the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and roast for another 1 hour 15 minutes (or about 25-30 minutes per kg). If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should read 55C for medium (pink) or 70C for well done.
  4. Take the lamb out of the oven, transfer to a plate or board, loosely cover with foil and rest for 30 minutes.
  5. For the gravy, place the roasting tin on the hob over a medium heat. Add the stock and stir up all the sticky bits with a wooden spoon. Pass the gravy through a sieve into a small saucepan, pressing any excess juices out of the vegetables. Stir in the redcurrant jelly (adding more or less depending on how sweet you like your gravy) then simmer briskly for 3-4 minutes until you have a glossy gravy.
  6. Carve the lamb and serve with the gravy, salsa verde, braised lettuce and peas and boulangère potatoes (find the recipe here).

Pumpkin seed salsa verde

Adding a fresh and vibrant streak to the plate, this is a wonderful herb sauce with crunchy, nutty pumpkin seeds running through it. Best made shortly before you want to serve it, ideally while the lamb is resting.

SERVES 6-8

50g pumpkin seeds
1 garlic clove, crushed
Bunch mint leaves (about 15g)
Large bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves (about 20g)
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Roast the pumpkin seeds for about 6 minutes or until fragrant, golden and starting to pop; set aside to cool (this can be done well in advance or while the oven is heating up for the lamb).
  2. Place the cooled pumpkin seeds and the remaining ingredients in a small food processor and pulse to a rough salsa (you can also chop everything by hand and stir together in a bowl). Taste and season, adding salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Wine pairing

QUINTA DE FAFIDE

While Rioja is a classic match for roast lamb, this year I just can’t resist the wow factor of this roaring red gem from Portugal. QUINTA DE FAFIDE ESTATE RESERVA 2019 (14%), £10 from M&S, is a beautiful wine with perfume, scent, oomph and depth. It’s the whole package in one glug and so sleek it gleams in the glass like a polished black cherry. Bold and brilliant.