Rum Roast

This was a dish for the sailor’s return: it was served in several seaport inns in the nineteenth century and recipes are given in more than one cookery book. It makes a good dinner party dish. The rum can well be replaced by brandy. Traditionally potatoes baked in their jackets were served with this rich dish.


  • 3 lb ( kg) best end neck of lamb, left in one piece but well chined by the butcher
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter or cooking fat
  • 2 lb (1 kg) onions, peeled and cut in rings
  • 6 sheep’s kidneys, skinned, cored and cut in halves
  • cup (1.5 dl) rum or brandy
  • cup (1.5 dl) stock or water
  • Flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Rub the skin side of the lamb with seasoned flour. Put the butter or cooking fat into a large baking tin. Set the joint in it and roast in a hot oven, 400°F (200°C, Gas Mark 6), for 30 minutes.

Remove the baking tin from the oven and put the onions all round the meat, spooning fat over them. Put the tin back in the oven to continue roasting for a further 20 minutes.

Take out of the oven again and turn and stir the onions. Lift up the lamb and slip the kidneys under the joint. Roast for 20 minutes more.

Take out and place the lamb on a flat serving dish with the onions, which should be soft and transparent and just turning brown, all around it.

Put the kidneys on the onions. Pour half the rum or brandy over the meat and keep hot while you make the gravy.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat and juices from the baking tin. Stir in 2 teaspoons of flour. Stir in the remaining rum or brandy and slowly add the stock or water stirring until you have a smooth light brown gravy. Season rather highly with salt and black pepper and serve in a gravy boat.