Lamb leg roast with nutty mash

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I always joke that I must have been Irish in a previous life because I never tire of potatoes, no matter how they are cooked. Let’s face it, the potato is both terrifyingly adaptable and delicious–my waistline says ‘stop’ but my heart says ‘just dive in’. Here I’ve used the humble potato to make a skordalia-inspired mashed potato, laced with lots of garlic, chopped parsley and toasted almonds.

Ingredients

  • 30 g (1 oz) flaked almonds
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 small boned lamb leg (ready-rolled lamb roast) (about 1 kg/2 lb 4 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) all-purpose potatoes, such as desiree, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 80 ml ( fl oz/ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Put the almonds on a baking tray and cook in the oven for a few minutes, or until lightly golden, taking care as they can burn quickly. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Put the rosemary sprigs in the base of a roasting tin. Sit the lamb on top of the rosemary, then rub the olive oil all over the lamb. Season with sea salt and a little freshly ground black pepper. Place the lamb in the oven and roast for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until medium-rare.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes and garlic in a saucepan filled with salted, cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Drain the potatoes and garlic, reserving some of the cooking liquid, then return them to the warm saucepan. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil and mash until smooth and creamy, adding some of the reserved water if necessary. Stir through the toasted almonds and chopped parsley and season to taste.

Remove the lamb roast from the oven and transfer to a warm plate. Cover with foil and rest for 5 minutes. Slice the lamb and serve with the mashed potato and lemon wedges, and with minty peas or a green salad.