Lamb with Rosemary, Garlic, and Anchovies

This is a wonderful family dish, filling the kitchen with its aromas. Evolved from British, French, and Italian tastes, it should please every discerning palate.

Ingredients

  • 1 leg of lamb
  • 4-6 heads of garlic
  • 10-12 anchovy fillets
  • Sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 3 lb fairly waxy-textured potatoes (Desiree or the like)
  • 2 bay leaves, finely crushed
  • 6 shallots, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil
  • cups warm stock or water
  • ½ tsp tomato paste

Method

With a sharp little knife, pierce the lamb with little cuts into the fat and under the skin - about 20 cuts in all. Peel 3 cloves of garlic and cut into sharp little slivers. Insert into the cuts in the lamb. In the bone area, push a piece of garlic, an anchovy, and a little sprig of rosemary between the bone and meat. Place the rest of the anchovies across the roast lattice-wise. Set aside in a cool place or in the refrigerator

Peel the potatoes and slice quite thinly. Mix with the finely crushed bay leaves and the shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Grease your roasting pan well with olive oil. Arrange the potatoes on the bottom and drizzle with more olive oil. Pour in just enough warm stock or water to cover the potatoes. Cook in a preheated oven at 400°F for 1-1½ hours.

Remove from the oven and place the lamb on top of the potatoes. Put back into the oven and continue cooking, allowing 15 minutes to each pound of lamb plus 15 minutes extra. Cook at 450°F for the first 15 minutes, then turn down to 350°F for the remainder.

Meanwhile, peel the remaining garlic cloves, halve them, and remove any green shoots. Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain.

When the lamb is ready, transfer it with the potatoes to a warm carving dish. Allow to rest for 10 minutes while you put the blanched garlic, remaining stock, and tomato paste into the roasting pan with any juices it may contain. Cook on top of the stove, covered, until the garlic is soft. Purée the lot in a blender, then reheat and pour into a warm jug to serve with the lamb.

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