I might have left France, but I definitely haven't left behind French cooking. I love the approach to fresh produce, lots of fruit and veg, and plenty of cheese! So on my first Sunday back in the UK, our Sunday roast definitely needed a French theme to it. Enter, boulangere potatoes. I'd normally cook a shoulder of lamb on top of this, but my personal shopper (aka my boyfriend's mother) could only find a leg. Let it never be said that I'm not adaptable, though. So even though slow roast shoulder is more common, it still works very well with leg. It'll keep us fed throughout the week, too: salads, sandwiches, pies, curries. There are lots of options.
To serve 6 people with lots of leftovers you'll need:
- 1 leg of lamb (or a half leg for fewer people, or if you're not fussed about leftovers)
= 1.5kg potatoes, finely sliced
- 1 or 2 bulbs of fennel, finely sliced
- 2 onions, finely sliced in half moons
- a few knobs of butter
= garlic cloves (however many your heart tells you)
- fresh rosemary
= fresh mint
- 1 pint chicken stock
- salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to around 140C. Then stab your leg of lamb a few times with a knife. You want slits that are big enough to fit in a sliver of garlic, a spring of rosemary, and a few mint leaves. Stuff the slits with the garlic and herbs, then season with salt and pepper. It's now ready for the oven.
2. After 2 hours, remove the lamb from the oven, put the leg on a plate, and pour any juices that have come out into the stock.
3. Layer potatoes, fennel and onions in the oven dish, seasoning between each layer. Finish with a layer of potatoes. Carefully pour the stock over the top, then dot the top layer with a few flicks of butter. Replace the lamb leg over the top. Put it back into the oven.
4. Cook the lamb and potatoes together for a further 3 hours, or until the lamb can be pulled apart with a fork, the gratin is tender, and the top layer of potatoes is crispy. Carefully pour the leftover stock into a jug, and set the lamb aside to rest.
5. Once the jug of meat juices has sat for a bit, the fat will have risen to the top. Pour the fat into a pan, add an equal volume of flour, and stir over a low heat until combined and smooth. Gradually add the stock, stirring or whisking between each addition. Let the gravy bubble away for a few minutes until it's thickened to your taste. Taste it and add any seasoning it needs. Redcurrant jelly or honey, and some Lea & Perrins normally work well.
6. Serve the lamb and gratin with some green veg, and plenty of the lamb gravy. Perfect for a grey Sunday in Manchester!