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Butterflied Leg of Lamb With Bay Leaves and Balsamic Vinegar

by . Featured in NIGELLISSIMA
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Introduction

A roast, boned, butterflied leg of lamb is just about the easiest, speediest way to cook a joint of meat. Plus, you dispense with all the difficult carving (I am an embarrassingly inept carver myself) as all you need to do is slice the boned meat once it’s cooked, which even I can manage without stress.

The heat of the oven, with the sugar in the vinegar, does mean that you will get scorched, even blackened, spots on the tin. This doesn’t bother me unduly, but you might want to line the tin with foil first.

A roast, boned, butterflied leg of lamb is just about the easiest, speediest way to cook a joint of meat. Plus, you dispense with all the difficult carving (I am an embarrassingly inept carver myself) as all you need to do is slice the boned meat once it’s cooked, which even I can manage without stress.

The heat of the oven, with the sugar in the vinegar, does mean that you will get scorched, even blackened, spots on the tin. This doesn’t bother me unduly, but you might want to line the tin with foil first.

Butterflied Leg of Lamb With Bay Leaves and Balsamic Vinegar
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 8

Metric Cups
  • 1½ kilograms boned and butterflied leg of lamb
  • 6 fresh bay leaves (snipped) plus whole leaves to serve (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes (to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled and sliced finely)
  • 3 pounds boned and butterflied leg of lamb
  • 6 fresh bay leaves (snipped) plus whole leaves to serve (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled and sliced finely)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Get out a shallow but sturdy roasting tin and put the butterflied leg of lamb in it, skin-side down.
  2. Scatter with the snipped bay leaves and half the salt and pour the oil and vinegar over the lamb, then push the garlic slices into crevices where you can and lay the rest on top. Leave to marinate just until the lamb gets to room temperature.
  3. Turn the lamb over, so it is now skin-side up, sprinkle with the remaining salt flakes and roast in the hot oven for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, tent with foil, and let it stand for 15 minutes: this will give you lusciously pink lamb; if you want the meat slightly less pink, then let it stand, under its foil, for 30 minutes.
  5. I like to slice the meat and serve it in its piquant juices in the tin, but if you prefer – and for more formal occasions it does make sense – you can arrange the meat on a warmed serving platter and add a little boiling water – maybe an espresso cupful or so – to the juices in the tin before pouring them over the meat on the platter. A few more fresh bay leaves strewn over the meat will add to the aesthetic pleasure of the arrangement, too.
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Get out a shallow but sturdy roasting tin and put the butterflied leg of lamb in it, skin-side down.
  2. Scatter with the snipped bay leaves and half the salt and pour the oil and vinegar over the lamb, then push the garlic slices into crevices where you can and lay the rest on top. Leave to marinate just until the lamb gets to room temperature.
  3. Turn the lamb over, so it is now skin-side up, sprinkle with the remaining salt flakes and roast in the hot oven for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, tent with foil, and let it stand for 15 minutes: this will give you lusciously pink lamb; if you want the meat slightly less pink, then let it stand, under its foil, for 30 minutes.
  5. I like to slice the meat and serve it in its piquant juices in the tin, but if you prefer – and for more formal occasions it does make sense – you can arrange the meat on a warmed serving platter and add a little boiling water – maybe an espresso cupful or so – to the juices in the tin before pouring them over the meat on the platter. A few more fresh bay leaves strewn over the meat will add to the aesthetic pleasure of the arrangement, too.

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What 5 Others have said

  • OMG, Nigella, you've done it again! Tried 1st time today. Cannot believe how nice. Simplicity and 'flava'. Still licking my lips and teeth some 8hrs later!! Thank you so very much. Love you!

    Posted by Max147 on 5th June 2016
  • Yummy. I just love the simplicty of this lovely meal well done.

    Posted by Ullawila on 27th March 2016
  • Beautifully simple and exceptionally flavoursome recipe, a real winner with a nice glass of wine.

    Posted by Kennylowe on 24th June 2015
  • I just love the simplicity of this kind of recipes. Bravo to you Nigella

    Posted by imlehluz94 on 6th April 2015
  • Hi Nigella, I cooked your butterflied leg of lamb with bay leaves and balsamic for dinner tonight using a piece of supermarket lamb. The marinade complimented the lamb so, so well and gave it a richer flavour. It really was heaven. Thank you, your recipes and ideas are the ultimate.

    Posted by The Girl from Oz on 24th August 2014
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