Spanish leg of lamb. Not leg of Spanish lamb.

Spanish leg of lamb (1 of 1)I have nothing against the Spanish. How could I hold a grudge against the nation that gave us the joys of bull fighting, Torremolinos holidays and jugs of sangria? No, my gripe is with weasel words and how some use them to fool the unwary.

Let me use the example of smoked salmon. What would you expect if you bought Irish Smoked Salmon? Would you expect smoked Irish salmon? You might not get it. You would have to buy Smoked Irish Salmon and check to be sure it was smoked in Ireland. It is also easy to fall for the Irish chicken trap and numerous others including the old ‘Italian’ Olive Oil ruse. The old saying “Be very careful what you ask for.” applies here. I suppose it would be difficult to honestly label a chicken sandwich if it were to read “Hand made Brazilian Chicken sandwich with seasoning added in Ireland, served on Italian bread made using Russian flour in a Lithuanian bakery and accompanying Dutch green vegetables.” But, I digress. I say all of this to clarify, I am preparing a leg of (I believe) Irish lamb cooked in a Spanish style. So, for simplicity’s sake rather than to mislead, I call it Spanish Leg of Lamb.

4 of my ingredients are the genuine Spanish thing.

4 of my ingredients are the genuine Spanish thing.

The ingredients:

  • 1 leg of Irish lamb
  • 4 genuine uncooked Spanish Chorizo sausages
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of hot Spanish paprika
  • 1 bottle of good quality Spanish wine
  • 1 pint of good chicken stock
  • 3 onions
  • 3 carrots
  • A squeeze of tomato purée
  • A shake of dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A couple of branches of rosemary
  • A big handful of thyme
  • Salt and pepper

I know the provenance of my Spanish ingredients. A Spanish man sold me the chorizo. A good friend brought the paprika back from Northern Spain. My father in law brought the wine back from Southern Spain. I also think I’m good with the Irishness of the lamb.

First thing to do is to skin and slice the sausages.

Delicious genuine Spanish chorizo skinned and sliced.

Delicious genuine Spanish chorizo skinned and sliced.

Then fry it in the bottom of a casserole dish.

The chorizo releases lots of fat. Enough to fry the onions and garlic.

The chorizo releases lots of fat. Enough to fry the onions and garlic.

Take out the chorizo slices and gently fry the onions and garlic in the fat.

I sliced the onions big for a rustic Spanish feel.

I sliced the onions big for a rustic Spanish feel.

Next, return the chorizo and add the herbs and spices.

Cooking doesn't get more rustic than this.

Cooking doesn’t get more rustic than this.

Add about a third of the wine, reserving the balance for the chef and possibly a guest or two.

The wine and paprika add a lovely colour to proceedings.

The wine and paprika add a lovely colour to proceedings.

Add the leg of Irish lamb, pour over the chicken stock then season and put on the lid.

Thick, rich chicken stock made from Irish chicken bones.

Thick, rich chicken stock made from Irish chicken bones.

Put it in the oven for two and a half hours at 160ºC. Take it out and remove the leg. At this stage, it has as good as changed nationality.

The lamb starting to look a little more continental at this stage.

The lamb starting to look a little more continental at this stage.

Turn the oven up to 200ºC and place the leg on a roasting tin. Give it 20 minutes to crisp things up a bit. This is a great opportunity to have a glass of that beautiful Spanish wine.

Crispy on the outside and succulent in the middle.

Crispy on the outside and succulent in the middle.

Take the leg out of the oven. Rest it for ten minutes. This is a good opportunity to enjoy another glass. While you are doing this, separate the gravy (that chorizo fat is probably not too good for you).

The gravy from the casserole is richer than the King of Spain. Don't waste it.

The gravy from the casserole is richer than the King of Spain. Don’t waste it.

Reduce the gravy by half in a saucepan. Carve and serve with some of the chorizo, onions, some sweet potato (cooked separately) and what’s left of that fine Spanish wine.

This is a great alternative to a simple roast leg of lamb.

This is a great alternative to a simple roast leg of lamb.

I started this complaining about dodgy food provenance. Then I went on to transform Irish leg of lamb into Spanish leg of lamb. My description may mislead but, I think you would be happy to have me pull the wool from this particular transnational sheep over your eyes.

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Latest comments
  • You should save that chorizo fat and use it to fry potatoes!

    • Hi Stef,
      Yes but I used it to fry the onions first. I shall be more aware in future.

  • I like the look of those uncooked chorizo!

    • They are particularly good. The Spanish guy who sells them is also a great salesman. I rarely get away from his stall without buying something extra be it some Seville oranges or lemons or a smoked ham of some sort.

  • Love these flavour combinations Conor – such a delicious looking dinner! What a great jug for separating the gravy from the fat – will have to try and track one down.

    • The jug has saved a lot of messing around on many occasions. One ends up with all the good and not a lot of the fat.

  • That sounds good. I love Spanish flavours – and wine.

  • Yum! I think Irish lamb would produce a much better result than Spanish lamb in any case, as I’ve always found the Spanish variety tends to be rather athletic in texture.

    • Those Spanish lambs just don’t get access to the lovely Irish grass and herbs that abound here. We are lucky.

  • A very important distinction – good work. Incidentally, this lamb dish looks absolutely fantastic. I adore chorizo and lamb.

    • Thanks Nick. It is a fantastic combination and they both work really well with sweet potatoes too.

  • Those pour shots are definitely Irish. Excellent. The lamb — whatever it’s nationality — looks divine.

  • Great blog Conor, that’s the menu for the weekend sorted! Where did you get the gravy jug?

    • Hi Brian. Thank you. From distant memory, Home Store and More.

  • Now Conor that is a damn fine looking dish my friend… I don’t care where it’s from, I will be trying it! And a glass of wine or two 🙂

    • Don’t limit yourself to one glass. Just don’t operate any machinery or use sharp knives afterwards….

  • I don’t know what it is about your posts. Maybe its the words and pictures but by the time I get to the end picture I am starving and have a real hankering for whatever it is you have just cooked.

    • Thanks Maria. That is the highest praise one can get.

  • Very nice! I also like to keep wine for drinking while cooking 🙂 jealous of your Spanish chorizo, most of ours are Mexican, which are very delicious, but different. I’ve started to get fed up with some of the imported food: why would I want a farmed color added salmon from China when Alaska is much closer and their wild salmon is the best I’ve tasted so far!

    • The chorizo was very nice indeed. The wine drinking while cooking is most enjoyable but can be dangerous…

  • Fabulous. I’ve been playing round with lamb in the past year and I see I need to continue on that path. 🙂

    • You sure do. There is lots to be done with lamb and we not always stray away from the rosemary and garlic.

      • Problem is rosemary, garlic, and lamb are so good together! But it isn’t good to get stuck in a rut.

  • point well taken. and food looks delicious.

    • Thank you. The food was very good indeed. The points stand too.

  • The photo of the finished leg looks so delicious! Nice work!

  • Hmm: my second attempt as forgot to enclose my email/name the first time around!! Very much like both ingredients and method ~ as I rarely have reason to buy a full leg of lamb may change it around a wee bit to accommodate shoulder steaks or similar – the flavor would be there! Love Spain but bullfighting, Torremolinos and sangria are all on the wrong side of the ledger for me 🙂 !

    • Thanks Eha, I might join yo on that side of the ledger.

  • Oh, I would gladly take that pan of fried chorizo and gobble it all up Conor! The Spanish leg of lamb also looks fantastic, and I would be happy to gobble that up as well!

    • The chorizo was lovely with the lamb. Nice and crispy on the outside and soft and tasty within. Delicious.

  • Oh words. With their double (sometimes triple) meanings. Subtle nuances, and context, changes their entire meaning. Well, this happy American would happily eat your Irish-raised lamb cooked in the style of the Spaniards. Looks great. Love that you cook the onions in the chorizo juices. I’m going to have to try that.

  • Our household is currently going through a “chorizo with everything phase”. Your post could not be better timed. Can’t wait to try this one at the weekend!

    • Hi Nicki,
      If you get a chance to visit the market in Kilruddery House on a Saturday morning, seek out the Spanish guy and try his Chorizo. The best…

  • Fantastic! Love the addition of chorizo!

  • This had to be an extremely flavorful dish…no matter its name or where the lamb grazed. 🙂

    • Thanks Karen. It has done even more European travel than you!

  • Flavor, grace, taste … like I said perhaps a million times now that you ARE the real deal Iron Chef 🙂
    Love watching the hardwork and humor you put into each and every post of yours.
    This red-hot, multi-ethnic recipe is a blockbuster one. Winter night comfort dinner doesn’t get any better and happier than this. Tons of thanks for the precious post.

  • How appropriate to be reading this at Dublin airport, waiting for our flight home after a great weekend full of Irishness 🙂 The lamb looks very tasty, and I’m sure the Spanish lamb went well with the Spanish wine.

    • Particularly appropriate under the circumstances. And, as you guessed, the wine worked perfectly with the trans-national lamb.

  • Conor, love the unusual combination. Made this yesterday and it was enjoyed by all my (fussy) family. The eldest was sailing out of Dún Laoghaire all day so came home cold and hungry. When she walked in the door her reaction was “what’s for dinner, it smells AMAZING”. The taste lived up to her expectation, so thank you!

    • My aim is to please. Great that it worked out.

  • You’ve done it again. TI’ve actually had dreams about your pork belly, and now this??? Absolutely beautiful. I love the Spanish-ing of the lamb.

    • Hi Mimi, That lamb was pretty tasty, if you will forgive the boastfulness. Do try it.

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