My eldest daughter has, as they say in polite circles, some issues. She doesn’t like gravy. As if that’s not bad enough, she claims to like sauces, jeu and reductions. So, when I am preparing our regular Sunday family dinner, her expectations need to be managed. Beef with a pan reduction is wolfed down while beef with a pan gravy will be rejected out of hand. As if cooking for my extended family was not difficult enough! So, when I decided to serve them with a leg of lamb with anchovies, thyme and garlic and a rich gravy, I knew that there would be a sales job to be done.
To help the cause, I wheeled out a couple of extra ingredients. To make the gravy more sauce-like, I included mustard and honey. So, my latest Sunday family dinner creation now takes almost as long to type as it did to prepare – Roast Leg Of Lamb With, Anchovies, Garlic, Thyme, Wholegrain Mustard and Honey.
Side note on awkward family members: Eldest daughter gave me an earful about using anchovies. She said she didn’t want her lamb tasting of fish. I fluffed my response and may have left her with the impression that there would be no anchovies…
This list is more about quantities as most of the ingredients are in the name.
- 1 leg of Irish lamb (the best in the world)
- 4 cloves of quality garlic
- 1 handful of fresh thyme
- 1 tin of anchovies in oil
- 1 tablespoon of wholegrain mustard
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- Black pepper to season
- Smoked sea salt flakes
Side note on the ingredients list: Use top quality where you can. It really makes a difference. This doesn’t apply to the salt. Use any salt, I’m just making the recipe seem fancier than it is in reality.
Get a small sharp knife and cut the garlic into shards. Trim the thyme into little bunches. Drain and half the anchovies.
Stab the leg (the lamb, not your own) all over. Push the anchovies, garlic and thyme into the holes. This can be tricky as the anchovies are very delicate.
Mix the honey and mustard together. Season the Lamb with the black pepper and salt. Pour the honey mustard mixture over the lamb.
Put the lamb in a 180°C oven for an hour and twenty minutes (for medium rare). Take the Lamb out and place on a chopping board. Let it rest, covered in foil, for as long as it takes to make the gravy. Sorry, sauce, it is a sauce, not a gravy.
To make the sauce (gravy), add a couple of heaped teaspoons of plain flour to the roasting pan and stir to combine into a smooth paste.
Place it on a low heat on the stovetop. Add a glass of red wine and about a quarter litre of hot water. Stir until the whole thing combines into a silky gravy like sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pass it all through a sieve.
Carve the lamb and serve with lashings of sauce/gravy. Delicious.
Footnote on anchovies and lamb: Eldest daughter refused the sauce, having convinced herself it was a gravy. She really enjoyed the meal and had seconds and even thirds of the meat. She was not impressed when I later let her know that the anchovies were part of the dish. She never tasted the gravy / sauce. Her loss. It was a delight.