ROAST SPRING LAMB WITH MINT SAUCE

Young Spring Lamb is sweet and succulent and needs absolutely no embellishment apart from a dusting of salt and pepper and a little fresh Mint Sauce.

Serves 6-8

1 leg of Spring lamb
salt and freshly ground pepper
Gravy
1 pint (570ml) lamb or chicken stock
a little roux
salt and freshly ground pepper
Garnish
Sprigs of fresh mint and parsley
Mint Sauce

If possible ask your butcher to remove the aitch bone from the top of the leg of lamb so that it will be easier to carve later, then trim the knuckle end of the leg. Season the skin with salt and freshly ground pepper. Put into a roasting tin.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/regulo 4. Roast for 1-1¼ hours approx. for rare, 1¼ -1½ hours for medium and 1½- 2 hours for well done, depending on size. When the lamb is cooked to your taste, remove the joint to a carving dish. Rest the lamb for 10 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile make the gravy. Degrease the juices in the roasting tin, add stock. Bring to the boil and whisk in a little roux to thicken slightly. Taste and allow to bubble up until the flavour is concentrated enough. Correct the seasoning and serve hot.

MINT SAUCE

Traditional Mint Sauce made with tender young shoots of fresh mint only takes minutes to make. Its the perfect accompaniment to Spring lamb but for those who are expecting a bright green jelly, the slightly dull colour and watery texture comes as a surprise. Thats how it ought to be, try it.

2 tablesp finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablesp. sugar
6-8 tablesp boiling water
2 tablesp. white wine vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice

Put the sugar and freshly-chopped mint into a sauce boat. Add the boiling water and vinegar or lemon juice. Allow to infuse for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Roux
4 ozs (110g) butter
4 ozs (110g) flour

Melt the butter and cook the flour in it for 2 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Use as required. Roux can be stored in a cool place and used as required or it can be made up on the spot if preferred. It will keep at least a fortnight in a refrigerator.