No 7: Spring lamb stuffed with apricot, mint and pistachio, with Salsa Verde

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As the Bank Holiday looks promising this is a lovely recipe which you can prepare the day ahead. Just remember to remove the meat from the fridge at least an hour before you want to cook it to allow it to come to room temperature. The Salsa Verde makes a perfect salty contrast to the sweetness of the lamb, and the stuffing. However, you can always just use mint sauce. New potatoes are a perfect accompaniment.

Ingredients

60g butter

1 onion finely chopped

2 garlic cloves finely chopped or crushed

1 tsp cumin seeds

150g bread crumbs

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

100g dried apricots chopped

50g shelled pistachio nuts roughly chopped

1 tbsp mint jelly

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

2kg leg of lamb on the bone

For the Salsa Verde

2 shallots finely chopped

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

1 small bunch mint chopped

Larger bunch of flat leaved parsley finely chopped

Juice 2 lemons

3 tbsp capers, drained, rinsed and chopped

1 small tin anchovy fillets

100mls fruity olive oil

Black pepper

Method

Melt the butter in a pan and soften the onion.  Add the garlic, chilli flakes and cumin seeds.  Cook for another couple of minutes then tip into a bowl and add the bread crumbs, pistachio nuts, apricots, mint jelly and seasoning.  Mix well.

Place the leg of lamb across in front of you on a chopping board. Using a large sharp knife, cut long slits vertically across the leg bone, about 2 cm apart all the way around the lamb. Cut all the way down to the bone.

Take spoonful’s of the stuffing and press into the slits around the lamb. If any of the filling falls out don’t worry too much, it will add flavour to the gravy.  I like to tie a piece of string round mine to hold the slices together.

When you are ready to cook the lamb, preheat the oven to 210C/GM7, place in the oven for 20 minutes and then drop the temperature to 190 degrees. Roast for an hour for medium, and up to an hour and a half for well done.  If the lamb stuffing is browning too quickly cover the top loosely with some foil.  Allow to rest for at least 20 minutes, wrapped in tin foil in a warm place, before carving.  Make the salsa verde by combining all the ingredients together in a food processor and blitzing until finely chopped, season with black pepper.  The anchovies will give a natural saltiness.  Serve with the lamb.

Enjoy!

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