Posted: 1st February 2013
Ever the optimist, I am already planning the summer BBQs on our terrace. Although who says BBQs are only for summer anyway? Either way, to help you look forward to the warm days and long evenings in the sunshine, here is my all time favourite BBQ recipe. Make sure you prepare everything the night before and leave it to soak up the amazing flavours. You won’t regret the extra time spent on it!
- 1 leg of lamb , ask your butcher to bone and butterfly it
- 6-8 slices pancetta or smoked bacon
- 7 tomatoes, halved
- balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- 4 red onions
- 12 Charlotte or salad potatoes, boiled until they are almost cooked through then halved
- a pinch of curry powder
- 1 lemon, halved
- 4 beetroot, cooked and halved
- 6 Baby Gem lettuces, halved or quartered
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- a large pinch ground cumin
- olive oil
- vinaigrette to dress
- 150ml olive oil
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
1.If there is any sinew left on the meat (this looks like a very thin skin), pull or cut it off or ask your butcher to do it for you. If you leave it on, the meat will curl up as it cooks, and it will be tough as old boots as well. Now lay the meat out flat on a board and, using a sharp knife, start making it flatter.
Do this by cutting sideways into each really fat lump of meat, almost all the way through, and then opening it out like a book and flattening it down. Continue until all the lumps are flattened out and the meat is a more even thickness.
2.Hold it together with skewers. You need to make and apply the rub first though or you’ll skewer your hands trying to put it on. Work the garlic, coriander seeds and cumin together with a little olive oil to make a paste. You can do this in a pestle and mortar or mini food processor. Rub this all over the lamb. Now get 3 or 4 skewers (soak bamboo ones in water for 20 minutes first) and use them like large needles to thread through the lamb to hold it together.
3. Forget using a bowl; make the marinade in a tin that you can take out to the barbecue and save on washing up. Put all the marinade ingredients in a shallow roasting tin and whisk them together. Season well. Add the lamb and take enough time rubbing it in to make sure the marinade covers both sides. Leave for at least an hour and preferably overnight to really let the flavours penetrate. Lay the strips of pancetta on top of the lamb.
4. Cook some vegetables alongside the lamb. You’ll need to do a bit of prep first then they can be finished off at the last minute. Lay the tomatoes cut-side up in a dish and pour over a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil, season well and then scatter with basil. Do this about an hour before you want them as the flavour will improve as they sit. Quarter the onions, leaving the root in place then peel and trim the excess root. This will hold them together as you cook them. Dress with a little oil and balsamic to give them a sweet/sour flavour. Season well. Season the potatoes and toss in a little olive oil with the curry powder and squeeze over some lemon. The oil will protect them as they cook and stop them drying out.
5. If your barbecue is quite small you’ll have to cook the lamb first and let it rest while you do the veg. I have a massive barbecue but this lamb will cook on a small barbecue provided it is hot enough. I wouldn’t try it on one of those throwaway jobs though, as the coals don’t last for long enough.
6. Lift the lamb out of the marinade and lay it on the barbecue. Do not touch it (!!) until it cooks properly underneath – if you try and move it before it is ready it will stick and tear. Once it is cooked underneath (about 5-7 minutes), and I mean cooked to a nice brown crust, not burnt with layer of charcoal, turn it over. Baste it with marinade as you cook but remember that as the marinade has oil in it you might get some flare up off the coals or gas. Once the lamb is under way, barbecue the pancetta strips, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and beetroot until they are nicely browned. Carve the lamb into strips and plate it up with the veg and some nice crisp lettuce then dress the lot with some vinaigrette.