You might think: lamb and seaweed? Together? But trust us, this works. Together, this pairing of lamb and seaweed creates a really unique, delicious flavour –– the subtle sweetness of the lamb meat and the ocean salinity of the seaweed really are a mesmirising pairing. We love nothing more than allowing lamb to slowly cook until it’s meltingly tender, and seaweed is a fantastic ingredient for slow-cooking too.
There’s no need to salt the lamb either, as the seaweed brings that natural seasoning to the meat, but do taste for seasoning at the end. Here, we serve it in all its deserved dinnertime drama with a pile of cooked puy lentils but you could adapts this to serve with mash, leafy greens, gnocchi or whatever you fancy in terms of fresh vegetables, grains and substantial sides, but the lamb still deserving of that star focus, of course!
Seaweed-rubbed Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Puy Lentils
- Half leg of lamb
- A handful of dried, finely milled nori and dillisk seaweed (in Ireland you can get these from Blath na Mara or Wild Irish Sea Veg
- 300g Puy Lentils
- 3 large white onions, topped and tailed and thickly sliced with skins on
- 1 bulb of garlic, skin removed and cloves all halved through the middle
- A little olive or rapeseed oil
1. Lightly oil the lamb leg and then liberally sprinkle the dried seaweed all over, until the entire thing is coated, using as much milled seaweed as you need and getting to each side. Put in a dish fit-to-size and allow to marinate and permeate into the meat for anywhere from 4-24 hours in the fridge, uncovered. This creates a slightly hardened ‘crust’ on the lamb and the more time you allow the more the flavour will absorb into the meat.
2. When ready to cook, set the oven to 150ºC and prepare a deep baking sheet/pan with a layer of onion rounds, followed by the halved garlic cloves, then sit the lamb on top.
3. Cover with a layer of greaseproof paper, then two layers of tin foil and allow to roast for four hours.
4. After four hours check the lamb for doneness, it should be exposing the bone and retracting cleanly from it and the meat falling apart. Return to the oven at 200ºC for 15-20 minutes just to get some final colour and then rest the meat for 15 minutes, loosely under tin foil.
5. Using the soft onions, garlic and lamb juices, deglaze over a high heat with a glass of wine until reduced by half whilst you scrape the pan/sheet free from all the bits that have caught in the cooking process. Top up with a glass or two of water and allow to simmer and reduce until jus consistency and strain out the onions and garlic. Alternatively, for a thicker gravy, add a tsp or two of cornflour (mixed with a little water) to the mixture and don’t reduce as much. Then, blitz everything lightly with a hand blender and strain through a sieve, before discarding the spent vegetables.
6. Cook the lentils per packet instruction, covering with water and simmering until tender, then draining before serving. You can coat these in a little of the onion gravy.
7. Serve all together at the table, family-style.