This aromatic butterflied lamb recipe is a great alternative main course for Christmas dinner. This marinade is a version of bulgogi from Korea that is absolutely delicious with lamb, particularly if you leave it to marinate for a couple of days.
– 1 x 3kg (6½lb) leg of lamb, boned and well trimmed (butterflied), roughly 5cm (2in) thick
– 1 bunch of spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped
– 5cm (2in) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
– 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
– 2 tbsp dry sherry
– 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
– 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
– 1 tsp black peppercorns
– ½ tsp light brown sugar
For the salsa
– 3 tbsp olive oil
– 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
– 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
– 4 tsp caster sugar
– 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
– 1 small orange
– 15g (½oz) fresh mint, leaves stripped and shredded, plus extra to garnish
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Put the lamb in a shallow dish (or use a turkey bag if you have one). Put the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and blend to a thick paste, then rub it all over the lamb. Cover with cling film and chill for up to two days to marinate.
2. Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F/gas mark 8).
3. Bring the lamb back up to room temperature. Put on a rack in a roasting tin, cut side up, and season well. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn over and roast for 15 minutes for rare. If you prefer your lamb more well done, cook it for an extra 15–20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the salsa. Heat the olive oil in a pan set over a medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for 1–2 minutes, until lightly golden, stirring occasionally. Add 3 teaspoons of the sugar along with the balsamic vinegar, a good pinch of salt and 6 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3–5 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the garlic and chilli are covered with a thick syrup.
5. Pare the rind from the orange, avoiding the white pith, cut into 1mm julienne and put into a small pan. Squeeze the juice from the orange and make up to 100ml (3½fl oz) with water. Pour this over the julienned rind and add the remaining teaspoon of sugar. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat and cook for 6–8 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by about one-third. Remove from the heat. Stir the mint and lemon juice into the caramelised garlic with enough of the julienned orange rind mixture to sweeten. Put in a bowl and season to taste.
6. Remove the lamb from the oven and rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. If you don’t like your lamb too pink, cover it with foil and it will continue to cook. Carve into slices and add any of the cooking juices to the salsa. Arrange the lamb on warmed plates with the salsa and garnish with mint leaves to serve.
Christmas is the one time of the year where you want everything to be perfect. So, thank heaven for Neven and his fantastic new cookbook! People all over Ireland will turn to their most trusted chef, Neven Maguire, to help them deliver the perfect Irish Christmas.
The book is divided into two sections. Part 1 focusses on the big day, from Neven’s famous buttermilk turkey and perfect roast potatoes to traditional Christmas desserts. Part 2 covers the whole of the festive season including a Snowman Cake to make with the kids, St Stephen’s Day leftovers right through to a festive New Year’s Eve dinner. You’ll also find lots of fun ideas for edible gifts, party food and all the little extras that help make Christmas as special as it can be.
Neven’s Perfect Christmas is published by Gill Books and is available to purchase here.