Blue sky

Here comes the sun

Well the sun was shining a little bit today…I can still see a sliver of blue sky trying to get out. So quickly – whilst there’s a break in the rain, head out and buy a leg of lamb. It is the perfect weekend meal. I cooked this yesterday and it’s given possibly the BEST house aroma yet. In fact I can still smell it today – but in a good way. Not in an old food smell kinda way.

This lamb roast is not your average lamb roast with the rosemary and mint sauce (which there’s absolutely nothing wrong with by the way). It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe, that came in one of those little freebie cookbooks inside a Sunday newspaper. It’s a beauty. Called Jamie does Spain, Morocco, Italy, France, Sweden & Greece.

The recipe is called simply Roast lamb with beans, and it’s perfect for a dinner party or get together of 4 or more (hungry) adults. Kids would probably like this as the meat is beautiful and tender, and the vegies don’t really look that green.

So….let’s begin.


Prep time – about 45 minutes. Cooking time – was around the 2.5 – 3 hour mark, but depends on your oven and how you like your meat. I bought a 2kg leg of lamb, and served it to 4 adults. We had stacks of leftovers which was a very good thing. It tasted just as good the day after.


1 x leg of lamb (approx 2 kg) on the bone
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled
Small bunch thyme
Couple of rosemary sprigs
3 medium leeks, peeled and sliced diagonally 2cm thick
2 brown onions, peeled and finely sliced
1 fresh bay leaf (I used dried)
2 small bunches fresh flat-leafed parsley
4 x 400g cannellini beans (I actually used 3 as didn’t do a proper pantry audit first)
1.5 litres chicken or vegie stock

What to do

Get your oven heated up – and max it out. Turn it up as high pretty much as high as it will go. Don’t be scared – it will be going down again as soon as the meat goes in. Get the lamb out of the fridge and have the sharpest knife you own at the ready. Stab it all over – so there’s a whole pile of little cuts everywhere. Put it on a large, flat baking tray and rub olive oil all over, along with some salt and pepper. You need to get quite physical with this recipe. Your hands will get messy. Slice 4 of the garlic cloves into sort of long and thin slices. Shove these into the holes you’ve stabbed, along with some small sprigs of rosemary and thyme.

Mine looked like this:

Garlic & herb spiked lamb

Time to tend the vegies: get your leeks, onions and 6 cloves of garlic and put it all into a deep baking/roasting tray. Add some olive oil, S&P and give it a good stir. Put it onto the stovetop and cook over a medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until the leek softens. Will smell great.

The vegie mix

Add the tins of cannellini beans to the tray (use the juices as well). Get some cooking twine and tie the bay leaf, the remaining thyme bunch, and one of the small bunches of parsley together. Add the bunch to the tray with the leeks, onions and garlic in it. Pour over the stock and stir it all up gently.

Tied up herbs Bubbly stock & herbs Getting the cooking setup organised: Put your leg of lamb directly onto one of the racks in your oven. Then place the vegie/beans/herb tray straight underneath. ie;

The oven setup

Jamie offers two alternative cooking options. If you prefer pink, blushing meat, turn the oven down to 180 degrees as soon as you put the lamb and beans in. Cook it for 1.25 hours. Then let it rest for 15 minutes covered in foil. It will then be ready to carve. The beans will still be a bit liquidy at this point, so put them onto the stovetop over a high heat and reduce them down a bit whilst the lamb rests.

The second cooking option is the one I went for. If you prefer (as Jamie describes it) “sticky, pull-apart meat”, then this option is for you. It also allows you a bit more flexibility around timing. Immediately after you put the lamb in, turn the oven down to 160 degrees, and cook both the lamb and beans for about 3 hours, or until it pulls apart really easily. I periodically gave the bean mixture a stir and move around, as I found it was browning a little.

When the meat is cooked, take it out and wrap it in foil, and let it rest for about 30 minutes. Take out the beans tray, cover in foil, turn the oven off, and then leave the beans in there to keep warm.

Serving: when you’re ready to serve, take the beans out of the oven, and then get about a third of them into another bowl. Mush them up with a potato masher, and then put them back into the bean tray – giving them a good stir. This will give the beans a beautiful, smooth, creamy consistency. Chop up your remaining bunch of parsley, and stir it through the beans. Slice up, or shred the lamb, and serve it over the beans. Absolutely beautiful. Enjoy with a good red and maybe a nice simple salad of cucumber and tomatoes.

Roast lamb with beans

Dinner is nearly served