There is nothing better than roast lamb in my opinion. However, it comes with a pretty price tag and when you’re trying to watch the pennies, you might leave the lamb for the odd occasion.
This is why I love breast of lamb. It can be quite daunting and with all cheap cuts of meat, it requires a little more TLC. But it packs a flavourful punch with tender meat and a crisp outer-layer when done right.
Here’s one of my favourite, easy ways to cook breast of lamb, inspired by the great lamb-cooks of the world; the Greeks! The breast of lamb itself cost £4.50, (compared to just over £8 for half a leg of lamb) and can serve up to 4 people for £1.12 each (or 2 very hungry people with leftovers).
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Sprig of fresh rosemary (or dried)
- A handful of fennel seeds
- Couple of bay leaves (again, dried if you can’t get any fresh)
- Olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Thyme (fresh or dried)
- Balsamic vinegar
- 1 red onion, quartered
- Breast of lamb, de-boned
On my travels to Crete last year, I had the most amazing Cretan lamb – and the core ingredient for the marinade was always fennel seeds. Do make sure you have fennel seeds for the dish if nothing else, it really makes it! Fennel seeds are also wonderful with pork, roast vegetables, chicken – it’s a great store cupboard investment.
You’ll need to crush the fennel seeds first, either in a pestle and mortar, or in a spice blender (I’ve used a bag and a rolling pin before which worked fine). Scrunch the bay leaves and add the rest of the herbs with a few glugs of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and add 2 roughly crushed garlic cloves.
Bung your breast of lamb into a bowl, tin or freezer bag and add your marinade to it, working it in with your hands (I prefer to use a freezer bag for this – much cleaner). Leave the lamb to marinade in the fridge for at least an hour, but overnight/all day is perfect.
Once marinaded, pre-heat your oven on high (220 degrees C, 200 for fan). Add in a quartered red onion to the bottom of the tin and place your lamb and all that lovely marinade on top. Put in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes to brown, then take it out, turn the oven down to 150, and cover the lamb with 2 layers of tin foil tightly and put back in the oven. Continue to cook low and slow for 2 hours, taking it out and basting it every now and again.
When the 2 hours are up and you can plunge a knife into the lamb satisfyingly with very little effort, leave to rest for half an hour, covering it with the tin foil and a tea towel on top to stop it going cold.
Carve into slices, and serve with minted new potatoes, garden veg and mint sauce. Add roast potatoes for a perfect and economical Sunday roast for 4 people.
If you have some leftover, you can sauteé from cold and create a greek lamb gyros with pitta and some tzatsiki for lunch – yum!