Sunday roasts and summer are two of my favourite things. But when it’s too hot outside, the last thing you want is a full roast with gravy and all the trimmings. It just seems wrong. It’s also far too hot to be in a kitchen for long.
I have spent a few weeks almost every summer for the last 5 years in Greece, and last summer I went to the island of Santorini. I love everything about Santorini. The little blue roofs on chapels by the roadside, the inexpensive but elegant wines like Assyrtiko and Savatiano, simple but incredible food made from local ingredients (if you get me talking the seafood in Santorini I will not stop reeling for approximately 5-6 days), and the azure blue sea and volcanic beaches, which are perfect for reading a good book when you’re not exploring the historical sites and admiring Santorini’s natural beauty from one of the many walks up the mountains and hills.
Greece is famous for its lamb dishes. So what better way to rewind on a warm summer Sunday afternoon than create this laid-back slow-roasted Greek feast?
Here’s what you’ll need to serve hungry 4 people:
For the lamb:
- 1 half leg of lamb
- 3 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves sliced
- 5 big bay leaves
- 1 aubergine, 1 courgette and 1 red onion cut into large, 1-inch chunks.
- Salt to season
For the tzatziki:
- Half a grated cucumber
- A handful of mint leaves, chopped
- Dried oregano
- Sea salt
- 200g Greek yoghurt
For the potatoes:
- 5 white potatoes, cut into 1cm slices
- Olive oil (not extra virgin)
- Sea salt
- 3 springs of rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, bashed with the flat side of a knife and skins left on
For the Greek salad:
- 6 large tomatoes on the vine, 1 cucumber and 1 red onion all sliced into 1cm thick rounds.
- Black or green olives, stones in
- 2 tbsps of red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp of good extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pack of feta cheese
- Lots of dried oregano
- Get the oven on high (200 degrees Celsius, gas mark 6 or 400 degrees Fahrenheit). Prepare the lamb by making 3 long incisions with your knife into the top of the meat. On the wide end of the leg, you’ll find a pocket in the middle. Open this up with your hand and stuff a sprig rosemary, bay leaf, garlic and salt. Then stuff more rosemary, bay leaves, garlic and salt into the 3 incisions on the top. Season all over generously. Season the courgette, aubergine and red onion and tumble into the roasting tin. Place the leg of lamb on top and roast on high for 20 minutes, then covering with tin foil and reducing to 150 for a further 3 hours. Find a bottle of chilled white wine in the fridge and crack it open.
- Combine the cucumber, mint, salt and oregano into a bowl and add the yoghurt. Mix it well and let it sit until you’re ready to serve in the fridge.
- Around half an hour before the lamb is ready, season the sliced potatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Season with sea salt and put in the bottom of the oven o roast for an hour. Take the lamb out when it’s done and let it rest for half an hour until the potatoes are done.
- Put the sliced tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and olives into a deep-sided dish and pour over the vinegar and olive oil dressing. Place the slab of feta on top and douse in dried oregano.
- Carve the lamb and scoop out the soft slow-roasted veggies in the bottom of the tray and serve it on a big platter with big wedges of lemon to squeeze over it and the resting juices. Place the Greek salad, potatoes, dried oregano and tzatziki nearby.
- Prepare yourself for a fight over the last remaining tender slices of lamb.
This is PERFECT with a crisp, chilled white wine, and if you have plenty of friends (6-8 or so) double the recipe. You will want to make this again and again.