* Serves 6
1 large leg of lamb* (about 3 kg),
45 ml olive oil,
salt and pepper,
3 sprigs rosemary, woody stems removed,
chopped, 2 whole heads of garlic, horizontally sliced in half
¾cup (180 ml) balsamic vinegar,
1 cup (250 ml) port wine,
1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine,
about 8 large ripe black figs, some halved, some whole
*note: Ask your butcher to bend the long end of the leg bone by cutting almost through it but not all the way. This way it will fi t snugly into a large roasting tray without hanging over the side.
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the leg of lamb inside a large deep roasting tray, fatty
side down. Drizzle it all over with oil and season it generously with salt, pepper, and
chopped rosemary on both sides. Arrange the garlic head halves around it, then pour
the vinegar, port and white wine into the bottom. Cover with a lid or foil, then roast for
3 hours. Remove from the oven, then use tongs to turn the leg over with the fatty side
to the top. Cover and roast for another 2 hours. Remove the tray from the oven and
turn the heat up to 200°C. Return the leg to the oven for 20 minutes, then add the figs
around the meat and roast for another 10 minutes – the figs should be just warm and
soft, not falling apart.
Serve warm in the tray as a festive centrepiece, with a side of rice or potatoes or roast
vegetables and salad.
This roast makes a hearty yet thin sauce – remove some of the fat from the top by
skimming it off with a spoon at the end of the cooking process. If you prefer a thicker
gravy, pour the skimmed sauce into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and thicken
slightly by reducing it by ¼or by adding 2-3 teaspoons of corn fl our (mix it to a slurry
consistency with a few teaspoons of water before adding it). Stir well until thickened.
Recipe: THE FOOD FOX. Photo: TASHA SECCOMBE