A lovely leg of lamb is the number one choice for Easter. Don't be intimidated by this wonderful piece of meat, it's easy to produce melt-in-the-mouth perfection if you follow some basic rules. We asked our food editor Gregor McMaster for his top tips on how to cook the ultimate roast lamb.
Your favourite method for cooking the perfect leg of lamb?
I like experimenting in the kitchen and trying new ingredients and flavour combinations, with one exception - roast lamb. For me it has to be the traditional flavour combo of garlic and rosemary, cooked low 'n' slow on a rack above some vegetables which catch the juices. Yum.
Tip to avoid overcooking lamb?
The best way to avoid overcooking is to make note of the weight before you begin preparing the lamb. Then calculate how long it needs in the oven: 25min per 500g, plus an extra 25mins will give you medium. Or an extra 30 mins per 500g for well done.
Preheat the oven to 190C/170Cfan/gas 5. Cover with foil for the first half of the cooking time.
How best to avoid undercooking?
Make sure you don’t open the oven too much and also make sure the oven has been preheated. Make sure the tray is on the middle shelf. It is also useful to have a meat thermometer to check the meat.
The best sides to accompany lamb?
My favourite is minted peas with some fried chopped bacon, or a green veg medley including leeks, green beans and cabbage. Alternatively herbed baby carrots or sweet potato mash work well.
Your favourite lamb marinades?
Honey, lemon and oregano make my favourite springtime lamb marinade, but later in the summer I like a tamarind sauce-based marinade which gives a real South East Asian flavour. For Middle Eastern style lamb, I like a harissa and yoghurt marinade. My family go mad for-the leftovers because it makes delicious flatbread kebab wraps!
Recommended roast lamb recipes
Here are six of our favourites for you to wow a crowd with this Easter.
This fruity cherry sauce makes a great accompaniment to a lovely savoury joint of roast lamb.
Celeriac is a delicious alternatives to potatoes in this roast lamb dish. It adds a nutty, celery-like taste to the meaty lamb.
This lamb dish is marinated overnight in red wine, gin, bay leaves, rosemary, carrots and onions to give it a deep flavour. Perfect for relaxed entertaining, the lamb just falls off the bone.
This succulent leg of lamb comes with garlic butter and an aromatic herb coating.
The perfect early summer roast. The meat is studded with rosemary sprigs, garlic and anchovies to give extra flavour.
Slow cooking the joint makes the lamb wonderfully tender – just seal it securely with foil.