Here is fresh mint to go with the shoulder of lamb supplied by Donald Russell of Inverurie - By Appointment to HM The Queen Suppliers of Meat and Poultry. As ever, it is a pleasure to provide a suitable recipe from Delia Smith.
Baked Lamb with Rosemary with Redcurrant and Mint Sauce
Lamb is in peak condition in mid-summer, as it has then had the benefit of the sweet, young, spring grazing. At this time I would only serve it plain-roasted with a sauce of young mint leaves. Later on in the summer this is a fine way to cook and serve it: the foil-baking ensures that it stays juicy.
1 x 4-4 ½ lb (1.8-2 kg) leg of lamb
2 level tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves plus 1 sprig of rosemary
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
10 fl oz (275 ml) dry white wine
½ level teaspoon sea salt
freshly milled black pepper
For the sauce:
3 level tablespoons good-quality redcurrant jelly
4 level tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and freshly milled black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C).
First of all, crush the garlic and sea salt together to a purée, using a pestle and mortar, then add the oil, chopped rosemary and a good seasoning of pepper and mix well. Next, spread a large sheet of foil over the roasting tin, place the lamb on it and stab the fleshy parts of the joint several times with a skewer.
Now spread the rosemary mixture all over the upper surface of the lamb and tuck in a sprig of rosemary (as this makes a nice garnish later). Then bring the edges of the foil up over the lamb, make a pleat in the top and scrunch in the ends. This foil parcel should be fairly loose to allow the air to circulate. Bake the lamb for 2 hours, then open out the foil, baste the joint well with the juices and return it to the oven for a further 30 minutes to brown.
The above cooking time should result in lamb very slightly pink: you can cook it for more or less time, as you prefer.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining the redcurrant jelly and vinegar in a small saucepan and whisking over a gentle heat, till the jelly melts into the vinegar (a balloon whisk does this perfectly). Then add the chopped mint and some seasoning and pour into a jug – the sauce doesn't need to be warm.
When the lamb is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
Discard the foil, spoon off the fat and make some gravy with the juices left in the tin: add the white wine, stir and let it bubble until it has become syrupy.
Season with salt and pepper if it needs it and pour into a warmed serving jug.
Time for our final harvest hymn:
We plough the fields and scatter
The good seed on the land,
But it is fed and watered
By God's almighty hand:
He sends the snow in winter,
The warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine,
And soft, refreshing rain.
All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above;
Then thank the Lord,
O thank the Lord,
For all his love.
He only is the maker
Of all things near and far;
He paints the wayside flower,
He lights the evening star;
The winds and waves obey him,
By him the birds are fed;
Much more to us, his children,
He gives our daily bread.
We thank thee then, O Father,
For all things bright and good,
The seed time and the harvest,
Our life, our health, our food.
Accept the gifts we offer
For all thy love imparts,
And what thou most desirest,
Our humble, thankful hearts.
That concludes our Harvest Festival, but we shall remain at Balmoral for a few more days.