The best cuts for roasting lamb (plus tips on how)

Tips on how to roast a lamb of mouthwatering succulence.

 The best cuts for roasting lamb (plus tips on how)

THE BEST CUTS FOR ROASTING

LEG
A favourite cut of lamb for roasting.  A whole leg is ideal for serving large numbers, and yields plenty of lean, tender meat. It can be divided into two joints  (the fillet end has the best flavour).

SHOULDER
Roasting joint that is inexpensive because it carries a little more fat. The bone running through the centre makes it a little more difficult to carve. Shoulder benefits from long, slow roasting, and can be boned and rolled, as can the smaller knuckle and fillet ends of the shoulder.

BEST END OF NECK
This has the very best flavour, and is made up of lean meat.  It cooks very quickly, and will feed two perfectly. It is also the most expensive cut.

SADDLE OF LAMB
An impressive joint for roasting, but a little difficult to carve. This joint is quite large and expensive.

LOIN
A lovely joint for roasting, on or off the bone, because it carries a little more fat than the leg but not as much as the shoulder. A boned loin is ideal for stuffing.

CHUMP
This is an inexpensive, small boneless joint made of well-flavoured meat with no waste. Ideal for two.

BREAST
The most fatty of all the joints, the breast is under-used and underrated. When it has been boned and rolled around a dry, lean, well-flavoured stuffing, it produces a beautifully flavoured, tender and inexpensive roasting joint.

TIPS FOR ROASTING LAMB

  • Let the meat come to room temperature just before roasting it.
  • Always season well before cooking.
  • With larger roasting joints, start the meat off at a high temperature (230°C/fan210°C/gas 8) for 15 minutes, to get the heat through to the centre of the joint, then reduce the temperature to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6 and continue to roast for 13 minutes per 500g for rare (very pink in the middle), 18 minutes per 500g for medium (just pink nearest the bone) and 20-22 minutes per 500g for well done.
  • For small joints such as a rack – which cooks through much faster – roast at the higher temperature of 230°C/fan210°C/gas 8 for the whole cooking time.
  • Rest the meat before carving. This allows the meat fibres – which contract in the oven – to relax again, giving juicier meat.
     

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

  • ‘Crown roast’ is simply two racks of best end, which are twisted into a circle to look like a crown.
  • ‘Guard of honour’ is made of two racks of best end tied side by side, with the bones facing inwards to form an arch – as on this Guard of honour recipe.
  • Noisettes of lamb are made from a boned and rolled loin.
     

THE MEAT GUIDE: LAMB

THE BEST CUTS FOR PAN-FRYING, GRILLING AND GRIDDLING

THE BEST CUTS FOR SLOW COOKING

 

ROAST LAMB RECIPES

Breast of lamb stuffed with feta and mint

Good meat comes from animals that live well, and the happiness of Treflach Farm's pigs and lambs is top priority. The results are superb, as is the cheap, eco-friendly weekly delivery service. To order, visit treflachfarm.co.uk.

Apricot stuffed lamb shoulder with rosemary roast potatoes

The apricot stuffing gives a lovely, fruity flavour to this lamb dish while the herby potatoes are a delicious treat.

Roast leg of lamb with aubergine Parmigiana

Classic traditional roast lamb is perfect for a Sunday get-together. This Mediterranean version marries juicy roast leg of lamb with aubergine Parmigiana to bring out the fuller flavours.

 

Roast leg of lamb stuffed with spinach and gremolata

Roast leg of lamb stuffed with spinach and gremolata

This makes the perfect holiday roast. Gremolata is simply an Italian word for a mix of lemon, parsley and garlic.

Roast leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary pesto

Roast leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary pesto

This lovely roast leg of lamb is smothered in garlic and rosemary for a fantastic flavour; if you're looking for inspiration, it's an ideal dish to serve on New Year's Eve.

Roast Bowland lamb with minted pease pudding

Roast Bowland lamb with minted pease pudding

The beautiful colours and complementary flavours make this seasonal lamb recipe a winner.

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