Thyme roast lamb with lentils, feta, olives and herbs
- May 2015
- 4 tbsp balsamic glaze
- 1.5kg boned and rolled British lamb leg
- 5 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped/ torn into short lengths
- 500ml good-quality fresh chicken stock
- 1 garlic bulb, sliced in half horizontally
- 290g jar pitted black olives, drained
For the lentils
- 500g puy lentils
- Good drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh oregano, leaves picked and finely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked
- 4 spring onions, finely sliced
- Juice ½ lemon
- 200g feta
- Aleppo chilli flakes – optional
Useful kit, but not essential
- Digital probe thermometer
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas 6. Rub 2 tbsp of the balsamic glaze all over the lamb and season well with salt and pepper. With the point of a sharp knife, pierce slits in the outside of the lamb and push in the small sprigs of thyme. Put the joint in a roasting tin. Pour half the chicken stock into the tin and add the halved garlic bulb. Transfer to the oven and roast for 25 minutes, then turn down the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3½ and cook for 50-60 minutes more until cooked to your liking – if you have one, a digital probe thermometer pushed into the thickest part of the meat should read 50-55°C (for pink to medium). Keep an eye on the stock in the tin – when it has nearly all evaporated, add the rest of it and flip over the garlic.
- Ten minutes before the end of the lamb cooking time, toss the olives into the tin and stir the remaining 2 tbsp balsamic glaze into the stock. When the lamb is cooked, remove it to a board to rest. Turn the oven off but leave the olives, garlic and stock inside to keep warm.
- Put the lentils in a large pan of boiling water and cook for 25-30 minutes until tender (see Make Ahead). Drain and tip them into a large mixing bowl. Toss through the olive oil with a generous amount of salt, then tip in the olives, stock and roasting juices from the oven. Squeeze in the roasted garlic flesh and stir (discard the skin).
- Stir through the herbs, spring onions and lemon juice. Taste and season, then crumble through the feta and divide among shallow bowls, spooning up the liquid from the bottom. Slice the lamb and place on top of the lentils, scatter over a few chilli flakes, if using, and serve.
This dish is best made just before serving, but you can cook the lentils ahead. Toss them with a bit of olive oil and leave to cool before chilling, covered, for up to 12 hours. Take out of the fridge 2 hours before serving, then toss through with the hot roasting juices in a saucepan over a medium heat for a few minutes before serving.
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