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Heston's nut-crusted brined leg of lamb
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Brining meat is a simple but incredibly effective method of helping ensure it’s tender, succulent and full of flavour, while adding a crust gives texture, crunch and bags of extra character
Serves: 6 with leftovers
FOR THE BRINE
2 cucumbers, grated
2 x 25g packs mint, roughly chopped
1 whole leg of lamb (about 2kg)
FOR THE NUT CRUST
20g unsalted butter
260g shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Zest of ½ lemon
200g Waitrose Mixed Nuts
100g Love Life Pistachio Kernels
1 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Egg, yolk only
50g white wine
500g Heston from Waitrose Chicken Stock
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1. For the brine, mix the grated cucumbers with the salt in a bowl large enough to just fit the lamb. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. Add the mint and 750g cold water. Add the lamb.
2. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and place in the bottom of the fridge. Allow to stand for 3 hours.
3. Remove the lamb from the brine and rinse in cold fresh water for 45 minutes, changing the water every 15 minutes. Pat dry.
4. For the nut crust, place the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook until caramelised. Season with a pinch of salt. If the mixture begins to catch on the bottom of the pan, add a splash of water.
5. Once the shallots have caramelised, add the anchovies and lemon zest. Using a hand blender, blitz the mixture to a smooth purée, and reserve. Crush the mixed nuts to a medium size and add to the shallot purée.
6. Roll the purée between 2 sheets of parchment to a thickness of half a centimetre. Place on a tray and put in the fridge for 1 hour.
7. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Season the lamb with salt. Heat some oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) in a frying pan over a high heat. When it is smoking hot, sear the lamb until golden brown on all sides. Place the lamb on the rack of a roasting tray. Pour 150ml water into the bottom of the pan and cook as recommended on the packaging (25 minutes per 500g, plus 25 minutes for medium), or to your liking.
8. One hour into the cooking, remove the lamb from the oven. Take the nut crust from the fridge. Peel off one layer of parchment, and place the nut crust on top of the lamb, ensuring it covers the entire surface. Lightly press all over to ensure the crust is stuck to the leg, then peel away the other piece of paper. Put the leg back in the oven to finish cooking, covering with foil if it gets too dark.
9. In the meantime, crush the pistachios to a medium size, and reserve. Once the lamb has finished cooking, remove from the oven and leave to stand for 10 minutes before brushing the crust with the egg yolk using a pastry brush. Then sprinkle the pistachios on top of the crust. Place the lamb back in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and allow to rest for 20 minutes covered.
10. While the meat is resting, make the sauce. Place the roasting tin over a medium-high heat, allow the lamb juices to come to a boil, then reduce by half. Add the white wine, and use a spatula to scrape all the bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the liquid to reduce by half. Add the stock and reduce by half again.
11. Pour off any excess fat, then strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl. Stir in the wholegrain mustard, then pour into a warm jug to serve with the lamb.
Typical values per serving: