Roast Lamb with Rosemary & Garlic Recipe by Donal Skehan

Roast Lamb with Rosemary & Garlic

I love using the classic combo of garlic & rosemary to flavour lamb. An easy side dish to serve alongside the roast lamb is simply braised baby gem, with peas in white wine and thyme. In springtime, wild garlic appears all across Ireland in shaded woodland areas. It is easy to recognise from its distinctive garlic smell. The leaves can be harvested and treated like any salad leaf or used to make a pesto to serve alongside the lamb.

Serves 6

For the lamb:

1 leg of lamb, on the bone (roughly 2½ kg to serve 6-8)
4-5 garlic cloves, sliced into slivers
3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
3 tbsp of rapeseed oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper
For the wild garlic pesto: (optional)
100g of wild garlic, washed and dried
50g of pine nuts
75g of Parmesan or mature Coolea cheese, grated
350ml of extra virgin olive oil or Irish rapeseed oil
For the braised baby gem and peas:
1 tbsp of butter
100g of smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped
Zest of 1/2 lemon
75ml of white wine
A few thyme sprigs
50ml of chicken stock
200g of frozen peas
6 spring onions, trimmed and sliced in half
6 baby gem lettuce, sliced in half

Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

Place the lamb in a large roasting dish. Make a number of incisions all over the lamb and stud with the garlic slivers and rosemary sprigs. Drizzle with rapeseed oil and generously sprinkle with sea salt and ground black pepper.

Place in the oven to roast for 15 minutes per 500g (1lb) for medium rare or longer if you prefer your meat more well done.

Remove from the oven and rest under tin foil before serving in thin slices.

Optional: For the pesto place all the ingredients in a food processor or pestle and mortar and blitz until smooth. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Set aside.

For the braised baby gem and peas, melt the butter in a large high sided frying pan. Fry the bacon until sizzling and crisp. Pour in the wine and allow to sizzle for about 30 seconds before adding the thyme sprigs, lemon zest and chicken stock. Add the peas to the liquid and then nuzzle in the spring onions and Baby Gem lettuce. Cover with a lid and cook for about 5-8 minutes until the lettuce is just braised. Serve with slices of the warm lamb.


Roasting dish
Food processor or pestle and mortar (if making pesto)
Large high sided frying pan