Autumn lamb: a fresh feast of flavours
As the leaves start to turn and cosy evenings follow crispy sunny days, this season is the time to perfect the ultimate autumn dish – the Aussie lamb roast. Now we’ve all got a bit more time to spend in the kitchen, renowned chef of Three Blue Ducks, Darren Robertson, shares his favourite roast recipe.
Robertson combines some seasonal vegie favourites and surprising fresh flavours with his roast leg. He serves it with melt-in-the-mouth butternut pumpkin, a herb and pepita-packed yoghurt dressing and a zingy watermelon salad.
Make it your own way
“For me and my family, an Aussie leg of lamb is one of our favourite autumn dishes,” Robertson says. “Lamb is so versatile and goes with lots of flavours. So I wanted to create a recipe with ingredients Aussies can easily swap out for what they’ve got at home.
“I love the delicious flavour of roast lamb, so a simple marinade is all you need. I used a mix of lemon, fresh herbs and garlic, but you could get creative and use whatever you’ve got in the spice cupboard. Cumin, coriander, fennel and black pepper work well. Or add some zing with chilli and grated ginger.
“When it comes to sides, you can use what you’ve already got. You can’t go wrong with classic roast potatoes, but you can use any veg you like – carrots, cauliflower or beetroot!”
If you manage to save any leftovers (and seriously, you might not), remember roast meat tastes even better the next day. Then you can give Robertson’s roast lamb sarnie with mustard and pickles a go. You can find his full roast recipe and cooking tips below.
Darren Robertson’s roast lamb leg, butternut pumpkin with yoghurt dressing and watermelon salad
Cooking time 1 hour 45 minutes
1 x 1.5kg lamb leg (room temperature)
3 cloves garlic (grated)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 half small butternut pumpkin
1 sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
Pinch smoked paprika
2 handfuls of mixed herbs (bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, parsley all work
well) – leave some aside for the dressing
Zest of 1 lemon
I tsp honey
For the yoghurt dressing:
1 tsp of the remaining lamb marinade mix
1 tbsp chopped roasted pepita
6 tbsp yoghurt
For the watermelon, tomato and radish salad:
100g piece of watermelon (peeled)
Half a lime
Handful picked coriander leaves
Handful picked mint leaves
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
Half a jalapeño chilli (if desired)
6 baby red radishes (washed)
1 vine of tomatoes
1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Chop herbs, mix with garlic, lemon zest, olive oil, paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper.
3. Pop the lamb, pumpkin and sweet potato in a roasting tray.
4. Gently pierce the fat of the leg, then cover in the marinade. Dress the pumpkin and sweet potato with the same marinade and drizzle a little honey over the pumpkin. Leave a teaspoon of the marinade for the yoghurt sauce.
5. Cook the lamb for 1 hour 15 minutes for medium-rare or 1 hour 30 minutes for medium.
6. Remove lamb, pumpkin and sweet potato from the oven, take out of the tray and rest the lamb for 20 minutes. Deglaze the tray with the yoghurt and leftover marinade mix, season with a little lemon juice, add pepitas and pour into a bowl.
7. For the salad, wash the radishes and cut them into quarters, dice the watermelon, chop the cucumber into irregular shapes and remove the eye from the tomato and roughly dice. If you like heat, then add very thinly sliced jalapeños. Mix all ingredients into a good size bowl, season with a little salt, pepper, lime juice and olive oil. Add the herbs, toss and serve.
8. Carve the lamb against the grain. Serve with vegies, yoghurt sauce and salad. That’s it!
1. It’s important to pierce the lamb to let the marinade do its magic.
2. Bringing the lamb up to room temperature will allow for an even cook.
3. Feel free to replace vegies and herbs with whatever you have available.
4. Use leftover lamb in sandwiches with mustard and pickles or toss through a beetroot rocket and hazelnut salad. You could also try it on a pizza or on nachos.
Head to Australian Lamb for more lamb recipe ideas. You can also try this lamb, date and apricot tagine, or these grilled lamb forequarter chops with cucumber and enoki salad.