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1 leg of lamb, about 2kg, fat trimmed and skin scored
Olive oil, to drizzle
3-4 garlic cloves, skins on and halved
few sprigs of thyme
juice from half a lemon
4 apples, russets or Braeburns
500ml medium cider
runny honey, to drizzle
300ml lamb or chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 220C/ Gas 7. Weigh the lamb and calculate the final cooking time at 12 minutes per 450g for medium rare, 15 minutes per 450g for medium.
Score the fat around the leg of the lamb in a criss-cross pattern, drizzle with a little olive oil, then rub all over with salt and pepper. Place in a deep roasting pan and scatter the garlic and thyme over and around. Pour over the lemon juice and drizzle again with olive oil. Sprinkle with a little more seasoning, then roast in the hot oven for 20 minutes.
Slice the apples into quarters and cut off the cores. Remove the lamb from the oven and reduce the heat to 180C/ Gas 4. Scatter the apples around the pan and baste the lamb with cider. Turn the lamb over and drizzle with 2 tbsp of honey. Return to the oven for 30 minutes.
Turn the lamb, baste the meat with the pan juices, then drizzle over another teaspoon of honey. Continue to roast for the calculated time. To check it, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the lamb, then press the meat lightly; the redder the juices, the rarer the meat. Lift the lamb onto a carving board and cover with foil. Rest in a warm place.
At this point, the roasting apples and garlic should be very soft. Press with a fork, then tip the contents of the pan into a sieve over a saucepan. Push with the back of a ladle to extract all the juices and flavour. Discard the pulp. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and add the stock. Boil and bubble until the sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then pour into a warm jug. Carve the lamb into thin slices and serve drizzled with the apples and cider gravy.