We have recently been enjoying fabulous weather here in the UK, so the barbecue has often been in use (which is great as it means less washing up for me!) The good thing about a barbecue is that you can cook a huge variety of things on it. Meat, fish, vegetables, bread and even skewers of fruit (which are fantastic served with my strawberry and chilli sauce) all get ‘charred’ and sizzled on the grill.
Personally I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to the BBQ and prefer using hot coals, soaked wood chips and herbs to give that extra flavour to the meat. But, for convenience, the gas barbecue can still add flavour and the important thing to get right is a good marinade, or a dry rub to your meat. This will dramatically improve the taste.
Butterflied leg of lamb is a great cut of meat to use when you are cooking for large numbers, the fat to meat ratio is good (not too much that it burns, but enough to keep the meat nice and moist) and, as the bone has been removed, it is quicker to cook. I usually allow 30-40 minutes for a whole butterflied leg of lamb (this will serve 8-10 people) and 20-25 minutes for half a leg (for 5-6 people). If there are only two of you then I find lamb rumps are nice and tasty.
Barbecued butterflied leg of lamb with pistachio pesto and sautéed peppers
Difficulty: moderate Serving:8-10
1 leg of lamb butterflied (ask your butcher to do this)
2 bulbs garlic cut in half
8 sprigs rosemary chopped
1 small bunch marjoram/oregano chopped
2tbsp olive oil sea salt and black pepper
3 red peppers
2 handfuls of rocket
1 large bunch basil
1 clove garlic crushed
2tbsp olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
First marinade the meat by placing the lamb in a plastic bag (check there are no holes in it!) with the garlic, olive oil and herbs and a generous grind of black pepper. Leave to marinade in the fridge for a minimum of two hours but up to 24 hours (the longer the better).
Remove the lamb from the fridge and season with a little sea salt. Start the barbecue so that it is really hot an hour before you wish to eat. Place the lamb on the barbecue (not directly over the coals) with the herbs and garlic the top of the lamb. Cook for 15 minutes then turn over placing the herbs back on top and the garlic on the side of the BBQ so it cooks gently and does not burn. Cook for another 15 for rare and 20 minutes for medium rare. Remove from the BBQ and cover with a double layer of foil and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes (this is very important so that the lamb will be pink and juicy). Cook the peppers on the BBQ (over a direct heat) turning every 2-3 minutes until all the sides have blackened. Remove from the heat and place in a plastic bag to cool.
Whilst the meat is resting make the pesto by placing the nuts in a pan and toasting them for 1-2 minutes till they start to colour. Remove and leave to cool. When cool blitz quickly with the garlic and basil for a few seconds (the nuts still want to be quite coarse), add the oil and season with a little salt and pepper to taste. Place in a bowl and reserve. Remove the peppers from the bag and scrape off the blackened skin. Cut in half a remove the seeds and slice.
To serve, thinly carve the meat. Place the rocket on a large serving platter with the peppers, arrange the with the lamb on top and dot with teaspoonfuls of the pesto. Serve the garlic halves on the side.