SALT DOUGH BAKED LEG OF LAMB
Baking a Leg of Lamb in salt dough takes a bit of patience and concentration, but slow cooking your meat like this, ensures great flavor and moisture and it will be worth all your efforts. Furthermore cracking the crust open at the dinner table is a bit of a showstopper!
2 kg leg of lamb, French trimmed
1 tbsp finely chopped thyme
6 cloves garlic, halved lengthways
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Extra thyme leaves on stem
700g/ 6 cups plain flour
300 g / 2 ½ cup sea salt
1 ½ tbsp freshly ground pepper
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 ½ cup/ 375 ml water
2 egg yolks mixed with a little cold water
Method leg of lamb:
Pre heat the oven to 180ºC
Combine the thyme and the mustard in a small bowl. Cut 12 deep slits in the leg of lamb and push in the garlic cloves. Rub the mustard paste over both sides of the lamb. If you have a large flat grill plate, the leg of lamb can be browned and cooled before rubbing with the mustard mixture. This doesn’t change the flavour, but does make the lamb look more attractive when the crust is broken.
Method salt dough:
Mix flour, salt and pepper in a bowl to combine. Slowly add the combined egg whites and water to make dough, stirring with a spoon, adding a little more water if necessary to bring the dough together. Tip onto a lightly floured bench and knead for a couple of minutes until well combined. Don’t let the dough rest, as this will make it dry out.
Roll the dough to a large 40 cm x 45 cm rectangle.
Place extra thyme leaves on stem on the dough and the leg of lamb on top, presentation side down, and bring the sides of the dough up, over the lamb. Wet the edges of the pastry and press firmly to make sure the lamb is completely sealed. Turn the lamb right side up and place on a lined baking tray. Wet the pastry where necessary and smooth with your fingers to seal any cracks, making sure the dough is sealed tightly. Brush the dough with egg wash.
Roast for 1 ½ hours, then remove from the oven and rest the leg of lamb for 15 minutes.
Carefully break the crust open and pour the cooking liquids into a jug (or discard). The cooking liquids can be used as a stock for making gravy to accompany the lamb. Lift the lamb out of the crust, then carve against the grain and serve.
This recipe is part of my salt story published in MAD&venner #129 2015 & Matmagasinet Nord #23 2017, focusing on using salt as a main ingredient for cooking or flavouring. Try these recipes from this series too:
Blackberry Grav Lax
Salt & Vinegar Potato Skins
Bork Belly in Brine with Cripsy Crackling
© Manja Wachsmuth 2017