Ceremonial lamb with broad beans & mint

A superb main course for a dinner party

  • Cook:3 hrs
  • Serves 6
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 991
  • fat 69g
  • saturates 32g
  • carbs 9g
  • sugars 1g
  • fibre 6g
  • protein 81g
  • salt 0.87g


  • 2kg fresh broad beans in the pod, or 550g/1lb 4oz frozen
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot, 1 onion and 1 celery stick, all roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar, plus a pinch
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • sprig of fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 1 leg of lamb, weighing 3kg/6lb 8oz
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • buttered new potatoes, to serve
  • 250ml lamb or chicken stock


  1. The day before, pod the beans. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and have ready a bowl of iced water. Drop the beans into the water, return to a rolling boil (2-3 minutes), drain and plunge them into the iced water to cool (about 2 minutes). Drain, then squeeze each one between your thumb and forefinger to skin them. Keep covered in the fridge.

  2. Make the gravy. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a pan, add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic and brown them for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the sugar and tomato purée and let this brown too, then pour in 4 tbsp vinegar and reduce to a syrupy glaze. Tip in the wine and scrape up all the juices, then add the thyme or rosemary and the stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain, leave to cool, cover and keep in the fridge.

  3. One and a half hours before serving, preheat the oven to 240C/gas 9/fan 220C. Rub the lamb very well with salt, pepper and the remaining olive oil, then put it on a rack in a heavy roasting tin and roast for 45 minutes for very rare. Test by pushing a skewer into the centre of the meat – the tip should come out cool but not cold. Leave the meat to rest in the oven with the door left open a little and the temperature turned down to 110C/ gas 1?4/fan 90C. After 15 minutes the meat should be an even rosy pink.

  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add a pinch of sugar, the mint, a good pinch of salt and 1 tsp wine vinegar. Stew for a minute, then tip in the beans and 2-3 tbsp water and stew for 2-3 minutes more.

  5. Reheat the gravy in a saucepan, tipping in any meat juices.

  6. To serve, carve the lamb into thick slices. Put 2-3 slices on each plate with the beans and gravy. Serve with buttered new potatoes.

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