Stefano cooks up a celebration meal of mutton, prepared consciously considering the hard times the River folk have endured.






Skill level

No votes yet


  • 3 kg leg of mutton
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, whole
  • 3 litres water
  • 180 g salt
  • 1 bottle pinot grigio
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 2 chicory bunches, roughly chopped

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


This recipe needs to be started one day in advance.

  1. Score the mutton leg with criss-cross lines, using a sharp knife.
  2. Add the mutton, one sprig rosemary, water and salt to a large pot or container ensuring the mutton is covered with water. If there is not enough water to cover, add more using a ratio of 60 g of salt for every 2 litres of water used. Let mutton soak overnight, refrigerated.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC
  4. Drain off extra water from the mutton and pat the meat dry. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and brown the mutton all over. Gradually add in pinot grigio to ensure the pot doesn’t lose heat, then add another sprig of rosemary as well as garlic cloves. Season well. Bring to a simmer, then cover the pot with a lid or foil.
  5. Place the pot into the oven and cook, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and the meat is tender.
  6. Remove the foil or lid and place back in the oven to crisp up the mutton surface, about 15 minutes.
  7. Let the meat rest for at least 30 mins before serving.
  8. Meanwhile, combine chopped garlic, splash of olive oil and anchovies in a bowl and set aside. Place a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat. Add chicory (or other bitter greens) to the pan and wilt. Stir in the anchovy mixture and toss to coat. Remove the pan off the heat.
  9. To serve, lay the wilted greens onto a large serving platter and place lamb on top, then spoon over the remaining roasting juices.


Stefano de Pieri explores all the wonders of the Murray Darling river system in Australia's Food Bowl.