L’abbacchio is a Roman dish of roasted lamb that is traditionally cooked in chunks. Here’s a version using a whole leg. I tend to cook it for less time than the Romans do, but that’s more to do with the quality of lamb I can get, and personal preference, than anything else. You can add a chopped anchovy fillet with the vinegar, but I tend to do it without.
- 2 tbsp lard or olive oil
- 4 thick prosciutto slices, cut into lardons
- 1.5 kg lamb leg, deeply scored at 5 cm intervals
- 125 ml (½ cup) water
- 10 garlic cloves, crushed with the back of a knife
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 tbsp sage leaves
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
- roast potatoes and sautéed kale, to serve
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.
Preheat oven to 170°C. In a large heavy-based ovenproof pan, heat the lard over medium heat and fry prosciutto for 3 minutes or until fat just starts to melt. Add the lamb and cook, turning, for 8 minutes or until golden. Drain fat from pan. Season with salt and pepper, add water, garlic, rosemary and sage. Transfer to oven and cook, covered, turning halfway, for 1 hour for medium, or until cooked to your liking.
Remove from oven, add the vinegar to the stew and stir to combine. Return to oven and cook, uncovered, for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Serve with roasted potatoes and a large dish of sautéed kale on the side.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 12, pg38.
Photography by Alan Benson