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Italian Pot Roasted Leg of Lamb

ingredients

1.75 kg (3 1/2 lb) leg of lamb
3 - 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
125 g (4 oz) streaky bacon rashers
4 tbsp olive oil
2 - 3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 onions, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
300 ml (1/2 pint) 1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
300 ml (1/2 pint) 1 1/4 cups stock
350 g (12 oz) tomatoes, peeled, quartered and deseeded
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
salt and pepper
fresh rosemary sprigs, to garnish

method

1. Wipe the joint of lamb all over, trimming off any excess fat, then season well with salt and pepper, rubbing well in. Lay the sprigs of rosemary over the lamb, cover evenly with the bacon rashers and tie in place with fine string.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan (skillet) and fry the lamb until browned all over, turning several times - about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan.

3. Transfer the oil from the frying pan (skillet) to a large fireproof casserole and fry the garlic and onion together for 3 - 4 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the carrots and celery, and continue to cook for a few minutes longer.

4. Lay the lamb on top of the vegetables and press well to partly submerge. Pour the wine over the lamb, add the tomato puree (paste) and simmer for 3 - 4 minutes. Add the stock, tomatoes and herbs and seasoning and bring back to the boil for a further 3 - 4 minutes.

5. Cover the casserole tightly and cook in a moderate oven, 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4, for 2 - 2 1/2 hours until very tender.

6. Remove the lamb from the casserole and if liked, take off the bacon and herbs along with the string. Keep warm. Strain the juices, skimming off any excess fat, and serve in a jug. The vegetables may be put around the joint or in a serving dish. Garnish with fresh sprigs of rosemary.

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