Recipe: Leek-braised lamb with creamy mint and leek sauce

Lamb roast dinner topped with leek and mint sauce

1st November marked the start of the British leek-growing season and as the leek is a national symbol for Wales, I chose to mark the occasion by trying out a a new leek-based recipe.

The British Leek Growers Association’s website offers an abundance of leek recipes, including several created by Masterchef 2013 finalist, Larkin Cen (who now co-owns a popular Asian takeaway and pop-up restaurant in Cardiff , Hokkei) and food blogger and chef, Dominic Franks of BelleauKitchen.com

In addition, I was very pleased to find a selection of Welsh leek recipes and I eventually decided upon the leek-braised mutton with creamy leek and mint sauce, substituting the mutton with lamb because it was easier to get hold of. 

I was really pleased with how the dish turned out; the leek sauce was smooth and creamy with just a subtle mint flavour, while the cinnamon, cloves and orange that the lamb was braised in gave the meat a warming, festive flavour. I served the lamb and sauce with crispy roast potatoes and fresh veg, like a roast dinner with a twist! It certainly went down well in my house, with clean plates all round. 

Leek-braised lamb with creamy leek and mint sauce

This recipe involves gently braising the lamb with leeks, cinnamon, cloves and orange to create flavoursome, tender meat. The juices are then combined with milk, butter, flour, fresh mint, leeks and seasoning to produce the the accompanying sauce. Filling, flavoursome and nutritious, this dish would taste delicious served with any fresh veg you like.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Welsh
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

For the braised lamb

  • 1 leg of lamb approx. 3kg
  • 20 garlic cloves
  • 2 leeks washed, trimmed and cut into four large chunks
  • 1 orange quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 carrot halved
  • sea salt and black pepper freshly ground

For the sauce

  • 300 ml braising juices skimmed of fat
  • 1 litre full cream milk
  • 75 g 75g/3oz butter
  • 75 g 75g/3oz plain flour
  • 8 8 fresh mint leaves roughly chopped
  • freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
  • - 6 leeks washed, trimmed and cut into 2cm-wide slices

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/375°F/Gas Mark 5.
  2. Make 20 regularly spaced small slits in the skin of the lamb and insert the cloves. Weigh the joint and calculate the cooking time according to the pack instructions. Place lamb in a deep roasting pan.
  3. Surround the lamb with all the braising ingredients and pour boiling water to come half way up the side of the meat. Place a piece of wet baking paper over the meat and braising ingredients and cover with foil. Oven braise, adding more water if required.
  4. Once cooked, remove from the oven and set aside 300ml/ ½pt of the braising juice for the sauce, skimming off the fat beforehand. Allow the meat to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes before carving into thin slices.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Simmer the prepared leeks for 3-4 minutes, until just tender. Drain.
  6. Melt the butter and stir in the flour. Gradually add the reserved braising juices and milk, stirring continuously over a gentle heat until the sauce is simmering. Season and stir in the mint and leeks until combined.
  7. Pour the sauce over the carved mutton slices and accompany with crispy roast potatoes and any veg of your choice - I used tender stem broccoli and this worked quite well - we even had a little bit of sage and onion stuffing on the side!

Recipe Notes

Tip: try using a scoring knife to cut the slits into the skin of the lamb before placing the cloves in; a standard knife isn't always sharp enough for this.

This post was written in collaboration by British Leek Growers Association and The Rare Welsh Bit. 

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29 Comments

  1. November 22, 2015 / 9:30 pm

    Perfect meal on a plate for the winter.It looks very heart warming.

  2. November 23, 2015 / 5:18 pm

    This looks like a perfect hearty dish for winter. I love leeks, thay add a wonderful sweetness to a dish. GG

    • November 27, 2015 / 5:21 pm

      Thanks, it is a tasty, warming dish for these cold evenings! I love leeks too 🙂

  3. January 11, 2016 / 9:42 pm

    This just sounds completely mouth watering – if I could pop a fork through the screen and nab some I so would. x

    • January 16, 2016 / 10:59 pm

      Hehe, if only that kind of technology existed. Actually no, maybe I’d get too fat… haha 🙂

  4. January 11, 2016 / 10:12 pm

    That sounds amazing – I could just eat that so may be returning for the recipe soon to give it a try.

    • January 16, 2016 / 10:59 pm

      Definitely worth a go, it tastes fantastic.

    • January 16, 2016 / 10:59 pm

      Thanks Vai, glad you enjoyed 🙂

  5. January 11, 2016 / 11:16 pm

    This actually looks delicious – I’ve never really thought of using leeks in a recipe like this. When I’m eating meat again I’ll definitely be making this!

    • January 16, 2016 / 10:58 pm

      Lamb and leeks are a tasty combination 🙂

  6. January 11, 2016 / 11:42 pm

    This looks delicious, we love lamb, I never used to like leeks but have started eating them a bit more now.

  7. Working mum Blog
    January 12, 2016 / 12:10 am

    This sounds so good right now. Wish I could make it tonight. Looks delicious

    • January 16, 2016 / 10:58 pm

      It’s a lovely, comforting dish, definitely worth a try.

  8. January 12, 2016 / 12:36 am

    I am a veggie but it sounds good. I will share it with other friends who might enjoy it.

    • January 16, 2016 / 10:58 pm

      Thank you, I appreciate that 🙂

  9. January 12, 2016 / 7:57 am

    Oh gosh this sounds fantastic! Love a bit of lamb, me! We get a local Shetland one every year for the freezer.

    • January 16, 2016 / 11:06 pm

      I love lamb too, such a tasty meat.

  10. emma white
    January 12, 2016 / 2:42 pm

    This looks amazing and I am going to try it myself for sure

    • January 16, 2016 / 10:57 pm

      Thanks, glad you liked it!

  11. January 12, 2016 / 3:29 pm

    This looks amazing (if I ate meat)

    • January 16, 2016 / 11:02 pm

      The sauce is delicious; maybe you could try adding veg in place of the lamb.

  12. January 12, 2016 / 3:34 pm

    I will be trying this recipe out. Looks yummy.

    • January 16, 2016 / 10:57 pm

      Great, let me know how you get on with it.

  13. January 12, 2016 / 5:43 pm

    This is the second delicious looking lamb recipe I have seen today, Maybe it’s a sign that lamb needs to be on the menu this weekend.

    • January 16, 2016 / 10:56 pm

      Definitely. I love a bit of lamb!

  14. January 13, 2016 / 1:08 pm

    I am not a fan of lamb but my husband would love this!

    • January 16, 2016 / 11:04 pm

      I really love lamb but I find that I have to be ‘in the mood’ for it 🙂

  15. January 18, 2016 / 4:57 pm

    Oh wow that looks delicious! Definitely my kind of meal!

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