Monday, January 25, 2016

An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas

An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas


Even if the weather is hot and gross and the idea of having the oven on is unbearable, sometimes you feel like some roast lamb. That’s not just me, yeah? Thank goodness for hooded BBQs! We will actually roast in the BBQ all year around, not just in summer because Lance likes to get the smoker going to flavour, well, everything. But a smoked leg of lamb is a beautiful thing, so I do not complain. I encourage! This recipe is flavourful enough to not require the smoke, but 9 times out of 10, if you get served a roast at our house, it will be smoked. You can smoke this or not, either way it is pretty spectacular.
Over the past few years, aperitivos have really come into their own in WA as we embrace the bitterness in summery spritzes. I absolutely love the citrusy fresh flavours in Aperol and Campari and the like. We have spritz weather, and a particularly balmy afternoon with an Aperol and soda inspired this recipe. The basic premise of this dish is to balance a leg of lamb atop some chickpeas, onions, garlic and Aperol so that the chickpeas will soak up the delicious lamb juices as well as the boozey liquid below as they cook. It’s important to only rub salt on the top of the leg of lamb, otherwise the chickpeas develop a hard outer shell and become tough. Season the chickpeas at the end of the cooking process. The best part of this recipe is that you can just pop it in the BBQ and leave it cooking and it’s a side dish and meat in one dish. Add a green salad and you are done for dinner, folks. You can rotate the lamb a few times if you want, to ensure even cooking, but I don’t always bother (don't salt the lamb at all if you want to rotate). Still check on the liquid levels every so often to make sure the chick peas don’t dry out. I’ve also added some diced carrots and capsicum to the chickpeas to boost the vege content and that’s also worked a treat. Any leftover chickpeas can be used in salads to take to work the next day, the Aperol scent reminding you that the weekend is no more than 5 days away!

An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas

Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas

1 leg of lamb
2 brown onions, cut into thin half moons
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dried chick peas, soaked overnight.
3 sprigs thyme
1 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
1 cup Aperol
1 cup water
Salt and pepper
Rinse your soaked chickpeas and place them in a heatproof bowl or pot. Boil the kettle and pour over the chickpeas. Leave for 20 minutes while you preheat your BBQ to 160C using only the burners on the grill side, not the plate side (alternatively, you can use your oven). Drain the chickpeas.
Spread the chickpeas into the bottom of a roasting pan. Add the onion, garlic and thyme. Pour over the wine, Aperol and water, gently stir it all together. Rest the lamb on top of the chickpeas, presentation side up and put on the plate of the BBQ (indirect heat) and put the lid down. After half an hour, turn the lamb upside-down carefully with tongs. After another half hour, turn the lamb back the right side up. Continue roasting for a further 30-45 minutes, depending on how well done you like your roast. All the while, keep an eye on the liquid level of the chickpeas. They will slowly be soaking up the liquid, but you don’t want them to dry and catch on the bottom, add a little extra water if necessary.

When the lamb is done, remove it from the chickpeas and set aside on a warm plate, tented in foil to rest for 20 minutes. Pop the lid back down on the BBQ, keeping the chickpeas cooking in this twenty minutes, the liquid should evaporate, leaving a sticky gravy-like onion mixture and the chickpeas should be soft. Season to taste, and serve a pile of chickpeas with a few slices of roast lamb and a green salad.

An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas