Roasted milk-fed leg of lamb with pissaladière tart

Roasted milk-fed leg of lamb with pissaladière tart

William Meppem

Milk-fed lamb is one of those ingredients that rightfully causes much excitement. Its delicate meat and soft texture make an excellent contrast to this classic Provençale tart – heavy with caramelised onions, anchovies and good-quality olives. We cook the tarts in our wood oven, like pizza, and the lamb on the rotisserie. We serve a whole leg for two or more to share. The Victorian season for milk-fed lamb is August–December; the lambs should weigh about 6–8 kg but some are even smaller as the ewe’s milk is required for cheese. If you have difficulty finding milk-fed lamb, spring lamb is a great alternative. It is excellent when accompanied by Braised Peas, Fetta and Oregano .


Quantity Ingredient
50ml olive oil
1 1 1/2 kg tunnel-boned, trussed milk-fed lamb leg, with shank left on
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
4 garlic cloves, grated
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
1 fennel bulb
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
1 bunch rosemary
2 star anise
500ml madeira or sweet sherry
1 litre Lamb stock
50g butter


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Red onion jam
1 quantity Pizza dough
1 tablespoon olive oil
40 good-quality anchovy fillets
40 good-quality pitted black olives


Quantity Ingredient
150g fresh broad beans, podded, cooked and skinned
50ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch small-leaved basil


  1. Prepare the red onion jam and pizza dough for the tarts.
  2. Divide the pizza dough into pieces the size of mandarins. Flour the work surface and brush individual 16 cm diameter pizza trays lightly with olive oil. Roll out the dough into circles about 15 cm in diameter and 1⁄2 cm thick, and place on the pizza trays. Press down and out, to ensure the dough is the same shape and size as the trays. Spoon 50 g of the cold onion jam over each tart and spread it flat, leaving a 1 cm border around the edge.
  3. Cut the anchovy fillets in half and arrange in a criss-cross pattern over the top of the tarts. Arrange black olives in between the anchovies. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow the dough to prove somewhere warm for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  5. Heat a large frying pan with olive oil over a high heat and seal the lamb leg all over until golden-brown. Remove from the pan. Combine the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, chopped rosemary and seasoning, and pour all over the lamb. Put the vegetables, bunch of rosemary and star anise in the base of a roasting tray. Place the lamb on top and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, basting with extra-virgin olive oil and rosemary every 10 minutes. If the pan appears to become dry during cooking baste the lamb with a little madeira or sweet sherry. After 25 minutes the lamb should be cooked to medium–rare; if you prefer your meat well done, continue to roast for another 10 minutes or so.
  6. Once the lamb is cooked, transfer it to another tray and allow to rest. On the stovetop deglaze the roasting tray with madeira or sherry, stirring all the sediment from the base of the pan. Then boil and reduce to a syrup. Add the lamb stock and simmer over a low heat until it has reduced to a light sauce, for about 15 minutes. Then add the butter, season to taste and bring to the boil. Pass through a sieve and keep covered until required.
  7. While the sauce is reducing, bake the pissaladière tarts at 200°C for 6 minutes, until golden and crisp.
  8. To serve, add the broad beans to the sauce. Carve the lamb and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon the sauce all over the lamb, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and scatter some basil leaves over the top. Serve with the hot tarts, one on each individual serving plate, scattered with the remaining basil and extra-virgin olive oil.

Chef’s note

  • These tarts work well with all cuts of lamb. As well as the braised peas, you can serve the lamb with Forestière Potatoes or Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
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