According to the recipe pre-blurb, there were clear traditional combinations of fish and meat -
anchovies with beef, oysters with mutton, crab with lamb.
Certainly there are plenty
of eighteenth century recipes
for shoulder of mutton with oysters,
though I'm not so sure about the lamb and crab.
Anyway, since you can hardly find mutton these days the recipe calls for a 3lb saddle of lamb.
They suggest either using fresh (or frozen oysters), or a combination of smoked oysters and crab-meat.
I slightly misread the recipe and bought both fresh oysters and crab-meat, and since I didn't have the quantity of oysters suggested
I used a bit of both, plus some anchovies. But I think the crab-meat was pretty unnecessary,
and the quantity of oysters excessive so I've adjusted the recipe below.
They say that if you do happen to come across a mutton you should double the amount of stuffing. And the number of guests.
Get your butcher to cut out the bones and trim the saddle so it's nice and tidy, not too fatty and will roll up prettily.
If he's as nice a butcher as mine he'll show you how to roll it up, and throw in some butcher's twine for the job too.
Though given that he'll be charging you thirty quid for the privilege I guess he can afford to!
Make sure to keep the bones and trimmings for the stock.
First, make a light stock with the reserved bones and trimmings, the stock ingredients and 1 litre/1¾ pints cold water.
Bring slowly to the boil, skim off any scum then simmer gently for an hour or so, half-covered.
Strain through layers of muslin, then simmer uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes until reduced to 250ml/½ pint.
Cool, skim off the fat and reserve.
To make the stuffing, melt the butter, add the onions and stew gently for 20 minutes until softened but not coloured.
Remove from the heat, stir in the whole oysters, or the smoked oysters and crab-meat,
then add the watercress, anchovies, lemon peel, and nutmeg.
Add as much lemon juice as necessary to form a thick paste, but not so much as to make it sloppy.
Season well and mix thoroughly.
Place the lamb, skin side down, on a flat surface and open it out.
Scatter with the thyme leaves and the slices of garlic, then spread the stuffing evenly down both sides.
Carefully fold up the outer flaps of meat, roll together and tie securely with string
- taking a turn lengthways around the joint, then repeatedly looping the log to hold it closed.
pat dry the outside of the roll
and then give it a rub with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Get a heavy frying pan very hot and sear the fatty skin of the roll as well as you can, turning it to get every bit of skin nicely browned and crisped.
Throw in a knob of butter to help build up the colour and flavour.
I wouldn't worry about the ends of the roll as they're probably too wet from the stuffing to sear without cooling down the pan.
Place the joint, with the join in the folded skin down, on a roasting rack.
Add a little
water (or stock, oyster juice, lemon juice or any other liquid you have about)
herbs too if you like, to the pan to stop any early leaking juices from burning and tainting your jus.
Mix together the mustard and port.
Gently heat the redcurrant jelly until melted -
add a tablespoon of water to the pan to prevent burning.
Stir into the mustard and port then smear the lamb with some of the sauce. Keep the pan warm.
Cook in the oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 for about 1½ hours for pink lamb (25 minutes per lb)
to just over 2 hours (35 minutes per lb) for well-done meat.
Baste with the remaining mustard and port sauce every 20-30 minutes, and add a little more liquid to the roasting tin if the jus is starting to dry out or burn.
Turn down the oven, or loosely cover the joint, if the crust looks worryingly dark or burned.
Remove the joint to a warmed platter to rest 10-20 minutes covered with tin foil.
Scrape up the sediments in the roasting tin,
pour off any excess fat then add the stock and boil furiously for 3-4 minutes to reduce slightly and heighten the flavours.
Pour into a warmed sauce-boat and serve with the lamb cut into thick slices.