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Butterflied leg of lamb with salsa negra



Butterflied leg of lamb, means quick, easy cooking, that is as flavourful as cooking on the bone for much longer. Salsa Negra is a sweet, smoky paste made from fried chipotle chillies soaked in a muscavado brown sugar syrup and then reduced to a thick paste. Hot, smoky and sweet and is divine! Rubbing Salsa Negra on lamb before roasting, makes for a tasty crust that pares well with a tart mint sauce. The Salsa Negra recipe will make much more than you need for the lamb, but it stores very well in the fridge, just add it by the teaspoon to your favourite dishes, like beans, soups, sauces and marinades.


  1. Pre heat oven to 220°C Fan.
  2. Season the lamb with salt and leave for 30 minutes. 
  3. Place the lamb in a roasting tray and rub with oil and put into the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
  4. When the time is up, remove from the oven and turn the oven down to 190°C Fan. 
  5. Spread 70-80g of the salsa negra over the top side of the meat with a brush. 
  6. Put the meat back in the oven for 10 minutes, remove and if desired blow torch the exterior for crisp charred bits. 
  7. Let rest for 10 minutes loosely covered with foil. 

Salsa Negra 

  1. Add the sugar and water to a pan and simmer until the sugar dissolves, take off the heat and put to one side.
  2. To a hot frying pan add the garlic, shake the pan occasionally so that the cloves cook on all sides, once cooked set aside to cool, then peel and reserve.
  3. Add oil to the same frying pan and when shimmering, fry the chillies for 30 seconds, if necessary work in batches, 
  4. As the chillies fry remove them with a slotted spoon, add them to the sugar water, when all the chillies have been fried, keep them submerged under the sugar water with a small saucer, for 30 minutes.
  5. Reserve the frying pan and its oil for frying off the puree later.
  6. Once the chillies are re-hydrated, place the sugar water, chillies and the garlic into a jug suitable for a stick blender, blend until as smooth as possible. 
  7. Heat the pan with the oil and add a bit more oil, if needed, you are looking for 1 tbsp of oil.
  8. Once the oil is hot, scrape in the puree, it will splutter, but keep stirring as want to fry the puree for a minute or so then turn down the heat.
  9. Cook the puree, stirring constantly until it is black and thick for about 8 minutes. 
  10. Add the salt, cook for another minute or so
  11. Once cooled down, refrigerate and you use as needed.