Roasted leg of lamb has a number of advantages beyond being tasty. It tends to not take as long as you would think given the average size of this cut of meat. It feeds a crowd and is pretty forgiving. The other bonus is that it produces slices of meat with varying levels of doneness so if you enjoy rare meat, it’s there. Likewise, if you prefer your lamb on the medium or medium rare side, the leg provides slices at that temperature too. I think a lot of people might get a bit intimidated with the leg of lamb because of both the size of the meat as well as the perceived time it takes to cook. The good news here is that it really doesn’t take longer than a traditional roast pork or beef. I started it at a very high oven temperature and allowed it to cook for about 20 minutes and then lowered the temperature, removed it from the oven, and rubbed it all over with the garlic and herbs before returning it to the oven at a much lower temperature to finish cooking for about an hour.
1 Whole leg of lamb
3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
3 Tablespoons fresh sage, minced
5 Cloves of garlic, minced
Cracked black pepper
- 1.5 hours prior to roasting, remove leg of lamb from refrigerator to come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Once the lamb has come to room temperature, dry it off with paper towels. It needs to be completely dry.
- Take a couple tablespoons of olive oil and rub all over the roast. Liberally coat the lamb with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Place lamb in rack of a roasting pan.
- Place a piece of foil around the exposed bone so that it fits snugly. This will preserve the white color of the bone while roasting.
- Place roast in oven and roast 15-20 minutes, checking every five minutes or so to ensure it is not burning. A little smoke is natural…any more remove from the oven, turn the temperature down to 425 and continue. Once the roast is nicely browned (about 20 minutes), remove from oven and turn temperature down to 325 degrees.
- While the oven temperature reduces heat, rub the minced garlic and herbs all over the roast so that it is evenly coated all over. Loosely tent with foil and return it to the oven.
- Roast for 45 minutes and then remove the foil.
- Roast an additional 15 minutes or so for rare or 30 minutes for medium. If you are using a meat thermometer, 120 degrees for rare to 140 degrees for medium. Remember, even if you cook the lamb rare, there will be pieces on the upper leg that are cooked to a medium or medium rare temperature.
- Remove lamb from oven and allow to sit 30 minutes to an hour tented loosely with foil.
Once rested, move to a cutting board and carve. Serve while warm or at room temperature.
Craig Thiebaud is a Diplomat of Classic Culinary Arts at the International Culinary Center (formerly The French Culinary Institute) located in SOHO in New York City. After extensive training in the Art of French cooking and professional food preparation in general, he brings his knowledge of food and passion for cooking to us by sharing culinary techniques and creating recipes that mainly use local, seasonal ingredients and can be easily recreated in the home kitchen. Good, wholesome meals for the family can be created quickly with planning, using the best techniques with the best ingredients that are both affordable and available. Let's get back into the kitchen together!
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