Roast Leg of Lamb

This feast from The Art of Simple Food (Clarkson Potter, 2007) celebrates the return of spring and the returning flavors of the season.

Serves 10

Ingredients
1 leg of lamb, bone in, around 7 pounds
Salt and fresh pepper

Method
One or two days before roasting, trim all but a thin layer of fat from the leg of lamb, then season all over with salt and pepper. If the leg is boned, or partially boned, tie with a cotton string as necessary for even cooking. Cover and refrigerate. At least two hours before cooking, take the roast out of the refrigerator and place in a roasting pan just slightly larger than the roast. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Roast the leg of lamb for 30 minutes, or until it has browned on top, then turn it over and cook for another 20 minutes, or until the underside has browned. Turn again and finish cooking until the internal temperature registers at 128 F on an instant-read thermometer. Start checking after 45 minutes; the leg will probably take about 1 hour and 20 minutes total cooking time. Let it rest for 20 minutes in a warm place.

To carve a leg of lamb with the bone in, hold onto the shank bone with a napkin or towel and cut thin slices from the large round muscle at the butt end, sliding your knife (always away from yourself) almost parallel to the bone. Turn the leg and slice some from the thinner side. The shank can be sliced perpendicular to the bone. A thin-bladed sharp knife makes the slicing a lot easier. Alternatively, cut the major muscle groups off the bone whole, and slice them in the kitchen.

Variation

Ingredients
1 leg of lamb, bone in, around 7 pounds
dried thyme
salt and pepper
olive oil
fresh rosemary
fennel seeds

Method
Rub dried thyme into the fat with salt and pepper.
When you take the leg out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature, drizzle it with olive oil and pat coarsely chopped rosemary on the surface.
Pound fennel seeds and add salt and pepper when seasoning the lamb.
Cook the lamb on a grill over a low, even fire. Baste it with olive oil, using a branch of rosemary for a brush.

Note: To keep the roast warm while resting, fold a piece of foil over it like a tent, shiny side down. Don’t seal it shut or the meat will continue to cook.

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