With Spring being sprung and Easter upon us – gosh this year is flying by isn’t it? – nothing says the transition to this new season like a roasted leg of lamb. I used to roast lamb legs a lot more often than I do now; my wife’s not the biggest fan but maybe I’ll grill her up a steak one of these days and make myself some delicious lamb.
How To Roast A Leg Of Lamb
This post is part of the Cooking 101 Series so I’ll start with the basics on how to cook a leg of lamb and finish off with my personal go to recipe for lamb leg.
Lamb like any meat you buy should come from a high quality source – that’s the secret key to great cooking:
Before you even heat a single pan, your dish is made or broken by the quality of your ingredients.
I believe strongly in the quality over quantity philosophy in life and especially food.
The Quality Of The Lamb
When it comes to red meat the important points to keep in mind:
– The fresher the better
– The more local the better
– Pastured/Grass Fed/ Free Range is critical for determining the quality of the meat, the health benefits of the meat and for the humanitarian care of the animal you slaughter to provide food for yourself.
– Organic would be nice
Boneless Or Not?
When determining whether or not to get the bone keep in mind a few things such as boneless will cook quicker and be easier to carve but it runs the risk of drying out quicker if it gets over cooked. When you add the bone to the meat you will have to add more time for the cooking and will have to contend with the bone when you carve but you’ll end up with a juicier more flavorful piece of meat.
Lamb is a delicious red meat with a very strong and pronounced flavor and therefore goes very nicely with bold flavors. You will typically find lamb paired with flavors like mint or rosemary and garlic – my personal favorite. I typically will prepare the marinade the day before and let the leg of lamb marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
Like most of my roasting I prefer to start off with a high temperature to brown the exterior then go for slow and low until the meat is melt in your mouth juicy and delicious. With a typical 7-9 lbs. roast start it off at 450 for 20 minutes then drop it to 315 for about 25-30 min per pound or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 then remove and tent in foil letting it rest for 15
minutes. This will leave you with a beautiful medium roasted piece of heaven. I highly recommend investing in a meat thermometer, it’s worth it’s weight in gold when it comes to cooking. You can search the Internet and find tons of “recommended” cooking times and that’s really all they are – a guess! There are a million different variables that could affect your cooking time so please buy a thermometer and you will know for certain when your meat is perfectly done.
Garlic And Rosemary Roasted Leg Of Lamb
- 1 7 lb. Leg of Lamb
- 4 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 tbs. Rosemary
- 1 tbs. Oregano
- 1 tbs. Thyme
- 10 Garlic Cloves, sliced in half
- The Day Before: Take a sharp knife and poke about a dozen slits all over the lamb only going about 1 inch deep. Stuff some garlic and rosemary into each pocket.
- Rub the lamb with olive oil, massaging it over the entire lamb and letting some drip into all the slits. Season the all over with salt, pepper, rosemary, oregano and thyme. Place in a roasting pan, preferably one with a rack, and let rest in the refrigerator over night.
- The Cooking Day: Take the roast out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before cooking. Pre-heat the oven to 425.
- Place the roast in the center of the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
- Lower temperature to 300 and cook for approx. 25 minutes per pound OR until temperature reaches 145 (this will give you a Medium/Medium-Rare Doneness) remove from oven and tent with tinfoil, let rest 15 minutes - the meat will continue to cook up to another 10 degrees.
- Carve into thin slices and serve.