Roasted Herbed Leg of Lamb
This is a great recipe for cooking a whole leg of lamb low-and-slow. The recipe uses the delicious herb rub for meat.
One Day Before Cooking
One day before cooking, pull out for preparation:
1 (6-7 pound) bone-in lamb leg, with the aitch bone removed (ask your butcher to remove it)
Using a very sharp knife, small small cuts across the surface of both sides of lamb every 1/2 to 3/4". The cuts should be about 1" long by 1/2" deep. These slits will help the marinade soak in and allow the fat to crisp up during cooking. Place the lamb on a rack in a large roasting pan.
Make the full amount of the herb rub. Scrape the paste into a small bowl and set aside.
Pour over lamb and massage in to infuse the meat:
1/3 cup red wine
Run the lamb all over with:
1/4 cup salt
1 T freshly ground black pepper
Work the seasoning in with your fingers, rubbing it thoroughly into the meat. Finally, apply the reserved herb rub all over the lamb, evenly coating it with a thin layer.
Refrigerate the lamb leg, uncovered, for 24 hours.
Cooking the Lamb
The following day, remove the lamb from the refrigerator and let it come to room temp, about 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 275F. Roast the lamb, uncovered, for 1 hour, until the internal temperature is about 90F when a thermometer is inserted at several points in the thickest area of the leg. Be sure to test all the way into the deepest and largest part of the muscle. Because the leg is such a large cut and of varying shape, it is a good idea to check its internal temp in several of the thickest places. Avoid the bone with the thermometer.
Remove the lamb from the oven and turn the temp to 325. When the oven has reached temp, cook the lamb for another 20-40 minutes, until the internal temp is around 112 at the narrowest part of the leg and no more than 130F at the thickest part of the leg for medium-rare. As before, check the temp in several places. Loosely tent the roasting pan with aluminum foil and let rest for a minimum of 45 minutes and up to 2 hours. The meat can rest in the rack of the roasting pan.
About 20 minutes before serving, preheat the oven to 400F. Put the lamb, uncovered, back into the oven and heat until a gorgeous deep brown color, about 15 minutes. To carve the leg, slide your knife as close to the bone as possible and cut a large peace of meat off the bone. Slice the meat across the grain into individual pieces.
Serve the lamb with fresh rosemary sprigs on a platter family-style so guests can choose the slices they like best.
This dish can easily replace ham or turkey on a holiday table.
Serves 8, generously
Recipe adapted from Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking by Naomi Pomeroy.