This classic roast leg of lamb recipe is flavored with a simple rub of garlic and rosemary. You're going to roast it at a high temperature for a short time, to brown the exterior, and then finish cooking it at a lower temperature so that it stays juicy.
If you want to know how to trim and tie a leg of lamb, or what to ask for if you're having your butcher do it, see How to Roast a Leg of Lamb. Basically, you're looking for a semi-boneless leg of lamb, which means it's had the hip bone and the hinge end of the shank bone removed, leaving only the lower part of the shank bone, and then tied into a compact roast so that it cooks as evenly as possible.
You'll almost certainly want to serve your leg of lamb with its traditional sauce companion, and this tangy mint sauce for lamb takes just a few minutes to make.
- 1 semi-boneless leg of lamb (see above), trimmed and tied (about 6 to 8 pounds after trimming)
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, cut into slivers
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- About 40 minutes before you want to begin cooking, take the lamb leg out of the fridge and place it on a cutting board.
- With a sharp paring knife cut small, shallow slits all over the roast, and insert a sliver of fresh garlic into each slit.
- In a small bowl, combine the oil, chopped rosemary leaves, salt and pepper, and stir to form a paste. Rub this paste all over the roast.
- Now just let the roast sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. With about 10 minutes to go you can pre-heat your oven to 450 F.
- When you're ready to roast, set the leg of lamb in a roasting pan with a rack, with the meaty side up. Insert a meat thermometer or a digital probe thermometer into the deepest part of the meat, being careful not to hit bone. If you're using a digital probe thermometer, set it to alert you when the meat hits 130 F.
- Pour about half a cup of water into the bottom of the pan, and transfer it to the oven.
- Roast for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 325 F and roast until the meat's internal temperature reaches 130 F, which will be another hour to an hour and 20 minutes, depending on the size of your roast.
- Take the lamb out of the oven, cover it with foil and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.
- Transfer the roast to a cutting board, meaty side up. Carve the top side of the roast into thin slices, slicing toward the bone on a bias or slight angle. Then flip the roast over and repeat for the bottom half. Serve with mint sauce.
Also see: Roasted Rack of Lamb