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Roast Leg of Lamb

This recipe is a favorite of mine, that I teach in cooking class frequently. I’ve found that many people who think they don’t like lamb love it. It’s perfect for Passover or Easter, or any other time.

Yield: about 10 servings

  • 1 whole leg of lamb, "short cut", or 1 boneless leg of lamb

Seasoning paste:

  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper or  whole peppercorns
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • 1 tsp. dark soy sauce (optional)

Gravy:

  • 1 Tbs. flour
  • 1 cup homemade meat or chicken broth, or canned beef broth

Remove meat from refrigerator two hours before cooking. If using boneless leg, you can either open it out as a butterflied leg (cooks much faster) or leave it tied. Preheat oven to 350°F. Make seasoning paste: Purée garlic, either in press or by combining with salt and working with mortar and pestle or side of knife. Add peppercorns to mortar and grind, if using-otherwise, add ground pepper. Add remaining rub ingredients to form a thin paste. Pat this mixture all over the lamb. Place lamb in roasting pan, and roast until meat thermometer inserted in thick part of leg reaches desired temperature. Cook to 125° for rare, 130° for medium rare, 135° for medium, figuring on approximately 15-25 minutes per pound depending on size for bone-in or tied boneless roast, and about 45 minutes total for butterflied, which will have some more-cooked and some less-cooked parts, since it is unevenly thick. Remove from oven and let sit for 10-20 minutes to let juices settle before serving, tented with foil. Just before serving, remove strings if tied, and carve into thin slices.

To make the gravy, spoon off accumulated fat from pan juices, leaving about one tablespoon behind. Add flour and mix in completely. Add broth, stir to combine, then bring to a boil and cook for at least 3 minutes, to the point where the sauce is reduced slightly, and has developed sheen and body. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper only if needed (canned broth is very salty!). Strain sauce if desired, and serve with the meat.