Thursday, February 19, 2015
Roast Leg of Lamb
1 Leg of Lamb
1/4 Cup Whole Grain Mustard
4 Cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Herbs de Province
Leg of Lamb. This dish intimidates some cooks because its a relatively expensive cut of meat, and we just don't eat that much lamb here in the States. But if you don't roast a leg now and then, you are denying yourself one of the world's great culinary traditions. Lamb has a wonderfully succulent flavor and roasting a leg of lamb is simple and virtually foolproof, as long as you don't overcook it. Yes, lamb, like a good steak, is better enjoyed on the rarer side of things.
You can usually get a nice 3-5 pound leg at even a common grocery store these days.
Just check the date--lamb can go horribly wrong if its past its date. You can do bone in or boneless. Bone in might give you a little more flavor, but its a bit more difficult to carve. Today we'll be going with boneless.
Remove it from its plastic wrap, and if it is in a webbing, like here,
Remove the web and unroll the leg.
You can see where the bone ran quite easily. We're going to spread some whole grain mustard inside the cavity where the bone was.
Then we'll roll it back up and tie it off with some butcher's twine.
This mustard will give a nice subtle tang to the flavor of the lamb, but otherwise it doesn't need much. Lamb, even the leg, is inherently tender, and needs pretty much no marinade.
Once she's all tied up, pierce the outside all over with the sharp end of a knife to a depth of about a half inch.
Slice a couple of garlic cloves into thin strips.
Insert these strips in the incisions you've made in the lamb.
Next, brush with olive oil (light or pure, no extra-virgin here, it has too low of a smoke point)
Then sprinkle some herbs de Province all over.
Heat your oven to 450F. While it is heating, peel a potato, slice it in half, and then cut it into half-inch thick crescents.
Yes, we're gonna roast some taters in the pan drippings of the lamb. They will make an outstanding side.
Place the potato slices in a plastic bag, pour in some olive oil, then a tablespoon or so herbs de Province, then shake well.
Toss the potato slices in the bottom of a roasting pan.
Place a rack over them, then place the leg of lamb on top of this.
Roast at 450 for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven to 325F and roast for around 15 minutes per pound, but to be safe use a meat thermometer and remove the lamb when it measures 125F in the center for rare, or 135F for medium. I wouldn't go much over that, as a well-done leg will be dry and tough and will have lost much of its flavor. Oh, and keep an eye on your taters. If you're doing a 4 pound roast like I have here then the hour or so roasting time should be perfect for the thick potato slices. If you've got a bigger leg, you might need to pull the taters when they turn golden brown
and continue to roast your lamb.
Wither way, pull the lamb out when it is done and let rest five minutes or so, letting the juices redistribute.
When ready, carve it in nice thick slices. It should have a nice healthy pink color in all but around the edges.
Plate and serve simply, as I've done here.
If you must, feel free to add a side of mint jelly, as that is the traditional accompaniment. But, I really don't care for it...feel it covers up the lamb's naturally wonderful flavor.
Until next time,