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How To Roast a Leg of Lamb by alexey ,  Oct 3, 2014

How To Roast a Leg of Lamb

10 servings, depending on size of the leg

What You Need

Ingredients
5 to 7 pounds lamb leg, bone-in
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic
3 stems fresh rosemary

Equipment
Roasting pan, with rack
Aluminum foil
Sharp chef's knife or carving knife, for carving

Instructions

  1. Take the lamb out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking. Take the leg of lamb out of the refrigerator about an hour before cooking so it comes to room temperature. This promotes faster, more even cooking.
  2. Rub the lamb with olive oil. Set the lamb in a rack inside a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and rub into the fat and meat.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Broil for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and position a rack below so that the top of the meat is a few inches from the broiler element. Broil the lamb for 5 minutes or until the top of the lamb leg looks seared and browned.
  5. Flip the lamb over and broil the other side. Flip the lamb over and put back under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the other side is seared.
  6. Top with garlic and rosemary. Take the lamb out of the oven. Turn off the broiler and set the oven temperature to 325°F. Reposition the oven rack to the middle of the oven. Mince the garlic and rosemary leaves. Flip the lamb leg over again and rub the top with the chopped garlic and rosemary.
  7. Cover the lamb loosely with foil. Tent the pan loosely with foil to keep the garlic and rosemary from burning. Put the lamb back in the oven and cook at 325°F for one hour.
  8. Remove the foil after an hour and take the temperature. Take the lamb's temperature and remove the foil. The lamb is ready (medium-rare to medium) when the temperature is 135°F (or above). At 135°F the lamb is cooked to rare, but it will continue cooking as it rests, so we recommend taking it out of the oven at 135° for medium-rare to medium. (Refer to the cooking chart above for general roasting times)
  9. If needed, continue cooking the lamb until done. Continue cooking the lamb (uncovered) until it reaches your preferred internal temperature. Check the temperature every 20 minutes until done.
  10. Let the leg of lamb rest. Let the lamb rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
  11. Carve the lamb: Turn the lamb so the bone is parallel to the cutting board. Make perpendicular slices to the bone, angling straight down until your knife hits the bone.
  12. Carve the lamb: Cut the lamb off the bone by slicing through the bottom of the slices with your knife parallel to the bone.

Recipe Notes

  • To serve: We highly recommend serving the lamb with this mint pesto.
  • To store: Leftover lamb can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
  • Freezing tip: Jamie recommends freezing leftover rare to medium-rare lamb in slices wrapped in foil. Then, to warm them, she puts the frozen slices, still wrapped, in a 350°F oven. This will warm them and not overcook them.

Rare, Medium, or Well?

Personal preference should determine how long you cook your leg of lamb. Personally, I find rare and bloody lamb to be unappetizing. I prefer medium rare to medium — still tender, with a hint of pink. We calibrated our cooking lesson below to this stage of doneness, but consult the cooking chart below if you like your lamb done differently. I will say that such a large of cut of meat will probably have some variability; parts of the lamb leg were a little closer to medium, and others were closer to rare.

Internal Temperatures for Bone-In Leg of Lamb

All of these cooking times take into account the fact that we broil the lamb first to sear it. They also assume a resting period of at least 15 minutes, during which the lamb actually continues cooking internally. It's best, especially if you like rare or medium-rare lamb, to take it out at a lower temperature than those officially recommended by the USDA.

REMEMBER! These times are only guidelines. Depending on many factors, your lamb leg may roast slower or faster. Check after one hour and then continue roasting, checking frequently, until the lamb reaches your desired internal temperature.

Roasting Temperature: 325°F

  • Rare: 125°F (about 15 minutes per pound)
  • Medium-Rare: 130°F to 135°F (about 20 minutes per pound)
  • Medium: 135°F to 140°F (about 25 minutes per pound)
  • Well-Done: 155°F to 165°F (about 30 minutes per pound)

Roast Leg of Lamb

Roast Leg of Lamb on Simply Recipes

The most important thing to remember about cooking a lamb roast is to not over-cook it. Lamb has such wonderful flavor on its own, and is so naturally tender, that it is bound to turn out well, as long as it is still a little pink inside.

There is some debate over which method yields the best results—slow cooking at low heat the entire time, or searing first on high heat and then slow cooking. James Beard in his American Cookery prefers the slow-cook-low-heat method (he rubs the roast with salt and pepper and cooks it at 325°F the whole time.)

We generally get great results with the searing method, starting at high heat and then dropping the temp which is the method described in the following recipe. If you use searing method, you will have ends that are more well done, and as you get closer to the interior, more rare. This way you have a variety to serve to guests

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp of fresh chopped rosemary or 1 Tbsp of dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper

Blend marinade ingredients in a blender, just a few pulses until well mixed.

Lamb Roast

  • 1 (6-pound) leg of lamb, bone-in or boneless. If boneless, the leg should be tied up with kitchen string by butcher.
  • Marinade
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 lemons
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for coating the meat
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (4-pound) boneless leg of lamb, netting removed
  • Butcher’s twine
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Finely grate the zest from the lemons. (If you’re using a vegetable peeler, finely chop the peeled zest.) Place the lemon zest, garlic, parsley, and measured oil in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Stir until an evenly combined paste forms; set aside.
  3. Unroll the lamb, lay it flat on a cutting board, and remove any large pieces of gristle, sinew, or fat. Season the top surface of the lamb generously with salt and pepper, then, using your hands, spread the lemon-garlic-parsley paste over the seasoned meat. Roll the lamb back up and tie it in several places, about 1 to 2 inches apart, with butcher’s twine. Rub some olive oil, salt, and pepper all over the outside of the lamb and place it in a shallow baking dish.
  4. Roast in the oven until the internal temperature reads 135°F to 140°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the twine, carve, and serve.
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