Best way to cook lamb legs and steaks in a pan

Updated March 20, 2018

A leg of lamb is a relatively inexpensive, versatile cut of meat that responds well to several cooking methods, including roasting, braising and sautéing. Market-form leg of lamb is often deboned prior to sale and butchers will further fabricate the cut into steaks upon request. It is possible to trim and butcher a leg of lamb at home; however, the equipment and environment needed -- a bone saw and a sterile at a cool temperature between 2.22ºC and 5.5ºC -- usually offset the benefits of home butchery.

Rinse the lamb steaks under cool running tap water to clear any purge released while the steaks were packaged and dry them with paper towels. Place steaks on the cutting board and allow them to reach room temperature. This promotes even cooking. Season the steaks to taste with coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Distribute 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp of olive oil over the surface of the sauté pan and set over high heat. Place the lamb steaks into the sauté pan when the oil's surface starts to shimmer. Do not overcrowd the pan. Sear for one minute on each side, or until the steaks reach a caramelised, golden-brown colour. Lower the heat to medium high. Cook the steaks five minutes on each side for medium rare, six and a half to seven minutes on each side for medium and eight to 10 minutes on each side for well done. After the initial sear, turn the steaks only once during cooking. If cooking past medium, the range may need lowered to medium heat to accommodate the longer cooking time and prevent surface burning.

Place the steaks on a plate, enclose loosely with aluminium foil and allow them to rest for a minimum of 10 minutes. Proteins reabsorb some of the moisture released during cooking while resting and redistribute it throughout the centre.

Things You'll Need

  • One leg of lamb, deboned and cut into 227-gr steaks by butcher
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Non-extra virgin olive oil
  • Large sauté pan
  • Tongs
  • Paper towels
  • Cutting board
  • Chef's or kitchen utility knife
  • Aluminium foil
  • Plate for resting meat
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About the Author

A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.