Leg of lamb is a straightforward meal, regardless of a cook's level of skill. Lamb will withstand a wide range of cooking techniques, while still remaining juicy and tender even if somewhat overcooked. For novices or the time-challenged, a boneless leg is more convenient to work with, since it cooks more quickly and lends itself to a wider range of preparations.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic, rosemary or other flavourings (optional)
- Roasting pan
- Meat thermometer
- Sharp knife
- Kitchen twine
- 3 or 4 heavy-bottomed skillets
- Grill tray
Season the rolled, boneless lamb with salt, pepper and additional flavourings such as garlic or rosemary as desired. Roast in a hot oven at 204 to 218 degrees Celsius for 75 to 90 minutes.
Remove the lamb from the oven when its internal temperature is 125 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit for rare, or 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare to medium. The lamb will continue to cook for 10 to 20 minutes after it is removed from the oven.
Cut the string tying up the leg and unroll it, exposing the cavity left from removing the bone. Season the inside of the meat and fill the bone cavity with your favourite stuffing. Re-roll and tie the lamb with kitchen twine and roast it according to your favourite recipes.
Butterfly the lamb by cutting the string and unrolling it as before. Cut through the largest group of muscles horizontally and open it up to make a single sheet of lamb meat that is reasonably uniform in thickness. If you wish to save a step, ask your butcher to butterfly the lamb for you.
Season the butterflied lamb inside and out. Grill it on a gas or charcoal grill until done, usually 15 to 20 minutes depending on its size and the desired degree of doneness.
Trim the seasoned, butterflied lamb into three or four pieces that will fit into skillets. Sear each one in a hot skillet, then reduce heat and cook, turning once, to the desired doneness.
Place the seasoned, butterflied lamb on your range's grill tray. Broil on the low setting, on the middle rack of your oven, until the lamb reaches the desired degree of doneness.
Tips and warnings
- Lamb varies widely in quality, so try several brands and suppliers. Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine is heavily centred around lamb, so if you have any speciality shops in your area they are a good place to turn for recommendations.
- If you want a smaller roast, you may be offered the choice of the sirloin end of the leg, or the shank end. The shank end is chewier but flavourful and is best for slow-cooking. The sirloin end is more tender and better suited for the cooking techniques listed here.
- Clean and sanitise any surfaces or tools that have come into contact with the uncooked lamb.
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- "On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals"; Sarah R. Labensky et al.; 2003
- Food Network: Lamb Guide and Recipes
- Epicurious: Roast Leg of Lamb with Mint, Garlic, and Lima Bean Purée
- Fine Cooking; Grilled Herb-Crusted Leg of Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce; Tony Rosenfeld; July 2007
- Food Network; Herb-Roasted Lamb Recipe; Ina Garten; 2002
- Food Network; Grilled Leg of Lamb; Tyler Florence; 2008