Spring has sprung! Finally! After what seems like the longest and coldest winter ever, I’m starting to see tulips in bloom and I’ve finally pulled out my jean jacket and put my pantyhose in storage until November. I love springtime and I’m determined to enjoy it as much as possibly before the inevitably oppressive heat of a New York summer is upon us.
Since I’m in a pretty springy mood I thought I’d make the quintessential protein of springtime— lamb. Usually I take 10 minutes and just pan sear some lamb chops, but last weekend, while hanging out in Miami, someone was describing the 2-day marinating process she puts her lamb through and I was inspired to step my game up and roast a beautiful leg of lamb for my friends this weekend.
It. Was. So. Good. I hadn’t roasted a big piece of lamb since last Easter and I’d honestly almost forgotten how incredibly delicious it turns out after 2 days of sitting in a loving mixture of garlic and herbs. I cook my roast to have a seared crust and meltingly tender, medium-rare center by putting it into the oven for a blast of high heat and then lowering the temperature for a steady slow roast.
A note about cooking large pieces of meat: Most of the time they won’t be cut into the perfectly cylindrical shape that you need in order to have all of the meat cook evenly. If you really want to get the best possible roasts coming out of your oven, you’ll have to send them in all tied and trussed. I know that it often looks intimidating, but tying a piece of meat is surprisingly simple and is one of the most useful skills you can pick up if you like cooking for large groups. I suggest buying a couple packs of kitchen twine and watching this video tutorial.
This recipe asks that you keep your lamb marinating in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but if you can leave it overnight or over two nights…… *swoon*
- 3 pound leg of lamb, boneless
- 20 cloves of garlic
- 4 large sprigs of rosemary
- ½ bunch of parsley
- 6 sprigs of thyme
- 10 sage leaves
- ½ cup of olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- In a food processor, pulse the garlic, rosemary, parsley, thyme, sage, olive oil, salt and pepper together a few times until it has all been incorporated into a paste.
- Rub the mixture into the lamb, making sure to cover all of the crevices. Place the lamb into a large zip-top freezer bag. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Using kitchen twine, roll and tie the leg of lamb so that it is an even cylinder. You can reference this video for easy instructions.
- Place the lamp in a roasting pan (preferably one with a rack attachment). Cook the lamb for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to cook for 45 more minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the lamb reads 140 degrees.*
- Remove the lamb from the oven, cover with tinfoil and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Slice and serve with potatoes and asparagus.