Monday, October 22, 2007

Roast Leg of Lamb

My mother surprised me and brought me a 5 lb. roast leg of lamb that I could "do something with" for dinner. While I really appreciated the gesture (and challenge) this had me pulling my hair out! I am used to cooking based on recipes . . . not buying the main ingredient first. I spent a good hour scouring my cookbooks for lamb recipes that seemed basic and used the leg of the lamb - with the bone in. I ended up turning to the well trusted Joy of Cooking. Actually, I have not made too many things from this cookbook but I figured I was making a basic roast and this would be the book to turn too.

The recipe calls for adding slices of garlic into slits in the roast - YUM! It added a really great flavor. This was fed to five people with different tastes and everyone raved about it. I did struggle with cooking time a bit because my roast was 2 lbs. smaller than recommended in the recipe and somehow it still took LONGER too cook than the suggested cooking time. But I relied on the temperature and everything came out perfect.

I chose to make a Lemon Egg Sauce which was one of the suggested sauces in Joy of Cooking. Only one person didn't like this because they were used to eating roast with brown gravy. But I thought it gave the roast a more exotic taste and besides - people didn't HAVE to add it. The meat was good enough to stand alone.

Roast Leg of Lamb
(10 servings)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pat dry, trim, and prepare:
    1 whole bone-in leg of lamb (7 to 8 pounds)
Combine in a small bowl:
    1 Tbsp. black pepper
    2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. finely minced fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp. finely crumbled dried rosemary

Rub the wide end of the leg with half of the seasoning mixture. Add to the remaining seasoning mixture and toss to coat:
    2 large garlic cloves, cut lengthwise into slivers or slices
Cut 15 to 20 evenly spaced slits in the roast, and insert the seasoned garlic slivers. Rub the surface of the roast with:
    3 Tbsp. olive oil
Rub any remaining seasoning mixture over the roast, and arrange it meatier side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Place it in the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reads 140 degrees for medium-rare, or 160 degrees for medium, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours (the temperature will rise about 5 degrees out of the oven). Remove from the oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.

Lemon Egg Sauce (Avgolemono Sauce)
(2 1/4 cups)

This favorite Greek sauce is good with lamb or green vegetables, or it can be added to soups, stews, and casseroles - anything, say the Greeks, that is not made with garlic or tomatoes.

Bring to a simmer and keep warm:
    1 cup vegetable or chicken stock or broth
Beat with an electric mixer in a bow until thickened:
    3 large eggs
Beat in:
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Beat half of the hot stock into the egg mixture, then whisk this mixture back into the remaining stock. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until the sauce is thick and creamy and coats the back of the spoon; do not let the sauce boil, or it will curdle. Remove from the heat and season to taste with:
    Salt and black pepper
Serve immediately.


esther said...

Hi, your pic looks good. I was searching for recipe in making leg of lamb, and i ended up here. Question, what if I don't add in
1 tsp. finely minced fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp. finely crumbled dried rosemary? what does rosemary do to the meat? pls reply me at thanks !

Anonymous said...

never ever ever trust cooking times. Get a meat thermometer and cook by temperature.