Sunday, January 12, 2014

Roasted Leg of Lamb

I once took a cooking class and part of that class was making a roast leg of leg.  Since there were about 8 students and one chef, we divided the recipes up, which meant I did not get to participate in making the roast leg of lamb.  I have had rack of lamb and helped prepared that, but I was thinking about things to cook for a Christmas gathering while walking through the grocery store.  I thought about all the mutton I ate in New Zealand.  Then I stumbled upon this awesome leg of lamb which I decided was what had to be made for my group of friends who were coming over in the not distance future.  They had all been to my house before, but their significant others had not.  I had never served lamb before, so it was decided; I would roast the leg of lamb as the center piece to the meal.  I served the leg of lamb with a variety of roasted vegetables which worked out very well in the end as it meant a bunch of preparing in advance, but then left little to be done once everyone arrive, with the exception of carving the lamb.

This is a simple recipe, which only takes time to actually roast the lamb and afterwards let it rest.  This is based off the Roasted Leg of Lamb from Richard Bertinet's cook Cook in a Class of your own.

leg of lamb (I think mine was about 6 pounds)
olive oil (4-6 tablespoons)
salt and pepper (about 1 tablespoon each)
garlic cloves, about 6, cut into quarters, but depends on how many slits you make
rosemary and thyme, fresh sprigs
red wine to make a gravy (about 1/2 bottle)

Take out lamb a little before roasting so it can warm up before baking.  I took mine out about 1.5 hours before roasting.  Preheat the oven to 375 F.  I usually do this 20-30 minutes in advance.  Rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  I sprinkle it on first to be sure I have enough salt and pepper, and then I add the olive oil.  Use enough to coat, but not drip off Cut into the skin and meat at an angle so that you can stuff a sliver of garlic and rosemary and thyme into each cut.  Place the leg of lamb into a roasting pan and place in the oven for about 2 hours (or 20 minutes per pound).  You can check the temperature so you don't over cook it (about 135 F for rare and 145 F for medium rare).  The last 30 minutes it is a good idea to cover so it doesn't brown too much.  Remove lamb from oven and let it rest on a warm plate or cutting board for about 20 minutes, covered with the foil.  When the lamb is resting, you can make the gravy.  Use about 1/2 a bottle of red wine and cook on the stove top until it has thicken a bit.  If you like a thicker gravy, you can add cornstarch.
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