roasted leg of lamb with spring vegetables

Posted on April 17, 2012

Well, well, this post is a bit delayed considering I cooked the lamb on Easter, but it was delicious and most certainly worth writing about. Holidays around these parts mostly focus on the food and to celebrate Easter I cooked my first leg of lamb. I love lamb, but rarely have a reason to cook more than a few shanks or meatballs—being a family of two and all. This year I decided to go all out and invited 10 people plus a leg of spring lamb to the party!

I used Judy Rodger’s recipe from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. Her roasted meats have never let us astray. For this recipe, you’ll want to salt and tie the meat a day or two in advance, but it will only take about an hour to cook and rest. It is crucial not to overcook the lamb and loose the tenderness of a young lamb.

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Spring Vegetables, from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook
One 3-4 lb leg of spring lamb, off the bone
1 branch rosemary, leaves stripped off
6 cloves garlic, smashed
salt
kitchen twine

For the sauce
2 T butter
2 T flour
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 chicken broth
salt and pepper

For the vegetables
2 bunches carrots, sliced in half lengthwise
2 bunches spring onions, sliced lengthwise thinly
2 bunches beets, cut into quarters
olive oil
salt and pepper

One day before you plan to cook the lamb, salt both the inside and outside of the lamb leg. Judy recommends a scant 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt per pound of meat. I followed this recommendation and it was perfection.  On the inside of the leg, press the garlic cloves into the flesh and sprinkle with the rosemary. Tie up the leg like a typical roast. Wrap lightly in the paper from the butcher or plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Two hours to three before you plan to cook the lamb, take it out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature. This is also a crucial step. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, scrub and slice the vegetables. Toss them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange them in a roasting pan with room for the roast in the center.

Once your roast has come to temperature, place it and the vegetables in the oven. A 3 – 4 pound roast will cook for about 40 minutes. You’ll want the internal temperature to 124 degrees at the thickest part of the leg for a just-pink roast. I’d recommend you check it a few times while cooking.

Once your roast has reached the correct temperature, remove it from the oven and place on a cutting board. Tent it with foil and let it rest for 15 – 20 minutes while you make the pan sauce.

Remove the veggies from the pan and place in a serving dish. Turn your oven to warm and put the veggies inside.

Place the roasting pan over two burners over medium heat. We didn’t have much fat in the pan so we added some butter. Once the butter is foaming, add the flour and cook until light brown. Deglaze with some red wine. Add the chicken broth and let the sauce reduce until thickened slightly.  Season with salt and pepper and pour into a serving dish.

Slice the lamb into 1/2 inch slices. Serve with veggies and a spoonful of sauce. We also served mashed potatoes to sop up that glorious lamb sauce. Super easy, minimal active cooking time and a crowd pleaser.

-Emily