It wasn't until recently that I started to feel comfortable cooking large roasts. In particular, I'd always been intimidated by roasting legs of lamb, until I learned that with high-quality meat, minimal preparation is all you need for a result that's truly impressive.
Any roast requires significant cooking time, so this may not technically be a fast recipe, but it most certainly is an easy one. I prepped my massive leg of lamb in just five minutes. Garlic cloves buried into the meat, a bed of rosemary, salt, and pepper, and a bit of red wine in the pan, and things were good to go.
Timing and internal temperature are everything when it comes to this type of cooking. There is the "slow and steady" school of thought, which recommends low temperatures and long cooking times, but frankly, I just don't have patience for that most of the time. I start my roasts at a high temperature for about 25 minutes or so and then lower the temperature to finish the cooking process. One huge factor in cooking time is whether or not your leg of lamb has a bone. A bone-in roast will take more time, and you're looking for a slightly higher temperature on your meat thermometer to determine if it's done. Those factors aside, it makes a more impressive table presentation.
1 7- to 9-pound leg of lamb, bone in
1 large bunch of rosemary
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 cup red wine
Should you choose to use a boneless leg of lamb, apply the same method of preparation but adjust the cooking time slightly. For a rare to medium-rare roast, your meat thermometer should read 135°F.
- Let your leg of lamb sit at room temperature for an hour before you plan to cook it.
- Preheat your oven to 425°F.
- In a large roasting pan, prepare a bed of rosemary. Lay your leg of lamb on top of the rosemary.
- With a knife, make incisions all over the surface of the lamb, and insert a garlic clove into each. Push the cloves in so that they are buried in the meat.
- Sprinkle the top and bottom of the leg of lamb with salt and pepper. Pour red wine into the roasting pan.
- Cook the lamb for 25 minutes at 425°F then turn the oven temperature down to 375°F and continue to roast until a meat thermometer reads 145°F (for medium-rare) to 160°F (for medium), about an hour and a half.
- Let the roast sit for 20 minutes before carving.
- Main Dishes, Lamb