A leg of lamb is an elegant and simple dish to prepare. It may sound complicated and fancy to roast a leg of lamb, but I assure you, it’s not. Lamb is forgiving, meaning it's delicious cooked well done or rare. So you can’t mess it up. You can serve lamb warm or cold, and there are many easy ways to repurpose the leftovers. Cold lamb served with Dijon mustard or French Aioli is an ideal dish for parties in the summer and for sandwiches. You'll find adding a leg of lamb to your family menu is easy and convenient.
Think of roasting a leg of lamb as making a multi-purpose ingredient to cook with during the week. Getting the lamb ready for roasting only takes a few minutes. This can be done in the evening or on the weekend. Throughout the week, you can serve lamb in various ways. Legs of lamb can be used for several meals and leftovers can be frozen. As an alternative to packaged lunch meats and other prepared foods, a leg of lamb is a cost-effective and easy option.
1 bone-in or boneless leg of lamb
6 - 8 fresh garlic cloves
Fresh ground pepper
Optional- fresh rosemary, thyme or Herbs de Provence
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Peel 6 - 8 cloves of garlic and slice the cloves lengthwise into slivers.
3. Cut 1 inch wide and deep slits into the lamb.
4. Insert the cut garlic into the slits.
5. Drizzle lamb with olive oil just to lightly coat it.
6. Add a few slices of butter on the lamb.
7. Sprinkle the lamb with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Top with rosemary, thyme, or herbs de Provence- if using.
8. Place in a roasting dish with a rack or directly in a baking dish. See notes below.
9. Roast the lamb at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce to 350 and roast 30-40 more minutes (time depends on size of lamb).
Most meats lose their flavor when they are cooked well done; however, lamb keeps its flavor even after it is well done, so it can be enjoyed both rare and well done.
Cover loosely with foil and let sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Depending on the size of the lamb, the number of garlic cloves and the cooking time will vary. Use about ten cloves for a 3-pound leg of lamb, and the cooking time will be around 45 minutes. For a 5 – 6 pound leg of lamb, add a few more garlic cloves and cook for about an hour and 10 minutes. The ends will be well done, and the center will be medium rare. If you find the lamb too rare, place the sliced lamb back in the oven for a few more minutes. It will cook quickly, so just 3 - 5 minutes more should be enough.
Roasting lamb on a rack ensures even roasting. If you don’t have a roasting rack, use a baking dish and turn the lamb once while cooking. The result will still be delicious.
Slice and serve warm with the pan drippings
Lamb served cold with Dijon Mustard, or Aioli is a typical summer dish in the south of France. We roast the leg of lamb the night before or early in the morning before it gets hot and store it in the refrigerator. To serve, remove the lamb about an hour before serving and slice.
Leftover lamb tossed with pasta makes a delicious and easy dinner or school lunch.
You can freeze leftover lamb to use in a few weeks for dinner or sandwiches on toasted bread with Dijon or homemade mayonnaise.
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