Wednesday, November 26, 2008

get a leg up on the holidays...

nothing says, "happy holidays" like a well-roasted piece of meat (or poultry for that matter). this year will be my first attempt at cooking the holiday bird. i wanted to make sure my roasting skills were up to snuff for the big game, so i decided to roast this gigantic leg of lamb i fabricated several months ago while in culinary school.

NOTE: when thawing something this large you should always do it over several days in the refrigerator or leave it in the sink under a steady stream of COOL running water. my leg of lamb took 4 days to fully thaw in the refrigerator; it was totally worth it.

- a simple roast lamb recipe that will get you jump-started for the holidays

Roast Leg of Lamb

4-6 # leg of lamb, partially boned

2 TBS fresh thyme, minced
1 TBS fresh rosemary, minced
2 TBS garlic, minced (about 6-8 cloves)
1 TBS dijon mustard
olive oil, as needed
salt and pepper to taste

-- preheat oven to 500

1a. finely mince garlic, thyme and rosemary. reserve.


1b. PULVERIZE garlic, thyme and rosemary in a food processor. reserve.

2. combine garlic/thyme/rosemary paste with dijon mustard and olive oil to form a smooth paste. season with salt and
pepper. reserve.

3. season the leg of lamb liberally with salt and pepper on ALL SIDES. rub down the leg with the garlic/herb paste,
coating evenly.

4. place leg on a wire rack with the shank bone facing towards you. roast in a screaming hot 500 degree oven for 20 minutes.*

5. your roast should be plenty brown after that 20 minute scorcher. drop the heat down to 350 degrees and continue to roast until internal temperature at the thickest part of the leg reaches 135 degrees (for medium-rare); about 1.5 - 2 hours. be sure to baste the lamb with pan drippings every 20 minutes so that it stays moist and delicious.**

6. once the internal temp reaches 135 degrees, pull the leg from the oven and transfer to a resting rack. cover in tin foil and let rest 20-30 minutes before carving. carve parallel to the bone for best results.

* don't have a wire roasting rack? no worries. take a standard roasting pan and place it on the bottom rack of your oven. now, place the leg of lamb DIRECTLY on the oven rack ABOVE the empty roasting pan. this will promote proper air circulation that will mimic the effects of a convection oven. the juices will drop into the pan below. you can use these later to make a sauce or gravy.

**if you own a digital probe thermometer, this would be a great time to use it. situate the probe securely into the thickest part of the leg. make sure not to hit bone, as this will give you a false read.

© 2008 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -