There aren’t many times when I can ‘meat’ out recipes with lamb as the central theme, but thank goodness, Christmas is one. I have repeatedly extolled my love of this meat and during the Holidays, I love to show people just how easy it is to prepare fragrant lamb. Whether it be Leg of Lamb, Lamb Shanks or Lamb Chops, we all have our preference. If I have all day and want to use any left over juices that have accumulated in the bottom of the pan for pastitsio, I prepare lamb shanks. When it is grilling season and I have dozens of sides to choose from, I enjoy lamb chops. But when it comes to special occasions and I want to splurge and honor lamb with seasonal sides, I use leg of lamb.
Generally running about 5 lbs. in weight, you can also have any butcher at any supermarket butterfly(remove the bone) the lamb leg for you. This serves multiple purposes. You can stuff it with your favorite mix or roll it up somewhat and after you have roasted it, just slice and eat.
As I have said many times in the past, green beans are my favorite side to this meat, but with the holidays coming up, of course you should be using seasonal vegetables and recipes. Here is a great recipe using a butterflied leg of lamb which I think you will enjoy, and remember, lamb isn’t as expensive or difficult to prepare as you think. Try some aioli with lamb, they pair exceptionally well.
Simple and Savory Leg of Lamb
Are there more complicated preparations? Sure, but why complicate and dilute the awesome taste of the lamb itself?
1 leg of lamb, butterflied(4 1/2-5 lb. average)
1 T. salt
1 T. minced garlic in oil
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. black pepper
The night before, grate the rind of the lemon; set aside. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the entire lamb leg. In a separate bowl, combine the remainder of the ingredients, including lemon zest) and sprinkle over the lamb, rubbing it in well. “Roll” the lamb up tightly, using butchers string if needed, but it is seldom needed. Wrap if plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Place the lamb in a rack in a baking pan with at least 1-inch high sides, “seem” side down. Roast for 35-40 minutes for 35 minutes for medium rare. If you want it medium, cook an additional 10 minutes or longer if desired.
When lamb is cooked, transfer to a dish, then leave to rest for 5 minutes. Carve into slices and arrange on plates with the rest of your Holiday meal sides such as Aioli.
2 t. minced garlic in oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1 T. lemon juice
1/3 c. olive oil
1/4 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. mayonnaise
Stir garlic, salt, mustard, lemon juice and both oils to combine well. Place mayonnaise in a bowl and gradually add oil mixture, whisking constantly until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.