Roasted leg of lamb is an Easter tradition. So with a group of 11 en route, I ordered up two legs from the neighborhood high end butcher who gets them from a farm nearby. (While I will not pay extra for organic produce, the idea of well husbanded meat, raised and slaughtered nearby is attractive.) I have yet to be disappointed with the freshness and quality of well husbanded meat and poultry–the relatively few times I’ve gone for them.
The lamb legs came with the aitch bone removed, as I requested, but with the sirloin flab still attached. Good! So the first task was to tie the flap on and shape each roast. I then frenched the trotter ends of the bone. We used a marinade of mustard-based garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice, rosemary and EVOO. All lathered up, the legs were then vacuum sealed for a 24 hour stay in the fridge and to be taken out 2 hours before roasting.
Roasting instructions for leg of lamb vary by cookbook. Since we have a very good oven vent, the legs were started off at 450F for 20 minutes–each legs turned at the 10 minute mark. Heat was then reduced to 375F and the legs were turned again at 30 minutes. To our surprise the legs were done in another 30 minutes for a total roasting time of about 80 minutes. Indeed the Thermopen read 140F at the first check and 130F near the bone–ten over where I wanted it. After resting for 20 minutes they carved out medium rare with some rare at the bone and some well done at the surface. In all, these legs of lamb looked beautiful from start to finish and roasted out moist and very tender.
(Note: It didn’t exactly go as described above. I made the mistake of starting the whole roasting process with water in the bottom of the roasting pan to reduce smoking at 450F. Well of course, all the initial energy went to boiling off the water. The oven didn’t boom to the desired 450F until the pan was boiled dry, which took just long enough to make me nervous.) No harm done, but dah . . .
For the sauce (well liked): In a food processor: 1.5C yogurt; 4 spring onions chopped white and green; 1/2t of freshly shaved frozen ginger; 1 large jalapeno pepper with seeds and white removed; a whole package or bunch of mint leaves; an equal sized bunch of cilantro leaves; some salt and a little fresh ground pepper. Spin all this to smooth and then taste. It should be balanced, with equal notes of mint and cilantro. When right, pour the green sauce into a gravy boat and then fridge. Take it out of the fridge early and let it warm up a bit before serving as a side to the sliced lamb.
(Another note: Do all you can to keep the lamb very warm–hot platter and warmed plates.)