Making a roasted leg of lamb seems to be one of the major feats of cooking, which strikes me as odd, especially when considering that this is something that has been done for ages and ages upon ages. Even so, it’s held as a sort of pinnacle of cookery. Truth be told, it’s not very difficult, but for some reason people confuse time-consuming cooking with complicated cooking. Here’s my recipe, inspired by many different people.
Let’s start with the ingredients:
- Leg of lamb (sort of, kind of, essential to the entire exercise) (estimate roughly 450 grams per person)
- Sage (dried or fresh)
- Rosemary (see Sage)
- Thyme (see Sage)
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
At this point, you’re probably thinking that it can’t all be done that simply, now can it? Well, frankly it both is, and isn’t. The secret is mashing up the herbs with salt and pepper (roughly equal parts) with a pestle and mortar, and then mix in olive oil until you have a sort of paste. But I am getting ahead of myself here, let’s back up…
Firstly, you’ll want a leg of lamb, with bone. Once the leg is thawed, washed, rinced and dried, you’ll want to peel the garlic, and cut the cloves in two or more pieces, depending on size. Then you’ll want to cut small pockets into the leg, into which you add a piece of garlic. Once this is done, go to work with the other herbs.
Mash the dried herbs up for a while with your pestle and mortar. Add the fresh ones, as well as a clove or four of garlic. Mash this up for a while longer, and add a good portion of olive oil, and mash some more. This should produce a thickish paste. Take your leg of lamb, now plied with garlic, and put onto some aluminum foil (enough to cover the leg entirely).
Pour your paste over the leg of lamb, and rub it in, as if giving your leg of lamb a massage. Come to think of it, give your leg of lamb a massage. Once the paste has been rubbed in, pour over a little lemon juice, and rub that in as well. Make sure the entire leg is covered, both in the herb and oil paste, and in the lemon juice.
Skewer the leg with a cooking thermometer, and wrap it up in the aluminum foil. Put the leg of lamb in a roasting pan, and put it into the oven at 175-200° centigrade/347-392° fahrenheit, and leave until the internal temperature hits 65° centigrade/149° fahrenheit. Take it out of the oven, and leave it to rest for roughly 20 minutes before carving it.
A note on inserting the thermometer: It is very important that the thermometer does not hit bone, as this will give false readings. If you feel bone, pull it out, and reinsert.
Serve the leg of lamb with roasted potatoes, salad, sauce and red wine. Enjoy!