If you are a lamb lover, you must, at least once in your lifetime, prepare a whole, bone-in herb roasted leg of lamb! You will be rewarded with an impressive masterpiece that will serve many at a large dinner party.
I know you are thinking….umm, that sounds expensive. You’re right, price wise it is right up there with prime rib and a tenderloin roast beef. But if you are looking for an alternative to serve at a large group for a fancy dinner, this herb crusted leg of lamb is a great option.
You do not have to be a gourmet chef to prepare this restaurant-quality main entrée. Roasting a whole, bone-in leg of lamb is just as simple as rubbing the surface with a mixture of olive oil, mashed anchovies, chopped rosemary, and garlic. Then just roasting it to the desired doneness. Surprisingly, the salty anchovies balance out the lamb flavor without any fishy taste.
There are a few things to consider when preparing a herb roasted leg of lamb.
- Trim off as much as possible of the silvery membrane covering the leg. Your butcher will be happy to do this for you if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.
- Also, remove the flesh from the bone-end at the last three inches to expose the end of the bone. This is optional but does make a nice presentation.
- A temperature probe inserted in the thickest portion of the leg is our preferred method of controlling the temperature. Alternatively, an instant-read meat thermometer can be used. Whichever method you use, be sure the metal does not touch the bone.
- Roasting the leg set on a wire rack will ensure more even heating. Also, with a large crumpled-up wad of foil propping up the bone end will keep it level with the upper end for more even heat.
- Once the lamb reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the oven, transfer to a platter, tent it with foil and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.
There should be some drippings in the pan to make a rich, flavorful gravy to serve with slices of lamb and for some mashed potatoes. Just spoon off and discard as much accumulated fat as possible, then deglaze the pan with wine or beef broth to get all the bits and goodies stuck to the bottom. Transfer the pan juices into a saucepan with additional broth and seasonings. Thicken it up with a flour/butter paste which is a last-minute French technique known as a beurre manié.
A green salad and roasted asparagus rounded out our herb roasted leg of lamb dinner.
- Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder and Root Vegetables
- Lamb Shank Cassoulet
- Garlic Rosemary Roasted Rack of Lamb
- Lamb Sugo
- Dukkah Roasted Duck Legs
For the Lamb:
- 1 bone-in leg of lamb, (7 to 8 pounds)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 anchovy fillets, mashed to a paste
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 1 cup of beef broth
- 1/2 cup red wine
For the Gravy:
- 2-1/2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Salt/pepper to taste
- Butter/Flour mixture...(Beurre Manié) *See Notes
For the Lamb:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F
- Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and allow to sit on the workspace for 30 minutes.
- Trim the lamb of as much of the silvery membrane and excess fat but leave a layer of fat on top of the lamb as it will add flavor and a rich crisp crust. Also remove the flesh off the bone end at the last three inches to expose the end of the bone.
- In a small bowl, blend together the garlic, anchovy paste, rosemary, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
- Spread part of the mixture evenly over the underside of the lamb and place fat side up on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Spread the remaining mixture over the upper fat side of the leg. Insert a meat probe into the thickest part of the lamb ensuring that it does not touch the bone.
- Pull of a large sheet of aluminum foil and squish it into a firm ball. Place the foil-ball under the bone end to elevate the end. This will allow more uniform circulation and even heating.
- Add the beef broth and the wine to the pan and transfer to the oven. Roast for 20-minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and continue to roast until the meat probe reaches the desired doneness. For medium rare 130° to 135°F. it will be about 1-hour.
- Remove the roasted lamb to a workspace and transfer the lamb to a platter, tent loosely with foil and allow to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes before carving.
For the Gravy:
- Remove the wire rack from the baking pan and place the pan on the stove top to fit over two burners set at medium-high. Add 1 cup of the beef broth to deglaze the pan. Scrape up all bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Carefully transfer the drippings to a saucepan and spoon off the excess fat that rises to the top.
- Add the remaining beef broth, red wine and Worcestershire sauce to the saucepan, adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to it’s lowest heat.
- There should be about 2 cups of liquid for the gravy. In a small dish, add 2 tablespoons of soft butter and 2 tablespoons flour and mash together with the back of a spoon until a paste forms. Whisk the flour/butter paste into the simmering liquid and cook for another minute to thicken slightly.
- Transfer the gravy to a pitcher or dish and serve with the lamb.
- The gravy is for 2 cups and can be increased by adding additional broth, wine, and seasoning. To thicken the gravy with the Beurre Manié paste, use the following proportions: for each cup of liquid blend 1 tablespoon flour with 1 tablespoon soft butter.
- Nutrition is based on all the gravy being used
Amount Per ServingCalories 515 Total Fat 33g Saturated Fat 14g Cholesterol 6mg Sodium 631mg Carbohydrates 3g Protein 20g