Mary Anne here. In my little village, leg of lamb usually carries a hefty price tag and therefore, is not a meat I work with when creating recipes for our blog. Case in point, last year, we touted a wallet-friendlier Easter Sunday Brunch in lieu of lamb, which rang in at $12.99 a pound. I was pretty sure the price would still be prohibitive this Easter, but lo and behold – my local grocer put this traditional treasure on sale for $1.99 a pound!
One catch, though. It’s a bone-in leg of lamb, meaning the flavor is awesome but the carving is, well…a bit more dramatic. It’s doable though, so don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the steps. The entire project – from creating the marinade to slicing and photographing (you wouldn’t believe how many pics I have to take!) – took me 1½ hours of actual hands-on time. For the real event, prep and carving should work out to about 45 minutes.
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Easter Leg of Lamb with Mint and Garlic
Serves 6 to 8
For a very rosy result: The lamb I prepared for this recipe weighed 5.25 pounds and took 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach an internal temp of 130 degrees. Do not even think about roasting this without a decent meat thermometer. Once the temp reached 130, I removed the roast from the oven and allowed it to rest for 25 minutes. Leaving the meat thermometer in place, the temp rose to 140 degrees, resulting in the perfect shade of medium rare meat. If you prefer your lamb more well-done, adjust the cooking time accordingly and remember to factor in the resting time as there is an additional rise in the internal temperature.
Carving: Cut one slice off of the thick end of the lamb and set aside. Holding your knife parallel to the cutting board, slice the lamb leg as close to the bone as possible, creating a long, single top piece. Carve thin slices from this top piece of the leg.
1 (5 to 7 lb) semi-boneless leg of lamb – $10.43
NOTE: Ask the butcher to remove the aitchbone (which is actually the hip bone). Trim the top layer of fat to a ¼ inch thickness. Lightly score the fat with the sharp tip of a knife. (In other words, draw lines in the fat.)
4 cloves garlic, minced – stock
1 Teaspoon sea salt – stock
1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper – stock
3 Tablespoons olive oil – stock
2 Teaspoons fresh lemon juice – stock
3 Tablespoons cider vinegar – stock
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled – stock
1 Tablespoon Dijon-style mustard – stock
1 bunch fresh mint, chopped (reserve a few sprigs for garnish) – $1.99
½ cup red wine to de-glaze the roasting pan – stock
mint jelly (optional)
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $12.42
Total Per 6 Servings: $2.07
1. Lightly oil a roasting pan large enough to hold the lamb. Trim and score the lamb fat as directed above and place in pan.
2. In a medium-size mixing bowl whisk together the garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, mustard, brown sugar, and cider vinegar. Stir in the chopped mint. The mixture will be very thick.
3. Rub the mixture all over the lamb. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 45 minutes to an hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Insert a meat thermometer 2 inches into the thickest part of the meat. Be certain it is not touching bone. Roast on the middle rack in the oven until the thermometer registers 130 degrees. Follow the directions for resting and carving as outlined above.
5. While the meat rests, deglaze the roasting pan by adding ½ cup red wine. Bring the wine to a low boil on top of the stove over a medium high flame. Stir and scrape up all of the brown bits. Serve alongside the lamb along with mint jelly.