I made leg of lamb this evening, along with focaccia, a nice Caprese, and gratineed asparagus. Before you hit me up with marriage proposals, you gals should know that my romantic tendencies are positively bestial (and you thought this post’s title referred to dinner?!) And you guys should remember, that sort of thing is illegal in Bush’s America.

For me, the trick with leg of lamb is not the roast itself. That’s dead easy, as you’ll see in a moment. Rather, I have a hard time figuring out what to do with the leftovers. I’ll leave that post for another day. On with the roast!

Have your butcher bone the leg and tie up the meat to make a symmetric roast. Or marry a woman like Karen who knows how to bone a leg of lamb. I can’t do it. The damned thing looks too human.

Rub the lamb with the cut surface of a lemon, then sprinkle it with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Smother the roast with your favorite herb/spice mixture (more on this below), wrap it in cellophane, set it on a pan in case it leaks, and keep it in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450F. Unwrap the roast and set it on a rack over a baking dish lined with foil. Shove a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast. When the oven is ready, put the roast in. Leave it at 450F for 15-20 min, then lower the oven temperature to 325F.

My five pound roast took about two hours to come up to temperature. For a medium rare roast, remove it from the oven when the internal temperature hits 130F. Allow it to rest for fifteen minutes. The internal temperature will rise another five to ten degrees. Slice and serve on warm plates.

The spice/herb mixture:

You can do whatever you like, of course, but I happen to think there’s a reason why rosemary, garlic, and lemon work their way into most recipes. Nevertheless, I like to jazz things up and make them my own. Here’s what I did:

1/2 bunch of Italian parsley
fresh rosemary, stripped from the stems, about 2-3 heaping tablespoons
smaller amounts of fresh oregano, sage, and basil, about 1 tablespoon each
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
One teaspoon each of ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, and dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
juice of one lemon
three large garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine ingredients in a food processor’s work bowl, or a blender, and blend until the mixture is reasonably smooth. It’s okay if it is a little chunky — you don’t have to reduce it to a paste. Using a spoon, smear the mixture all over your roast, and wrap the meat well with cellophane.

Of all those additional spices, I think I could taste the mustard and cayenne. The turmeric and coriander didn’t seem to add much, and I suspect if I want to taste the cumin, I had better add more next time.

Any questions?



  1. Suisan says:

    Roast Lamb leftovers in my house were always called “Meat Sandwiches.” They were made in great quantity with butter and mustard as condiments, stacked on a glass plate, and then the whole thing was wrapped in a tea towel and put in the refrigerator. Somehow I never saw a single person eat one, but they were offered at every possible opportunity. “We have gingerale. Would you like a Meat Sandwich with it?”

    Now my husband makes curried lamb soup with pearl couscous for our leftovers. Much more appealing.

  2. Walnut says:

    Curried lamb soup . . . that’s close to what I have in mind. I’m taking it in an Indian direction, serving it over basmati rice.

  3. arp says:

    Easter lamb at my sig. other’s family’s home is boiled to death and baked into shepherd’s pie with the leftover carrots & peapods from the veggie tray.

  4. […] Last night, however, I had a different problem: what should I do with my leg of lamb leftovers? One of the main reasons I avoid buying leg of lamb is my loathing of waste. We eat perhaps one-third of the roast, and if I’m not careful, the other two-thirds ends up in the trash. As you probably know, lamb does not keep well for very long. […]