Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Roasted Leg of Lamb

I admire vegetarians for their dedication and discipline to not eat meat. I can't do it. I love meat! Depending on the day, I might say lamb is my favorite, but I might just as easily say pork. It's hard to choose. I roasted a 2.5 pound boneless leg of lamb for the first time and it came out juicy and delicious (not to mention the glorious smells it filled the house with).

I used this recipe from Martha (yes Stewart, which Martha did you think silly?!) as a starting point. I just altered the measurements and cooking times to account for my smaller lamb and the fact that mine was without bone. I also added some lemon zest in the final step (when you put potatoes and olives in oven). I accompanied mine with a yogurt based sauce that had lemon juice, mint, dill, and salt. You could also use a store-bought tzatziki sauce. I love this recipe because it calls for small red/new potatoes that you don't even have to peel, because the skins are so thin and tasty. I substituted the olives in Martha's recipe with 1/4 pound of mixed Greek olives from my groceries deli section.

The main suggestion I would give if you are cooking a smaller portion of meet or one that is boneless like I did, is to pay close attention to cooking time and temperature...the last thing you want is tough, juice-less meat. Yuck! Martha's 5-6 pound, bone-in meat takes 4 hours to cook. My 2.5 pound, boneless meat only took about an hour to cook off in the oven after the initial sear on the stove. To ensure a juicy, medium rare lamb, I put a digital timer into my meat after 30 minutes in the oven and set a timer to go off at 140 degrees. 140-150 degrees is considered medium rare for lamb. If you don't get your potatoes or olives in the dutch oven (or roasting pan if you don't have a dutch oven) in time for them to cook before you have to pull out your meat, you can always continue cooking them on the stove while your meat rests. That is what we did and the timing was perfect!

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