Recipe:Herb Crusted Roasted Leg of Lamb with Roasted Garlic Gravy
This is a variation of a recipe found on RecipeZaar. Lamb has a fantastic flavor which is not overwhelmed by this strong mix of spices. This recipe is extremely easy and quite modifiable once you understand the basic recipe (brown, crust, roast, rest, separate drippings, make gravy). This recipe serves 10 moderate eaters with two or three side dishes.
- An oven thermometer (most oven thermostats are way off)
- A quick read meat thermometer (the spike kind) or digital thermocouple (the spike with wire and readout kind)
- Medium roasting pan, preferably one that can be heated on the stovetop
- Rubber spatula
- Alumnimum foil
- Fat separator
- Wire whisk
- Two medium saucepans or one saucepan and one skillet/omlette pan
- Carving fork and knife
- One 5 lb bone-in leg of lamb, preferably the upper cut (single bone)
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 10 cloves garlic, paper and woody ends removed
- 1 cup stock
- 1/4 cup wine
- 1 tbsp flour
If your lamb is frozen, defrost several days in advance. If it remains frozen on the day to be cooked, place on a plate, uncovered in front of a (relatively clean) fan, turning often, until no frozen parts are felt with a carving fork (may take several hours).
Several hours before the lamb is to be cooked, remove the lamb from its packaging, trim any excess fat and dry thoroughly with towels. Allow to air dry in the refrigerator, uncovered and on a top shelf. Alternately, you can dry with a (relatively clean) fan blowing as outlined above for about an hour, turning often. This will aid the browning process of the searing and roasting.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the roasting pan, a large pan or large pot on the stove over medium-high/high heat. Add the olive oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan) and heat until shimmering and just starting to smoke. Carefully add the lamb, fat side down, and cook until browned (about 2-3 minutes). Turn the lamb over and repeat. If desired, repeat on the sides/ends as well. Transfer to a plate, cover with a tent of foil and allow to cool about 5 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, smear the mustard all over the lamb in an even layer. Mix the chopped herbs together and sprinkle evenly over the entire surface of the lamb, pressing lightly if necessary to get the herbs to adhere. Note that you do not have to be accurate in your measurements of the chopped herbs, as long as they are roughly the same proportions (although I prefer adding a little more rosemary).
Place the garlic cloves on the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the lamb on the cloves and place in the middle of the oven and cook uncovered until an instant read or digital thermometer reads 160-165 (for medium rare).
The Resting and the Gravy
Transfer the lamb to a plate or carving block and cover tightly with foil. Remove and save the garlic cloves. Transfer any drippings to the fat separator. Alternatively, transfer to a pyrex measuring cup and use a spoon to remove and reserve the fat/oil. Add the stock and any non-fat drippings to a saucepan and begin to bring to a boil. Reserve the fat/oil. Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium high heat, add the wine and scrape off any remaining stuck bits. Blend this liquid with the garlic cloves and add to the stock/drippings. Alternatively, just add the wine and garlic cloves to the stock and use an immersion blender (make sure its immersed!). Bring the stock/drippings/wine/garlic mixture to a boil and reduce by about half. Make a roux by heating 1 tbsp of reserved fat/oil in another saucepan or skillet/omlette pan over medium heat and adding 1 tbsp of flour. Cook the roux with whisking until lightly browned. Add the reduced liquid in portions while whisking. Whisk to an even consistancy, bring just to a simmer and drop the heat to low. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and stir occasionally after this to prevent skin formation.
Carve and Eat
By this point, the lamb should have rested for about 15 minutes or so. Remove from its foil haven, carve slices with a nice sharp knife (make sure everyone gets some of the crust!) and serve with gravy. Some people also like mint jelly or various chutneys/relishes.