Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Roast Leg of Lamb
Lamb is a completely new food for me. (Both the cooking of it and the eating of it. I don't recall ever trying it before this.) Our CSA from Double Check Ranch offered a lamb roast as an option a couple weeks ago. I couldn't resist trying it.
I wanted to use a very simple lamb recipe. Everything mention I found online kept referring back to James Beard. In his book, The Fireside Cook Book: A Complete Guide to Fine Cooking for Beginner and Expert, He gives very simple directions for cooking Leg of Lamb. I found the directions on Epicurious and decided to make this as classically as possible.
I was concerned with drying out the meat, because every single person I spoke with talked about how they either loved or hated lamb. For those who do enjoy the flavor, they commented that great lamb could be destroyed easily by overcooking it, causing it to be tough and chewy meat. The key to this recipe is removing the roast from the oven before it registers higher than 135 degrees. The roast will continue to rise a few more degrees as it rests after cooking. The goal is perfectly medium rare meat.
My husband declared this the best lamb he has ever eaten. The meat was almost tender enough to cut with a fork and it was perfectly moist. In the interest of honesty, I'll admit that my kids and I were not fans of it. I will likely pass on the lamb options next time and stick with the beef that my entire family loves already.
Roast Leg of Lamb
recipe by James Beard via Epicurious
2-5 pound leg of lamb, well trimmed and fat removed (my roast was just over 2 pounds)
freshly ground black pepper
Equipment needed: Internal Meat Thermometer
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a shallow pan with foil and set a baking rack inside it. (My roast was quite small and I was able to set a small cooling rack on a quarter sheet pan.)
Trim any excess fat or membrane off of the lamb and then rub well with black pepper and just a touch of rosemary. Place it on the baking rack and roast in the oven until it reaches 130-135 degrees. When the roast reaches 120 degrees, salt it well and place back in the oven. (I simply reached into the oven and salted mine there. Feel free to play it a little safer than I did.)
I roasted mine fairly cold from the refrigerator and it took about 1 1/2 hours to reach 133 degrees. Remove from the oven and let rest about 10 minutes before carving. Enjoy!