There are few meals as impressive as a roasted bone-in leg of lamb. Studded with garlic, rosemary, lemon zest and anchovies, this simple and delicious roast makes a succulent centrepiece for any social occasion. Puréed into a coarse paste, the marinade is stuffed into small incisions around the boneless leg of lamb, then rubbed with olive oil and generously seasoned with salt and pepper. Roasted on high at 450°F for 15-20 minutes, then slow roasted at 325°F for about an hour, the results are pinky perfection. Lamb, like beef, doesn’t need to be cooked all the way, and is best at a rosy medium-rare — 135°F to 140°F when finished. Whether served as part of a traditional Easter dinner or quiet Sunday lunch with family, this recipe is easy to prepare, absolutely delicious, and goes especially well with my Mother-in-Law's special homemade mint sauce!
Garlic, anchovies, rosemary and lemon zest are whizzed together in a food processor
A little olive oil can be added to loosen the paste slightly
Using a sharp knife to make small incisions in the thickest portions of the lamb and fill the pockets with the garlic-herb paste, pressing the mixture in deep with your fingers
The lamb is roasted at 450°F for 20 minutes then reduced to 325°F for 1 1/2 hours for medium rare, or until a thermometer reads 135°
Roast Lamb with Rosemary, Garlic, Lemon & Anchovy Marinade
5 lb leg of lamb, bone-in
4 cloves garlic
3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves only
1 lemon, zest only
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
Using a small food processor, blend together the garlic, anchovies, rosemary leaves, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of olive or anchovy oil until a coarse paste. Then using a sharp knife, make small incisions in the thickest portions of the lamb and fill the pockets with the garlic-herb paste, pressing the mixture in deep with your fingers. Rub any remaining paste over the top of the lamb and season with salt and pepper. Rub 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over the whole leg, then arrange on a roasting pan and preheat the oven to 450°F.
Roast the lamb at 450°F for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F and continue cooking for 90 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the middle of lamb reads 135° for medium rare. Once the lamb is ready, remove from the oven and tent with foil for 15-20 minutes, allowing the juices to retract and make the roast lovely and moist.
To serve, slice the leg of lamb onto a decorative platter and serve with Cannellini Beans with Rosemary and Sautéed Rapini with Garlic, for a truly Tuscan feast.