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Leg of lamb -- better ideas?

So I'm making leg of lamb this Sat. anyone have anthing more interesting than the usual herb/garlic crust (rosemary, thyme, etc. -- yawn)?

I'm very open to even the most adventurous suggestion, as long as it tastes great!


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  1. You're right about the usual lamb flavorings. However, it really depends on your taste. Lamb has such a delicate, subtle flavor (at least to my smoker's tastebuds) that it's hard to deviate.

    If you don't care: spicy curry and lemongrass, or salty wasabi paste -- I like my lamb rare, so the crust is just enough to give it a nice bite

    If you do care: splash of wine and sprinkle of salt

    1. Try making it Moroccan in flavor: spice rub of cumin, coriander, a bit of cinnamon, some fennel. Try adding flavors like cilantro, preserved lemons, dried apricots, oil brined olives, parsley, ginger, and/or honey. I guess these ingredients may work in a marinade or braising liquid flavoring or as a paste to rub on the outside.

      1 Reply
      1. re: digkv

        I made lamb leg steaks tonight rubbed with garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and olive oil. I let them sit for half an hour or so with the paste on, then cooked on the grill. They were unanimously approved by the family

        I agree that cinnamon would be a great addition to this.

      2. Try some dijon mustard with pine nuts and basil to make a pesto like paste. To make lamb you CANNOT escape garlic/thyme - but you can keep it light for a subtle accent instead of the main note. Also a sprinkle of curry and tumaric and paprika will give it just a little bit of a kick.

        The other thing you can do to give the lamb a different note is the type of root veggies you use. I'm assuming you're browning it and then putting it in the oven? Try putting pears and apples along with your usual onions (a must) carrots, celery to give it a sweeter accent. (dont forget the taters!)

        Listen. Leg of lamb is all about the lamb. So the best thing is usually to keep it simple, season it well, and enjoy the wonderful bambi flavor.


        What carbs are you thinking of serving with this? You can be super creative with the sides!!

        2 Replies
        1. re: MFoxM

          I made leg of lamb yesterday. Simply by making 10 gashes in the surface of the lamb and inserting slivers of garlic in each. Seasoning with salt and pepper and dusting it with a little flour. Roasted at 325 degrees.

          1. re: MFoxM

            First of all, I would like to thank everybody for their tips! Very, very appreciated. It's true it's about the lamb flavor, but I really wanted to try something different. As for the carbs, I am planning on making a potato gratin -- one of my specialties. Veg is still open. Spinach is always a great side for lamb, I find, but hey, I am equally open to suggestions about that. Call me lazy :-D. No, call me open to new ideas! Again, thanks so much.

          2. indian lamb with spinach, one of my favorites:
            (even better if make ahead)

            1. For a butterflied leg of lamb, I like this recipe for hoisin marinated lamb from Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo....

              3 Replies
              1. re: vicarious

                I was a bigger fan of the Moroccan spice-rubbed leg of lamb on Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo.... I don't think there's anyway not to like it. The spices truly sing with the lamb. I've used the rub for butterflied and bone-in lamb, as well as on chops -- it's unbearably good every time.

                1. re: JungMann

                  JungMann, is this the archetype (ha!) for your dish:
                  the charmoula spice blend, particularly?

                  do you tweak it as some reviewers suggested?

                  1. re: alkapal

                    You get ten points for the pun. I posted my recipe for the Moroccan spice-rub, but I definitely will have to try the recipe you posted. Very interesting...

              2. A few years ago, Cook's Illustrated did a piece on leg of lamb. It involved a simple brine, a thorough trimming of all the visible fat and silver skin, and separating the large muscle groups into several smaller "roasts" which are rolled and tied. I cooked the roasts over charcoal.

                I've attached a photo of the finished product the first time I tried it. It was, without question, the best lamb I've ever made. I have the recipe as a .pdf and I'll send it to you if you want. Write me at bkhuna@gmail.com.

                8 Replies
                1. re: bkhuna

                  OMG - that looks exquisite!! I *Love* lamb. Sadly, DH does not.

                  1. re: Gio

                    Email me and I'll send you the recipe. It involves about 30 minutes of trimming the fat and grisle away from the meat but the end product is worth it. Many folks don't like the gaminess of lamb which is due to the fat. This recipe removes most of the visible fat without changing the essential flavor of the flesh.

                    I think you could serve this to your husband and he'd rethink his aversion to lamb.

                    1. re: bkhuna

                      I did - you did - and I thank you very much!! I am one who happens to like the gamey taste of lamb.. actually does not taste gamey at all to me, just different. Love the rare juiciness. My usual way of preparing it is by inserting in slits a paste made from minced garlic, finely minced Italian parsley, Romano Pecorino, freshly ground pepper. Oh yumm....LOL

                      1. re: bkhuna

                        bkhuna, i always appreciate your insightful posts. that one with the lamb loin photo was tasteeeee! thanks!

                        1. re: alkapal

                          It's not loin, it's trimmed and rolled shank end leg. Try it, you'll like it.

                    2. re: bkhuna

                      I could not remember which magazine did that article. I have been cooking lamb legs that way ever since. Very economical too, since you end up with three small roasts. I usually roast one, butterfly and grill one and use the smallest for kabobs.

                      1. re: bkhuna

                        So, I emailed bkhuna for this document, and it was very interesting. I hadn't thought of doing lamb this way before, and it was very, very good.

                        I didn't follow the directions too much, because I had a semi-boneless leg (what does that mean, anyway? there's only one femur- and it was still there....). But, I laid the leg on the cutting board, turned it over a couple of times, and it's pretty easy to discern how the muscles run- you can use your hands and fingers to work it apart about 80% of the time- and then use the knife for the silver skin and bone attachments.

                        I rolled them up- cooked 2 and froze one. By far, the best roast was the interior one, that attaches close to the bone.

                        This us without a doubt the best way I've employed to cook leg of lamb. I made the acoompanying jus, with some variations (added a bunch of mint to the reduction, which added a nice flavor), and it was lovely.

                        I would not have thought to do this if bkhuna hadn't mentioned it and sent me the document- so Thanks!

                      2. Instead of slashing it and stuffing the slashes with garlic, use standard green olives with pimentos. It's a great combination.

                        That said, however, last Saturday I got an organic, grass-fed, bone-in leg at the Union Square greenmarket from the lamb stand halfway along the west side. I roasted it in a big, heavy frying pan with just salt and pepper, and it was totally amazing. $40, but it fed two of us for three dinners. With great meat, simplest is best.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: KRS

                          Did you go to the vendor with all the white coolers?

                        2. jamie oliver has a great recipe if i remember right. check his website, he has lots of recipes on it. (think it's leg of lamb with chickpeas, yogurt and grilled vegetables)

                          1. I baked leg of lamb last night, and served it with ratatouille and baked sweet potato. The flavors of the ratatouille were a great match for the lamb. I think I might make this a regular.

                            1. I grill mine a dry rub(crust) of spices which include mustard seeds, star anise and cardamom. I find grilled lamb does not need as much seasoning as oven prepared the smoke really works magic on lamb