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Lamb Virgin

Hey all-
I've never made lamb before in my life but I've agreed to give it a whack for Easter. Any fool proof recipes out there that would be good for about 6-8 people?


EB of www.spicedish.typepad.com

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  1. Not sure what cut you plan to use, but remember this: lamb goes great with rosemary and garlic. It's also really simple to cook. You can take a leg of lamb and cut slits into it, then stuff some garlic and rosemary bits into the slits. Then salt and pepper the whole leg liberally. Alternately, you can bash up some garlic cloves, rosemary leaves, salt, lemon wedges, and olive oil in a mortar and pestle, then rub that all over your lamb. Then just roast it (I usually ask the butcher for timing and temperature instructions). Leg of lamb is virtually foolproof; it contains enough fat that it doesn't overcook badly. Good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kagey

      Hear hear. That's exactly what I do. Cut slits into the lamb and stuff with rosemary and garlic. There are plenty of complicated recipes out there but this one trumps them all.
      I usually serve with minted peas, roasted parsnips/potatoes, honey ginger carrots and of course mint jelly! yum!!!

    2. I just happened to catch the cooking demonstration on the Today show -- roasted boneless leg of lamb coated with a roasted garlic paste. My mouth is watering. Here's the link.


      1. In case you aren't aware of this, lamb fat melts at a higher temperature than beef fat. So it solidifies sooner as the meat cools. It is best to serve lamb, especially parts with fat, warm.


        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          Yes, make sure to serve your lamb dish with hot plates. If too cool there is an unpleasant sensation of the fat coating the mouth.

        2. Leg of lamb check!!! Thanks so much for all the help... I have no idea why I'm freaking out over this... it's just another protein right? One other thing.... I have a guest coming over who's allergic to rosemary (who knew?!) so that's not an option. Would thyme work? Or should I go with something else all together?

          5 Replies
          1. re: spicedish

            Thyme would work...I'd also consider Greek oregano.

            1. re: spicedish

              I've made the paste for lamb with thyme before and enjoyed it throughly. If you add a bit of grated lemon zest, it gives the spice rub a bit of the sharpness that you would otherwise get with rosemary.

              1. re: spicedish

                Thyme or oregano, as someone else suggested, would be great. Let us know how it goes.

                1. re: spicedish

                  I've been using a garlic/olive oil/herb paste that I smear all over the lamb, then wrap in plastic wrap and "marinate" for several hours or overnight before roasting. Yum! I always use rosemary (I have a big bush out front), but any of the Mediterranean (thyme, oregano) herbs would be delicious, and as someone just reminded me below, mint is traditional with lamb.

                  1. re: spicedish

                    I like to use a parsley / mint / garlic / olive oil paste on lamb (plus salt and pepper of course). I usually remove a lot of the fat before cooking.

                  2. Do a Google search for Lamb Khorma, a great Indian dish. It is usually made with lamb stew pieces first sauteed in olive oil, then add coconut milk and plain yogurt (goat milk yogurt if possible, but any plain will do), garam masala spice mix, cashews and cilantro, served over jasmine or basmati rice. I usually serve honeyed carrots on the side. My DH loves this dish!

                    1. A lamb and barley stew is one of the most rustic down-home soul satisfying meals that you'll ever eat...
                      Chopped parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin on the bowls at the last minute...

                      I recently made it, and I think this is all I did...

                      Cut the lamb into large chunks, (3") brown them well, and put aside...

                      In a dutch oven, saute a bunch of sliced onions and garlic...
                      Add the meat and the rendered juices...

                      Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the stuff by about 3"- 4"...

                      Some oregano...
                      Some worcestershire...
                      Some quality paprika...
                      S&P to taste...

                      Gently 'simmer' for 2 hours...
                      Add about 2 cups of barley and simmer for another hour +/-...

                      Add more broth or hot water at the end if too thick, depending on the strength of the flavors...

                      Really a knockout dish!

                      The textures of the soft, flavorful, giving, lamb and the creamy and barely chewy barley...
                      It ends up being like a slightly loose lamb & barley risotto...
                      And it should be loose...
                      The barley's released starch makes the soupy part creamy and silky, and the paprika gives it a delicious looking color...

                      If you feel it could benefit from a little tomato, stir a bit of tomato paste or even some ketchup into the braise...
                      I think I did...

                      The other day I added a squirt of ketchup to this country style pork rib braise with broth, balsamic vinegar, dry mustard, lots of paprika---- and I stumbled onto a home-made bbq sauce after it reduced!
                      The ketchup made a wonderful contribution...

                      I think barley is way underused...
                      Even if you don't do it now, try it sometime...

                      1. A simple way to go is butterflied boneless leg of lamb on the grill. Marinate in plenty of garlic. I like it with some soy, some citrus and some pomagrinate molasses or syrup in the marinade.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: torty

                          Boneless lamb leg usually is sold bundled in a stretch net. It can be roasted as is, but for grilling, take it out of the net.


                          1. re: torty

                            If you friend is allergic to rosemary you could try this recipe for creme de menthe leg of lamb. I've made it and we really enjoyed it. It's actually a nice change from the rosemary/garlic thing. The lamb was very moist too.


                            I raised sheep for many years many years ago and always got great recipe ideas from the American Lamb Board:


                            They have great cooking tips too. To me the only way you can ruin a leg of lamb is to overcook it. I don't serve mine "bleeding" on the plate but I don't like it overcooked either.

                          2. Lamb kababs are really easy and less intimidating (albeit less traditional) than leg of lamb. They can be very tender and there is no carving to worry about. I like to marinate them in crushed garlic, rosemary (or oregano, mint, thyme) and black pepper, and oil; thread onto skewers with red peppers, red onion or pearls onions, maybe mushrooms. grill or broil until they are medium rare and then serve over saffron rice or couscous.

                            1. The American Lamb Board? Who knew?! I'm loving the lemon zest and thyme suggestion. As for the grilling... I wish I could but I live in a wee apartment in the middle of the city... hence... no grill. The stews/khorma sound great! I think I'm going to try something more traditional for easter though. I will definitely let you all know how it goes!

                              1. This is the lamb recipe requested by my family at easter every year.
                                Honey glazed lamb roll
                                3-4 lb boneless leg of lamb (I ask my butcher to butterfly it)
                                Combine 1/2 c honey and 2T lemon juice
                                Lay the leg flat meat side up. Season with salt and pepper brush with the honey mix. Sprinkle with 2T chopped dry onion, 2T dried parsley, 2T fresh thyme, 2t fresh rosemary, 2t sage, 1t lemon zest, and 1 large clove of garlic minced. Roll and tie. Rub with honey mix. Bake 350 oven 20-25 min. per lb or until thermometer reads 145. baste every 20 min with honey mix.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: cookitallmom

                                  That sounds very nice! What does the honey do in this recipe?

                                  1. re: WCchopper

                                    The honey browns the lamb and does provide a definite sweetness. If your going to make a gravy, the drippings need to be cut with broth.

                                2. My sister and her husband raised lamb for years and it is now an Easter dinner staple in our family.

                                  I always make the dijon crusted leg of lamb, originally from the Readers' Digest Creative Cooking. Mix soft butter, dijon mustard, basil and garlic, slather on and let marinate for at least an hour. Roast at 375, until no more than medium rare.

                                  Deglaze the pan with beef stock or consomme. It is amazing with mashed potatoes and oven roasted root vegs. Oh and lots of big, strong red wine.

                                  I disagree about not serving lamb cold. This roast lamb is great in sandwiches - but it is unlikely there will be much leftover.

                                  1. While it may not have the 'wow' factor of a roast leg of lamb, 7-hour leg of lamb is one of my all-time favorite preparations for lamb, AND I have less apprehensions about getting it done just right, carving, etc. (it's meant to be cooked through, and it's so tender, it falls apart!) In my humble opinion, the compromise in elegance is far outweighed by the flavor.

                                    Below is a link to the recipe I used. Additional steps I took that are not included in the linked recipe are that I made it the day ahead so I could scrape the solidified fat off of the jus, and after reheating, I stirred a small spoonful of dijon mustard and balsamic into the jus. I always think that adding a bt of acid right before serving a braised dish helps to 'wake up' the flavors. Oh yes, and I browned on the stovetop instead of by broiler.

                                    Whatever you end up making, good luck!


                                    1. Just an FYI - whole legs run about 7-9 lb., which is too big for our family. However, the price for a whole leg is usually cheaper than a piece of the leg. I ask the butcher to cut a few 1.5 in lamb steaks off the sirloin end, wrap well and freeze and then have him bone & butterfly the remainder. Even if you can't grill outdoors, you can use a broiler. But be careful to trim virtually all the fat so you won't have a fire.

                                      1. And just fyi, lamb is normally best not overcooked if you aren't doing something like a slow roast or braise, so try to keep it on the more rare side.

                                        For quick and easy lamb I normally get a bunch of chops (although this might be tough for 6-8 people) put indian tagine paste on them and sear, then I add canned marinated artichokes, diced tomatoes, green olives and some salt and pepper and perhaps a little more tagine paste and let it cook for a little bit until the sauce has cooked down some (sometimes as fast as 10 minutes, sometimes more depends on how it looks and tastes) serve with rice and pita. The tomatoes and stuff cook down pretty quick so it is a super fast easy meal, but with 2 chops per person that would require a lot of pan.