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Traditional Easter Leg Of Lamb Recipe

Nunzio Mar 22, 2009 07:25 AM


Easter is at my house this year. We have about 30 in my family. The menu is a traditional Italian Easter menu that never changes. It starts with a cold Antipasto, Then Monicotti, meatballs sausages, a turkey, leg of lamb, eggplant parm, sausage with cippolini onions, baby artichokes, broccoli rabe, baked potatoes and sweet potatoes, salad, bread, Pizzagaina, fruit, Italian pastries and cookies, and other deserts Everybody brings something, all I have to make is the Lamb. Can someone please send me a recipe for a traditional (nothing fancy) Easter roast leg of lamb? Any tips, suggestions etc would be greatfull Thank You

  1. HaagenDazs Mar 22, 2009 07:35 AM

    Recipes are for cakes.

    This lamb can be as simple as throwing some salt & pepper on the leg and tossing it in the oven. If you want to start adding things like garlic and rosemary then you are still on the right track, just don't over complicate things. Remember, you don't want to take crappy ingredients and dress them up. What you want is quality ingredients with minimal fuss. Simplicity is key.

    1 Reply
    1. re: HaagenDazs
      Infomaniac Mar 22, 2009 07:49 AM

      I agree....a simple seasoning of salt and pepper, and maybe some allspice is what I like. I like to make 2 or 3 gashes (1" deep and 1/2" long) on each side of the leg, sprinkle a pinch of seasoning in each hole and then push in a piece of a quartered garlic clove in. Also like to brown the leg all sides first in hot shortening before roasting covered in a cup of tomato juice.

    2. h
      Harters Mar 22, 2009 09:35 AM

      Roast leg of lamb is also our usual Easter-time dinner. It's also the one time that we would never consider doing anything other than a plain straight-forward roast. A simple gravy, some new potatoes (Jersey Royals if Easter is late and they are out), whatever new veg is around (probably purple sprouting broccoli) and mint sauce (if it's growing in the garden yet). A very simple, easy and delicious meal.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Harters
        Nunzio Mar 22, 2009 11:39 AM

        So it's salt pepper garlic and rosemary. Should i get a boneless leg or have it boned. Should it be butterflied? Do you unroll it to add the herbs? Should I make a pan gravy?

        1. re: Nunzio
          HaagenDazs Mar 22, 2009 01:12 PM

          Bone in = more flavor.

          Boneless = easier slicing.

          Do not butterfly it unless you want to cook it quickly on the grill, for instance. Do know, however, that cooking it on the grill as a whole leg as opposed to in the oven is a great way to prepare it. Be sure that you're cooking over indirect heat... you don't want to char the whole thing. ;-)

          If it is boneless, by all means add a paste of garlic, herbs (rosemary or whatever you like), and olive oil on the inside and re-tie the roast.

          I would stay away from a heavy Thanksgiving-style "gravy" but a nice red wine pan sauce is a great idea.

          1. re: Nunzio
            MakingSense Mar 22, 2009 02:17 PM

            BTW, don't even think of discarding that bone from the leg of lamb.
            It makes the best pot of cannellini with rosemary! I sometimes stick it back in the oven to brown a little more before using it. The broth that it makes is wonderful with the beans!

            1. re: MakingSense
              HaagenDazs Mar 22, 2009 02:31 PM

              Great point. Never waste something like that! ;-)

              With that said, if you do indeed BUY it boneless, you can always ask the butcher if they have any reserved bones leftover for purposes like MakingSense mentioned.

        2. l
          Lenox637 Mar 22, 2009 03:14 PM

          salt, pepper, rosemary and lavender... bone in with a little olive oil

          5 Replies
          1. re: Lenox637
            Jane917 Mar 22, 2009 04:47 PM

            How much lamb to you buy per person?

            1. re: Jane917
              HaagenDazs Mar 22, 2009 04:59 PM

              How hungry are you? What sides are you having? Bone in or boneless?

              Sorry, but you've got to be a little more specific. Weight can range from approximately 1/2 to 1 lb per person.

              1. re: HaagenDazs
                Jane917 Mar 22, 2009 05:18 PM

                Sorry I didn't offer more information. I will probably look for bone-in. Haven't thought about sides, but probably roasted veggies, salads.

                1. re: HaagenDazs
                  coll Mar 22, 2009 06:05 PM

                  I've been buying bone-in recently, it's very impressive looking. I marinade in lots of lemon juice, oil and vinegar, and salt, pepper, garlic powder, mint, paprika, that type of seasoning.
                  They usually weigh up to 6 lbs, but you end up with only maybe 3 lbs of meat for some reason. So far the neighbor's dog has been getting the bone, and he is very appreciative. The bone is very big, compared to bones from other roasts, at least to me.

                2. re: Jane917
                  Harters Mar 23, 2009 03:24 AM

                  We always buy bone-in for roasting and, for the two of us, look for around a kilo. Normally leaves enough for a sandwich next day.

              2. kchurchill5 Mar 22, 2009 05:04 PM

                I like bone out, just for the ease of slicing, but bone is does my flavor. I still get the bone removed and then rub with olive oil in and out. Then I make a rub with rosemary, lemon, salt and pepper, garlic and just a little dijon mustard. I let it sit over night with the rub on it and then roast. I really enjoy the mustard on it.

                And pretty much in concensus with everyone if anything I like a to use a red wine, a little fine chopped shallot reduced with the drippings and add a little butter to thicken and nothing more.

                My mom like a yogurt sauce. Mix 1/4 plain yorurt, 1 teaspoon garlic minced s/p, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 2/3 cup fine chopped mint. Optional a dash of cayenne if you like a little heat, I don't for this sauce, but mom does.

                My favorite is the wine, but they are two different ways to eat it.

                1. Nunzio Mar 30, 2009 05:04 PM

                  OK so your favorite leg of lamb recipe is?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Nunzio
                    BerkshireTsarina Mar 30, 2009 06:43 PM

                    I hate to sound dumb and basic, but that's the level I'm at. What temp oven? How long per pound? What temp do you cook it to, and how do you like your lamb? I've never had anything but disasters, I'm roasting-challenged. And I LOVE leg of lamb. I just can't make it! Any specifics appreciated.

                  2. Axalady Mar 30, 2009 07:35 PM

                    Everything you always wanted to know about lamb (but were afraid to ask) :


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Axalady
                      BerkshireTsarina Mar 31, 2009 09:35 AM

                      What a great website! Thx ----

                    2. Nunzio Mar 31, 2009 11:39 AM

                      I ordered my leg of lamb today from Barth's Meat Market in New Providence NJ.
                      I went with boned and rolled. My Wolf oven says convection roast at 325 til 145 for medium rare. Butcher says it will be about 7 lbs. Should I untie it to season it? Salt pepper rosemary garlic olive oil. What do you think?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Nunzio
                        Diane in Bexley Mar 31, 2009 12:07 PM

                        N, have been roasting leg of lamb (bone in & bone out) for 25 years. If you have a convection oven (as I do), I like to start at 425 for 15-20 min to brown exterior, reduce to 375. Med rare to me comes out at 125 and rests for 15-20 min before carving. Seasoned with EVOO, lemon zest, garlic and fresh or dried rosemary. Cut up some red or Yukon gold potatoes, slather with same seasoning, and stick in with roast in one layer with room to spare (so they will brown). Turn potatoes occasionally, yum yum!

                        1. re: Nunzio
                          kchurchill5 Apr 1, 2009 09:49 AM

                          I cook mine as Diane below mentioned. I do season mine well and I marinade my overnight. I roast and then let set.

                          I like my potatoes on the side vs with the lamb, just personal taste. I usually roast potatoes, mushrooms and brussels sprouts. I love it. I usually make my sauce for the lamb a good fresh salad (market fresh) anything that looks good in season and a good crusty stuffed bread.

                        2. j
                          jujuthomas Mar 31, 2009 01:44 PM

                          a very timely post - i just bought my first boneless leg of lamb yesterday! thanks for all the great info.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jujuthomas
                            Nunzio Mar 31, 2009 03:37 PM

                            How you going to cook it?

                            1. re: jujuthomas
                              Infomaniac Mar 31, 2009 05:48 PM

                              nothing wrong with cutting that leg up into shish kebabs and skewering with some green peppers and onions. cook over charcoal if possible.

                            2. Karl S Mar 31, 2009 06:15 PM

                              A couple of pointers.

                              1. If you want a boneless roast leg of lamb, the best approach is by Judy Rodgers in the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. It involves getting the leg boned in a special way - corkscrewed, where the butcher has to work the knife around the joint and twist the bone out - and it does produce immensely superior results, because you can then tie up the leg into a much more even lump of meat than butterflying. Meat cutters - who impersonate butchers - may not know how to do this. The Zuni recipe involves careful removal of fat and silverskin, and salting and seasoning 3 days ahead. It was by far the best oven-roasted leg of lamb I've made - but I should not have been surprised, because Ms Rodgers is a technical goddess and muse.

                              2. For butterflied legs, marinating and grilling is what I prefer and grew up with. Customarily, we'd start the marinade on Good Friday, with olive oil, lemon (juice and rind) and red wine and lots of garlic, onion, thyme, marjoram and oregano (if you you rosemary, only use fresh) salt and black pepper, et cet. I feel compelled to note that Madeleine Kamman is correct when she explains that wine-based marinades are best when cooked and cooled completely before using (cooking significantly mutes the off-flavors produced by raw wine in marinades), but I don't always do what's best....

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Karl S
                                kchurchill5 Apr 1, 2009 09:52 AM

                                Question ... mine is a wine based marinade and I have never cooked and cooled. Going on 30 years of cooking lamb and not once did that. Have you tried it and does it work.

                                Interesting theory just curious. I never had a bad flavor. Never used marjoram either but I use garlic, lemon, rosemary, usually always fresh, s/p and olive oil is my rub and marinade. But many different marinades and techniques.

                                1. re: kchurchill5
                                  Karl S Apr 1, 2009 10:47 AM

                                  After reading Madeleine Kamman's discussion of this issue in The New Making of A Cook (which contains much valuable technical wisdom and is a worthy addition to any cookbook collection), I tried her cooked wine marinades and they were indeed superior in results. But as I note, I don't always do what's best, so I don't always follow that approach.

                                  1. re: Karl S
                                    kchurchill5 Apr 1, 2009 11:19 AM

                                    Fair enough, just was curious if it really worked. I've always just poured it in a pan rubbed the lamb and let set but never tried it differently. Had a couple of different marinades here and there but always go back to the original. I do prefer rack of lamb which I make quite often. So easy and simple. Sams put them on sale and I can't pass them up. A little mustard, rosemary and olive oil and roast. 30 minutes or less dinner. The absolute best.

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