The ultimate Mediterranean-style leg of lamb recipe! Leg of lamb covered in a rub of fresh garlic, Mediterranean spices, olive oil and lemon juice. Roasted with potato wedges and onions. Even better over a bed of Lebanese rice!
Where I come from, leg of lamb might as well be the official regional meat. It makes a fairly regular appearance for big suppers, family gatherings, Easter, and every occasion in between.
My mother-in-law, a master of the Jordanian kitchen, makes the best leg of lamb. But since we moved a few years ago, it’s been up to me to provide the “celebratory” lamb roast. And after some–or a lot of–experimenting, I have come to this leg of lamb recipe that is now my family’s Easter roast.
Before we jump to the leg of lamb recipe, here are a few tips:
- For best results, purchase high-quality bone-in leg of lamb. And while you’re at it, ask the butcher to trim the fat off.
- Leg of lamb is already quite tender, there is no need to marinate it for a long period of time. In fact, in this recipe, I do not marinate the leg of lamb at all. But, I do coat the leg of lamb with a generous rub of garlic, Mediterranean spices, olive oil and lemon juice.
- Do everything you can to avoid over-cooking it. My family likes leg of lamb cooked to a perfect medium (internal temperature 140 degrees F); but in my opinion, it is even better medium rare (internal temperature 130 degrees F). Remember, because this is a big hunk of meat, there will be some variability– some parts will be more pink than others, for example.
How to serve it? True to the Mediterranean lifestyle, this leg of lamb recipe is meant to be shared with family and friends. It is traditionally served family-style on one large platter with the roasted potatoes and Lebanese rice. If you have some extra pan gravy, be sure to drizzle on top.
What goes well with this leg of lamb recipe? Try Roasted Red Pepper Hummus or Baba Ganoush for starters; and Tabouli, Fattoush; or this chickpea salad with eggplant for a side salad. And of course, some warm pita bread!
Here is the leg of lamb recipe, scroll down for the step-by-step tutorial with photos:
Take the leg of lamb out of the refrigerator and leave in room temperature for about 1 hour. In the meantime, prepare the remaining ingredients and make the lamb rub.
To make the rub, in a food processor combine the garlic cloves, oregano, mint, paprika, nutmeg, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Set aside (or in the fridge, if making ahead).
When ready, pat the lamb dry and make a few slits on both sides. Season with salt and pepper.
Turn the oven on broil. Place the leg of lamb on a wire rack; place the rack directly on the top oven rack so that it’s only a few inches away from the broiler element. Broil for 5-7 minutes on each side or until the leg of lamb is nicely seared. Remove from the oven, then adjust the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. When the lamb is cool enough to handle, insert the garlic slices in the slits you made earlier.
Now cover the leg of lamb on all sides with the wet rub you made earlier and place it in the middle of a roasting pan with an inside rack. Add two cups of water to the bottom of the roasting pan. Season the potato and onion wedges with the paprika, garlic powder and a little salt, then add them to the pan on either side of the lamb.
Now tent a large piece of foil over the roasting pan, then place the pan on the middle rack of the 375 degrees F heated-oven. Roast covered for 1 hour. Remove the foil and return the roasting pan to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the lamb temperature registers 140 degrees F for medium. Remove the pan from the oven and let the leg of lamb rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.
If you choose to, midway through roasting the lamb, you can make the Lebanese rice according to this recipe (optional). Place the lamb and potatoes in a large serving platter over the rice. Garnish with parsley. Or, you may carve the lamb first, then arrange the sliced lamb with the potatoes over the rice. Enjoy!
And here is another resource with tips on leg of lamb.
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