Leg of Lamb

Leg of LambFor many of us, the arrival of Spring and the celebrations of Passover and Easter mean one thing, lamb. Of course, lamb can also be seen as a symbol of the “re-birth” of the land as it passes out of the fallowness of winter and into more fertile times. However you look at it, lamb remains one of the most popular meats consumed during the spring.

Because lamb can be expensive, more often than not it is eaten as part of a celebratory meal rather than a mid-week dinner—though shoulder chops are a quick and tasty meal when done on the grill.

Lamb is fairly easy to prepare and does not require much more than time and a thermometer to make it turn out great. Rack of Lamb is probably the most elegant offering you could choose, but a gorgeous leg of lamb can be an impressive centerpiece.

Leg of Lamb is a versatile and tender cut of the lamb. It can weigh anywhere from 5 to 9 pounds and can be sold in many different forms. It can be boned and butterflied so that it can be cooked on a grill or it can be boned, rolled, tied and roasted.

You can also buy a half leg of lamb. This is sold in two parts: the shank end is less meaty and can be tougher or the sirloin end which has more meat and is considerably more tender. Either would make a great roast for a family since they usually only weigh 3 to 4 pounds each.

Price-wise, the most economical way to serve lamb to a crowd of 8 to 10 people would be to buy a full leg of lamb.

Preparation is easy. Coat the lamb with your favorite coating or marinade and roast it in the oven at 350º F, or until the internal temperature reaches 115-120º F for a rare lamb, 130-140º F for a medium roast. Before serving, allow it to stand for 20 minutes, loosely covered.

This chart is a great reference for times and temperatures for cooking lamb. You might want to bookmark this page for future reference.

Mustard-Rosemary Paste for Lamb
Adapted from The Complete Meat Cookbook: A Juicy and Authoritative Guide to Selecting, Seasoning, and Cooking Today’s Beef, Pork, Lamb, and Veal by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup Maille Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, and mix thoroughly. Set aside until the cut of lamb is prepared. Brush the lamb with the Mustard-Rosemary Paste. Allow to sit for up to 2 hours at room temperature before roasting the lamb.

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