A leg of lamb is a perfect for feasting; I especially love the ceremony of presenting and carving a roasted leg of lamb at the table. Many people find carving a leg of lamb a bit daunting, but it need not be. There are no hard and fast rules. To start, turn the meatiest side of the joint upwards (the bone will be on the underside). The first cut should be made across the leg at its thickest part, make a cut downwards to the bone. Remove two slices, about 5mm thick, from the centre of the leg, cutting to the bone. Continue slicing from both sides of the first cut, gradually angling the knife to obtain longer slices. Then carve the underside. To do this, turn the joint over, remove any unwanted fat and carve in long horizontal slices.
Pot roasted leg of lamb
About 1.75kg leg of lamb
6 sprigs rosemary
1 lemon, halved
1 whole head garlic, halved
roasted vegetables, to serve
Preheat oven to 170C. Score the lamb and rub with salt, pepper and olive oil. Place the rosemary, lemon halves and garlic in the base of a roasting tin or large lidded casserole. Add the lamb on top. Add enough beef stock (or water) to a depth of 1.5cm. Cover with foil or a lid and roast for about 11/2 hours (uncover for the last 20 minutes. Add more liquid if needed.
When cooked, remove from the oven, cover and let it rest in a warm place for about 10 minutes. While it is resting, strain the juices through a sieve, discarding the lemon and garlic. Using a spoon, remove any fat from the top of the liquid and reheat just before serving. Serve the lamb with the strained pan juices. Accompany with roast vegetables. Serves 6
‘French style’ Leg of lamb with potatoes
6-8 large Desiree potatoes, scrubbed
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 sprig rosemary, roughly chopped
1 leg of lamb 1.6-2kg
400ml beef or chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 200C. Slice the potatoes thinly (about 4mm). Layer the potatoes, onion and crushed garlic (seasoning as you go) to a depth of about 3-4cm in a lightly oiled roasting tin just large enough to hold the leg of lamb. Scatter with the rosemary and add a couple of knobs of butter.
Place the lamb on top of the potatoes and pour in enough stock to come about 3/4 of the way of the depth of the potatoes. Season with a little salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes then turn the heat down to 170C for a further 60 minutes (for medium).
Remove the lamb to a warm place to rest for about ten minutes. While the lamb is resting increase the oven to 200C, then brush the potatoes with a little olive oil and put them back in the oven to crisp up. Serve the lamb with the potatoes and green vegetables. Serves 6-8
Really useful stuff
How pink do you like your leg of lamb?
Everyone has his or her own preference on how well they like their lamb cooked. More and more of us are appreciating the flavour and texture of lamb that is cooked pink rather than grey looking overcooked meat. The timings above will give you lamb cooked to medium, but if you prefer your meat a little more well done, just put it in the oven for a further 20-30 minutes.
To calculate the cooking time, weigh your lamb. Roast in a 200C oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180C and allow 15 minutes for every 500g.
If you are unsure of how well the leg is cooked you can use a meat thermometer (inserted into the thickest part of the leg) to test how hot the meat is inside. As a guideline, temperature for a leg of lamb would be
Rare 45C – 50C
Medium Rare 55C – 60C
Medium 60C – 65C
Well Done 75C – 80C